What does optical quality mean?

Many ready-made reading glasses are described as optical quality. You may be wondering, what does optical quality mean and why is it important? 

Here are the facts:

Optical quality lenses are made from optical grade plastics, like those used in an optical store and meet specific government standards for lens quality, lens power and manufacturing measurements and tolerances. 

Ophthalmic/Optical quality plastic lenses, technically known as CR-39, are of the same lens material as used in prescription eyewear and they are ground individually for each frame. The range in quality of CR-39 ophthalmic plastic varies from low grade to premium grades and as you would expect visual clarity varies with quality levels. Optical lenses are also available in other variations of lens materials but CR-39 lenses has proven superior optics throughout the decades.

Acrylic and a variety of other plastics, commonly used in ready-made readers are made in large batches. You will not find acrylic lenses in an optical lab and they are not used for prescription lenses in any optical store. Read more about lens materials here.

So, why is it important that your reading glasses have optical quality lenses?

The short answer is with all the computer reading we are doing today, lens quality will affect the clarity and ease with which you read which in turn will affect how you feel. Clear reading is comfortable reading. Eyestrain can manifest itself in headaches, dry or teary eyes, not sleeping, body soreness often leaving you feeling exhausted at the end of the day.

Our Optical quality frames are made one by one and go through a long labor intensive manufacturing process that has many layers of quality control. Optical quality frames are made from qualified optical plastics, metals and other components that among many other features are also malleable.  This allows for a better fit with easy adjustments and it also makes the frames suitable for the insertion of prescription lenses. Our prescription quality plastic frames are made from cellulose acetate known to retain color, luster and they last longer. New plastics have emerged in eyewear manufacturing but none have proven the same lasting looks and durability as cellulose acetate.

Listening to my optical store customers dissatisfaction with the poor optics and craftsmanship of the present selection of ready-made readers, I knew that if I applied my fastidious 30 plus years of fashion and optical expertise, I could make reading glasses that are of comparable quality to high-end prescription eyewear- and I did.

Licensed Optician
New York