How to find the perfect fit when buying glasses online

Alright, hotshot. You’re fresh from the eye doctor, you’ve successfully made it through the dreaded puff of air, and you’ve got a shiny new glasses prescription burning a hole in your pocket. And whether you’re feeling a little wild or just realized they discontinued your tried-and-true style, you’re ready to buy some new frames.

Because you’ve done your research, you know that the eye doctor isn’t the only place you can buy glasses – despite the pressure you may feel from the receptionist asking which of their frames you like best – so you’ve taken your search online. But without an optometrist telling you whether or not your frames fit and making adjustments as needed, how do you find glasses that actually fit your face?

Well, dear reader, you’re in luck. This guide will show you exactly how to find frames that fit, so you can worry less and just focus on looking great.

How to tell if your glasses fit

When you’re trying on clothes, it’s easy to tell whether or not a pair of jeans fits your body. There’s a reason you don’t have doctors at every Old Navy helping you pick out the perfect pair! But glasses are a different story. There’s much more to determining fit than just putting on glasses – eye doctors check a few specific places on your face to see how they’re fitting.

Let’s do a little test, shall we? Grab your closest pair of glasses and put ‘em on. How do those glasses fit your…

  • Eyes – Your eyes should be directly in the center of your lenses, both horizontally and vertically
  • Cheeks – Your glasses should not be resting on your cheeks; instead, they should be just above your cheekbones
  • Eyebrows – Your glasses should sit low enough as to not cover your eyebrows
  • Nose – Your glasses should stay put on the bridge of your nose without feeling too tight or squeezing
  • Ears – Your glasses should rest comfortably on your ears but be firm enough so they don’t slip off of your face
  • Head – Your glasses should fit easily around your head without squeezing, but they also shouldn’t be so loose that they move out of place as you move

How did you do? Did your current glasses pass? If so, you can skip this next section and go straight to finding the measurements of your current glasses. But if anything was off even slightly – after all, glasses are something you’ll likely wear every day – you should get accurate measurements right from the source before buying your new frames.

Getting your face measurements

Believe it or not, there’s a science behind finding glasses that fit your face. So before you hit “add to cart” on those daring-yet-stylish frames, grab a ruler and make sure you won’t find yourself searching for our return policy later (30 days, by the way).

Measuring the bridge of your nose

How wide the bridge of your nose is will determine how far apart your lenses should be from one another. Accurate measurements will also ensure that your glasses will stay put on your face without squeezing your nose.

An easy way to determine the width of your bridge is by looking in a mirror or taking a selfie (for research purposes, of course). If the bridge of your nose sits at or below the height of your pupils, aim for a bridge size of 16 – 18mm. If your bridge sits higher, 19 – 21mm will likely be a more comfortable fit.

On your glasses, this can be measured by placing your ruler horizontally on the top of the bridge and determining the distance from the edge of one lens to the edge of the other. If you’re looking for a style with thicker frames, be aware that you may need an extra millimeter or two for a comfortable fit.

Measuring your temple width

For your glasses to fit, they can’t be too small or too large for your head. Otherwise, they’ll either squeeze your face to no end or be so loose that they won’t stay on. To avoid either of those conundrums, you should know your exact measurement.

The width of your head is determined by measuring the distance between your temples. Using a mirror, hold the ruler up horizontally right against your face to figure out how many millimeters are between the two.

On your glasses, you’ll want to look for a frame width that correlates with your own temple width. You usually have 2 – 3mm or so of leeway when choosing your frames, but don’t go any wider or narrower than that to avoid the aforementioned conundrums.

Measuring your pupillary distance (PD)

Your pupillary distance, or PD, is the distance between your pupils. This measurement helps ensure that your pupils are directly centered in your lenses. If you find your pupils are off-center in your current pair, you may be experiencing blurriness or difficulty transitioning between near and far vision. And then what was the point of spending all of that money on your frames?

Sometimes your eye doctor will provide you with this information, but don’t stress if they didn’t. Your PD can be measured by standing in front of a mirror with a ruler against your eyebrows. Close your right eye and line up the 0mm mark at your left pupil’s center. Then, close your left eye, open your left one, and the measurement directly at the center of your right pupil is your PD.

Or you could take the easier route and use our online PD measurement tool. Your call.

Checking your current glasses measurements

This may blow your mind a little, but did you know that most glasses measurements are printed directly on the glasses? Nope, we’re not kidding – it’s usually printed on the inside of the arms. Check yours now. Go ahead, we’ll wait.

Find it? Awesome. So if you’re one of the lucky ones who already has frames that fit your face, those numbers (along with your prescription and pupillary distance) are all you’ll need to get some new ones. Just make sure you’re taking into consideration any major differences between your current pair and the new one you’ve been eyeing online (pun intended).

For example, if your glasses fit but you want them a little bigger from a style perspective, you’ll want to look for a slightly larger lens width without the other measurements being too large for a comfortable fit. Like our Emory versus Emory Wide glasses – the look and other measurements are the same, but the lenses are just a smidge wider.

How to read glasses dimensions

So you’ve found the numbers, but what do they mean?

Standard glasses dimensions are formatted as three numbers, each separated by a hyphen. This can be read as lens width, bridge width, and temple length (AKA the length of each arm of your glasses), all in millimeters. If you’re starting from scratch (or just want a fresh start for your fresh frames), you can determine what these numbers should be based on your face measurements and overall style preference.

Finding the right glasses style

So your glasses fit. But do they ~fit~? Because even if all of your measurements are right, it’s still important to choose a style of frame that will compliment your face shape.

Read our full guide on choosing the right glasses for your face shape, or check out the SparkNotes here:

  • Round face – Typically narrow, square, or rectangle frames tend to balance out the look of a round face.
  • Oval face – Wide frames are often the way to go, specifically in the square or rectangle category.
  • Square or rectangle face – To compliment your face’s sharp edges, go for oval or round frames.
  • Heart-shaped face – Bold and wide frames tend to work best for this face shape, particularly rimless, round, square, or rounded square frames.

But more than anything, you want to find glasses that look good to you! That can be tricky to figure out when shopping online, but the power of technology means that many online glasses retailers offer virtual try-on options. Using a 3D photo of your face, your favorite frames will magically appear, giving you an idea of what you could look like in just a few business days.

Getting your glasses adjusted

Even once you’ve found the fit and style right for you, your new frames may still need some minor adjustments. You may be able to DIY these adjustments using tools or at-home remedies, but there are also many professional places that will adjust your glasses for you – even if you did purchase them online!

Call your eye doctor to schedule an eyeglasses adjustment. Oftentimes, these offices will adjust your glasses even if you didn’t purchase them there. Other local glasses retailers could adjust your frames for free as well if you just ask. After all, good customer service isn’t always limited to just customers.

Ready to get some new frames?

Now that we’ve passed along everything you need to know about finding glasses that fit your face, it’s time to start the fun part – glasses shopping. LensDirect offers the best selection of frame options and more than 4,000 happy customers to back us up. Browse from the comfort of your home, easily view measurements and color options, try your frames on virtually, and then – the most difficult part – wait anxiously by your door until they show up in the mail. Start shopping now.

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