If you consider non prescription glasses to be eyeglasses that correct impaired vision (as opposed to simple fashion specs), but are obtained without a prescription, then you’ll be happy to know that these are available. However, it’s important to consider why these items are normally sold under prescription, and therefore require you to see an optician or optometrist.
Eyes and General Health
When you go to an optician to have your eyes tested, the optician will do more than just check whether you can read letters on a poster. These days they examine your eyes and retinas for potential problems. Optometrists are trained in medicine as part of their studies before qualifying, and there have been numerous occasions not only where the they have spotted an underlying health problem (totally unrelated to vision), but have actually been instrumental in saving the lives of people who were blissfully unaware of their grave conditions.
Some life-saving examples include people diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, a symptom of which is iritis (inflammation around the iris); brain tumors, which show up as a shadow or abnormality at the back of the eye; myasthenia gravis, an autoimmune disease which can cause double vision; diabetes, where the eyes can swell distorting vision rapidly because of the varying blood sugar levels; and extreme (but otherwise undiagnosed) hypertension, which can lead to heart attacks and stroke, but can be diagnosed by an optometrist as it can cause swelling of the optic disc.
So it is always worth going to the optician’s office to get your eyes tested – do this every two years.
What About the Non Prescription Glasses?
So am I saying that you shouldn’t go and buy non prescription glasses then? No, I’m not. What I’m encouraging you to do is get your eyes tested every two years. This is for your health and well-being. Assuming everything else is fine, they produce a prescription detailing what lenses you’ll need for each eye. At this point, you are pretty much coerced into taking a look at their range of glasses frames etc. You can feign interest for a while to be polite, and then say there aren’t any that are right for you, and ask for your prescription.
Some opticians will charge a nominal fee for the prescription, but a lot of them will give you the details for free – of course, they are hoping you’ll go on to buy your glasses from their range. You don’t have to though.
Non Prescription Glasses Online
Using the phrase non prescription glasses is a bit of a misnomer, as you have gone to get a prescription from a high street optician. The point is though, that you can get a wider selection of glasses online than in any optician store, and the ones online will be a lot cheaper. Many these days do cover themselves by insisting you provide a recent prescription – one obtained in the last two years – and this, again, is in the interests of your overall health.
But for the purposes of this article, prescription glasses are the ones offered to you by the optician who carried out the eye test (the expensive ones); as opposed to non prescription glasses which you can obtain from anywhere else once you know what lens strengths you’ll need. The exception is reading glasses for older people whose eyesight has deteriorated due to age, and I’ll cover this in the next article.