by Roberto Olivarez, University of the Incarnate Word Rosenberg School of Optometry Trustee-elect

by Roberto Olivarez, University of the Incarnate Word Rosenberg School of Optometry Trustee-elect

This summer I had the opportunity to do work-study at my school’s optical and often had patients ask for help selecting a frame. I struggled for a while but then sought out help and became a little better at it. I’ve come up with a mnemonic, PERFECT, which has helped me remember things to consider when helping patients find their perfect frame. Hopefully, the next time you are helping patients select a frame you can remember these pointers.

For patients whose prescription is high and more complicated, it is important to remember the final product and how the lenses will ultimately look in the frame. Taking a look at the patient’s prescription could eliminate certain frames that would have resulted in unsightly lens and frame combinations. For instance, rimless frames may not be the best choice for any scripts surpassing plus or minus 3 diopters of spherical power.

Asking the patient in what role the glasses are to be used can give clues as to which styles of frames are better suited. An electrician may require a lightweight durable frame or even safety glasses for the job. Presbyopic pilots may also require unique lens options to see overhead gauges and panels. Thinking about the intended use and conditions of the lens wearer can shed light on what frames would benefit patients.

A patient’s glasses should not fit too large or too small on the face. Glasses should not be sliding down or leaving marks on the side the head. Also, don’t forget to look at how the bridge of the frame rests on the patient’s nose. It is important to make sure much of the frame is making contact with the patient’s nose and there are no gaps between the bridge and nose.

By the time a patient enters the optical, they have most likely been in the office for a while. It’s best to make the patient’s experience as enjoyable as possible. Ask the patient to try on multiple pairs of frames. Be engaging and compliment the patient often. This will definitely end the patient’s visit to the optometrist on a good note.

When choosing a frame, one should consider eye, hair, and skin color. For instance, lighter-colored eyes go well with shades of blue or green. Such frames will enhance the person’s eye color. Try to avoid frames that wash out patient’s features. For instance a frame that is similar in color to the patient’s hair or skin may just blend and not bring contrast to the patient’s face.

This category can be an article on its own, so I will try to simplify it the best I can. The rounder your patient’s features are, the more angular the frame shape should be. Inversely, the sharper and more angular a patient’s features are, the softer and rounder a frame should be. So don’t suggest circular frames for a circular face. Instead oppose the shape of the face by going with rectangular frames that will make a round face appear thinner and longer.

Tags refers to the part of shopping that everyone dreads, the price. Its important to have an idea of what your patient may be willing to spend before you walk them over to the Prada frames. In most cases, patients want to stick as close as they can to what their insurance covers.

Finally, it is important to remember to always respect the patient’s suggestions and input. Patients may want to stray from normal fitting guidelines and that is completely fine. The patient is ultimately the end user and should select what pleases them. I hope that the next time you’re fitting a patient you are able to remember some of these pointers. I am sure there are many other things to consider while choosing frames, but remembering this mnemonic may help your patients find their perfect frame.