You’d think that going through an entire eye exam would be enough to get the proper pair of glasses, so why does the eye doctor require you to come back to their office to pick up your eyeglasses? Even though your glasses have been crafted specifically for you, there is still one important step to take before you can wear them. That step is the fitting process.

There’s a reason your eye doctor asks that patients come back to the office to personally pick up their new glasses. It’s so the optician can adjust the glasses to properly fit your face and also to make sure that the center of the lenses align correctly with your eyes. If you decide to have a friend or family member pick up your glasses for you, the optician doesn’t have a chance to adjust the new glasses and make sure that you can see out of the new glasses correctly.

So how does the optician make sure eyeglasses fit properly? Whenever you come in to the office, you will hand your prescription to the optician who then analyzes which frame selection would be best to accommodate your prescription. Certain prescriptions have an influence on frame selection, due to their thickness, weight, or other characteristics. And since all frames sit differently on a person’s nose, the optician needs to make sure that the frames sit correctly on your face. If the bridge (nose piece) is too loose, the glasses will slide down your face. This not only affects the way the glasses look, but also how you see through the lens.

Just like the frames must fit properly, the optician will also check to see if the lenses line up with your eyes correctly. When the eye doctor writes down the prescription, they may record the patient’s pupillary distance, or PD, which is the distance between the centers of each pupil(black hole). The measurement of the PD enables the center of the lens to align with the center of the pupil. Therefore, the optician needs to make sure that the center of the patient’s lens aligns with the center of the pupil. (This is not part of the prescription; it is a technical measurement by an Optician).

Progressive lenses can cause additional challenges if the glasses are not fitted before being given to the wearer. If the prescription is not centered, it can keep the patient from being able to see clearly through certain portions of the lens (e.g., when viewing reading material or a computer screen). If a patient wears lenses that aren’t properly aligned, their eyes will adjust to the lenses incorrectly. Once their lenses are properly aligned, their eyes will then have to readjust to the right spot.

Check out this video about getting used to Progressive Lenses by our colleague, Dr. Allen

Ordering glasses online can be especially dangerous, because an eye care professional cannot check to see if the glasses fit you properly. The PD number and other factors cannot be measured when glasses are ordered online, leading to several complications for whoever will be wearing the glasses. For example, glasses that haven’t been adjusted can cause the wearer to need to turn their head to the side in order to properly see out of their glasses.

Even though it may seem like a pain to trek all the way back to the eye doctor to pick up your new glasses, your eyes will ultimately thank you because they’ll be able to see their best!