Problems with your eyeglasses sliding down your nose?
Are your eyeglasses causing soreness on your nose, and/or heind your ears?
How many of you eyeglass wearers have traveled to your local optical establishment to pick up your new prescription glasses, sat down at the optician’s fitting table, had a super quick visit with the professional to receive your new specs, and then was taken to the receptionist to pay the balance, only to discover that on your way home your eyeglasses are slipping down your nose, hurting your nose/ears, or all three?
When it comes to sculpting eyewear for a proper fit, both the optician and customer need to understand that this step that shouldn’t be rushed. Adjustments are just as important as choosing the proper frame to satisfy fashion and optical specs, deciding on a lens style and treatments, and taking pupillary measurements and bifocal heights.
How many of you have sat at the optician’s fitting table, had the optician position the frame onto your face, run their fingers behind your ears (without looking), step away for a quick adjustment, return, and you’re on your way? Or, better yet, you tell the optician you are there to pick up your glasses, the optician hands you the new glasses, along with a smile, and you are told to have a great day? It happens every day.
As an optician, I’ve always strived to achieve the best fitting eyewear. To me, it’s equally as important as fabricating the entire set of eyeglasses. People really do appreciate that.
Frame sculpting begins right after the customer and optician have had a discussion about the prescription in question, and when the customer and optician have decided on a final frame. Shouldn’t the customer be the only person who decides on the final frame? No. The optician and the customer need to work together, as a team, to decide. The patient is usually looking for fashion or style, the optician is thinking in the terms of fashion, style and optics. How will the eyeglasses turn out with the prescription? How thick or thin will the lenses be? Will I need a specialty lens substrate for the chosen mount or high prescription? Will the chosen frame support the new lenses? There are a lot of questions an optician should be asking himself or herself. Also, the optician needs to be able to tell a customer “no” to certain frame styles that may not be the best choice, due to the questions mentioned above, and explain why.
When a frame has been chosen between the team, important measurements need to be taken in order for prescription lenses to be fabricated. Unless the lenses are very basic, single vision lenses, the new frame should be properly sculpted to fit the customer’s nose, made level, and adjusted on the sides of the face. At this time it is not necessary to sculpt the temple around the crotch of the ear, but the optician should take a look, taking note of a proper temple length.
Nose Pad Adjustments
Adjusting nose pads is more than looking straight on, face to face with the customer, and looking at the nose pads. Nose pad adjustments are definitely done by looking, but not just from straight on. No nose pads can be properly adjusted from this single, visual inspection. To properly sculpt nose pads, three angles need to be looked at for each nose pad. First, look straight, face to face with the customer, visualizing the nose pads. Second, instruct the patient to turn left, view the nose pads from the angle behind the lenses (between the lens and eyelid). Follow up with the patient turning their head right, to site the other nose pad. Sometimes, during this second step, I raise the frame from the nose, then lower it back, taking note of how the nose pads contact the nose. Finally, take the “bird’s eye viewpoint”. Instruct the customer to point their chin downward. Take a look from the browe to cheek angle, looking at the nose pads from above. Once the optician has gone through these steps, a confident adjustment of the nose pads can be made. But wait, that’s not the end. This step needs to be repeated until the pads sit at the proper angles, and the pads have the frame’s bridge centered on the nose.
Now that the nose pads are properly sculpted, the next area of concern is how the temple runs along the customer’s temple area (the sides of the face). A proper fitting frame will not squeeze, or make impressions on the sides of the face. I like to imagine the thickness of a strip of copy paper being able to fit between the temple of the frame and the customer’s skin. This fitting accomplishes a few things. First, if the frame is fitting snug, it will actually cause the frame front to push away from the customer’s face – sliding downward. Secondly, properly fitting on the sides will allow certain frame materials hold up better over time. An example would be a metal frame made from Monel, a metal containing nickel. This frame material has a tendency to pit and corrode over time. If this material is fit tight against skin, the material breaks down faster, causing a shorter life to the frame.
By this time, the frame should be level, the nose pads should be proper, and, with exception to fitting behind the ears, the frame should be fitting as if the customer was going to leave wearing the frame. Now, proper measurements and be taken, the lenses can be fabricated to the correct prescription, and properly glazed into the frame.
Once the eyeglasses have been fabricated, and all inspections have been done, the patient can now be contacted.
Picking up your new eyeglasses
Now that you have the patient back in the office, sitting at your fitting table, and eager to try out their new eyeglasses, it’s time to go back through the entire fitting process. That’s right, start from the beginning because the frame may have been manipulated in the lens fabricating process.
Once the mounting is back to how you originally sculpted it, the temples should be sculpted behind the customer’s ears. This is done by physically looking behind the ears as the frame sits into place. At this time, the temple length on metal frames (and some plastic frames) can be shortened to the right length, and then contoured to match the crotch of the ear. And yes, repeat, repeat, repeat, until it fit’s properly and evenly in tension, when compared to the other ear. One thought, some people will not want their eyeglasses fitting this securely. I always ask for the patient’s thoughts and opinions during this fitting, ultimately working to meet the patient’s decision on what feels best to them.
Other angles an optician need to keep in mind, and take into consideration is pantoscopic angles and frame face form. These two adjustments play a large role in optics and in cosmetics of the mounting as it rests on the customer’s face.
The above information and technique is how I personally take care of patients. But, an open mind still needs to be kept. As an eyecare professional, communication is key. Some customers don’t like their frames fitting the crotch of the ears, and some do like the temples clamped down on the sides of their head. In conversation, an optician should ask about these things if noticed. I’ve personally inquire about certain fittings, sometimes finding that customers are having problems in these critical areas and didn’t realize it could be resolved. Yet, others liked how the old glasses fit and requested the new mounting to fit the same way.
Whatever the case is, proper frame sculpting is equally important to all other processes, when fabricating a set of prescription eyeglasses. It doesn’t matter if the frame costs $55.00 or a $1000.00, it still needs to be properly fit. A comfortable and proper fitting frame will create customers for life. If you don’t believe me, concentrate on every fitting. Over time, you will be surprised on how many customers will come to you, just because of the time and professionalism you gave, and because of the comfortable eyeglasses you provided.