The first time most of us come into contact with eyeglasses is either because we started getting headaches at college and went to see an optician; or simply because we wanted to look cool on vacation, and bought our first pair of decent sunglasses. If you have great eyesight and do not need corrective lenses, then you may already be aware that your sunglasses fit into the category called non prescription glasses.
However, when searching online or in the stores for non prescription glasses, you need to realize that there are two, almost opposing, definitions. They are explained in the remainder of this article.
Non Prescription Fashion Glasses
These glasses – and sunglasses are an example – are worn purely for fashion, or have a purpose other than to correct vision defects. For example, to protect our eyes from bright sunlight and ultraviolet rays. Sunglasses have always had a part to play in fashion, and been worn by people who want to look cool. However, a new trend has emerged over the last few years, started by “ordinary folk” and rapidly embraced by celebrities including Cate Blanchett and Helena Christensen – the style of geek chic.
The new geek chic style has seen the re-emergence of big chunky glasses rather than discreet thin-framed or rimless ones – think Buddy Holly and you’ll be in the right ballpark. The lenses themselves are completely fake, just plastic with no corrective properties.
Despite the misgivings of “real” eyeglasses wearers, who years ago were probably teased mercilessly because of their specs, the fashion for non prescription, non correcting glasses has grown quickly. Some stores have even reported teenagers spending a lot of cash on glasses, only to pop out the lenses as they leave the store!
The reasons for wearing such fake glasses include, of course, people wanting to follow the latest trend; but there are also people wearing them because they look more intelligent, or because they allow the individual to project an alternative persona.
Cheap Non Prescription Glasses
There is a second meaning of the phrase “non prescription glasses” however. In this alternative case, they do have to correct lenses just like a standard prescription pair you might buy from your optician. These glasses are available from all sorts of outlets such as pharmacists and are sometimes called over-the-counter (or OTC) glasses. They are usually for people over the age of forty, who suffer from presbyopia – the normal deterioration in eyesight due to aging.
Instead of having a series of eye tests, conducted by an optician or optometrist, the customer simply tries on glasses and reads a section of text to see if there is any improvement. When they find the correct strength glasses, they can then select from a range of different frame styles in-store.
This method is not used for myopia – or short-sightedness – in younger people, where an appointment with a specialist is always advised. Trained optometrists can spot problems with general eye health, and it is common for them to spot underlying serious health problems unrelated to the eyes, such as diabetes, and in extreme cases brain tumors and other potentially fatal conditions. So for anything other than age-related poor eyesight, it is usually best to go and see your local optician. If you already wear prescription glasses, you should be getting your eyes re-tested every two years.
Finally, if you are searching for non prescription glasses, either to make a fashion statement or to correct your poor vision in old age, make certain that you have used the correct definition of the phrase or you might end up sorely disappointed.
Len Grinder writes about all subjects related to eyes and vision, including non prescription glasses for correcting vision in the elderly, as well as modern trends in fashion glasses.