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Health Team

Despite technology advances, glasses remain most popular vision-correction option

Posted September 5

There are a number of options for better eyesight or vision correction, like laser surgery or contact lenses, but since they were invented back in the 1300s, glasses still remain the most popular option.

Today's eyewear choices range from safe to extraordinary. That's what Linda Sholar considered after her last eye exam.

"Maybe I want to venture out a little bit from what I've had in the past," Linda Sholar said.

Her husband, Hunter Sholar, tends to go for flare.

"I like current styles in clothing, in glasses, in cars," Hunter Sholar said.

Their optician, Christian Dial, with Specs in Durham, recommends venturing beyond your comfort zone.

"If it's something you're going to put on your face every day, you want to wake up and be excited about it," Dial said.

An eye exam is where everyone learns the type of correction they may need.

"Someone who is (far) sighted needs magnifying lenses," Dial said. "Someone who is nearsighted needs minimizing lenses."

Other patients with astigmatism need fine tuning of their vision correction.

Dial uses a lensometer to assure patients' glasses match their prescriptions.

In Specs' store lab, optician Joe McCauley cuts from a factory blank lens to fit the frame customers choose. There are many lens types.

Most all are scratch resistant.

"Nothing is scratch proof, so it really is about how you take care of your glasses," Dial said.

Patients can also choose separate prescription sunglasses. Dial said clear, polarized lenses can eliminate glare, too.

"Whether you're in the water, driving, even driving in the rain, people find high-contrast polarized lenses are very helpful for helping eliminate glare on the road," Dial said.

Many people still bypass frames for contacts or vision correction surgery, but the Sholars prefer frames.

"Glasses kind of add a little bit of, again, a flare, or a different look to a person, whereas contacts do not," Hunter Sholar said.

Eye doctors are required by law to give patients a copy of their eyeglasses prescriptions, so they have the ability to shop around. Many people choose to go online where they might find a less expensive frame.

Others prefer places where they can try on the frames and see what looks best on them and have a professional help adjust the glasses to their needs.

Nearly two-thirds of American adults report eye or vision problems, but only one in eight have been examined by a medical doctor.

September is Healthy Aging month, when the North Carolina Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons and the American Academy of Ophthalmology emphasize regular eye exams.

Some people may need more than vision correction, though, as many people have common age-related eye diseases, like macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma or diabetic retinopathy. Early detection of those problems can save a person's sight.

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