Buying Glasses Q&A

It is estimated that over 60 percent of the population wears eyeglasses. However, buying glasses can be a confusing, daunting process for many people. Our staff at Eye Essentials wants to make buying glasses as painless and as enjoyable as possible. More importantly, we want you to love your eyewear! With constantly changing technology and fashion, it can be hard to determine what would be best suited for your prescription, your lifestyle & your budget.

Eye Essentials is a full service optical. What does that mean?

Full service optical shops are becoming fewer and fewer. Optical shops are becoming more and more self-serve. In these self-serve-style optical stores, you pick out your frame and a person takes your order. No certified optician needed. In many corporate franchise optical stores, you’re on your own for selecting a frame. Spending time on the frame selection is considered to be inefficient time spent when looking at the company’s bottom line. Many times, the staff is allowed by their employee policy, to answer specific questions during the frame selection process, but is not supposed to engage in the selection process.

Why is Eye Essentials different? There are many factors that should go in to your frame selection. Factors such as the prescription, type of lenses being put in the frame and what you will be wearing them for (every day, sports, etc.). Some frames are not recommended for some prescriptions. There are also aspects of the fit that you may not see at first such as the bridge fit, temple length, and problems that we are trained to detect. We help you choose a frame that is suitable for you. Did you know that a frame with a narrow vertical depth is not ideal for someone who uses a computer for a good portion of their day? Did you know if you are very nearsighted and pick out a big square or rectangle shaped frame, your lenses will be thicker on the outer edge than if you picked a small round frame? These are things that the average consumer wouldn’t know without research or training. These are the trade secrets we are here to share with you to help you make choices that will result in you loving your glasses!

Why buy my glasses at Eye Essentials and not at the mall or at the places that advertise on T.V.?

Discount retailers, such as places in the mall, are able to sell glasses at low prices because the corporate company is able to purchase discontinued frames and lenses in enormous lots. Sometimes these box stores purchase frames and lenses for a few dollars so when they mark them up by 400%, it’s still very cheap.

Consumer reports studies have shown that very low cost retailers also are ranked the worst for service, speed and quality. Majority of the time, when these frames break, there are no parts or replacements available, because the frame has been discontinued for quite some time. Essentially, the frames are disposable. These box stores also often use old, leftover stock of lenses, discontinued decades ago that are purchased at a low price. Premium up-to-date lenses often cost a fortune at these stores, because they are not part of the normal inventory that they stock and must be special ordered.

In addition to the quality and service being inferior, these discounters typically do not provide a warranty on their products. Sometimes they will “sell” a warranty for an additional cost, where you are essentially paying up front for what it would cost them to make you a new pair of glasses. Most independent retailers will remake the lenses for free if the doctor has to refine the prescription within a few months. Many discount retailers do not provide this service at no cost. At Eye Essentials, we assume the liability of making corrections, as many times as necessary (within reason) to the doctor’s prescription at no charge, if needed within six months of the prescription date.

What about the 2 for 1 deals I see advertised?

Use caution! These deals are almost always a bait and switch marketing ploy. They use these phrases to get you in the door, only to find that what you want and what your prescription requires are not covered by the deal. Then the add-on charges begin and you’re no longer saving any money. Many times the 2 for 1 deal does truly exist, but only for a limited selection of frames, with single vision, uncoated, plastic lenses under certain prescription restrictions.

What type of frame would be best for me?

There are many different types of frames available. What works best for you may not be the best for your spouse, friend or family member. Here we will lay out the most common types of frames for you to know about and see what might be best for you.

Plastic Frame Materials

Cellulose Acetate

  • Light
  • Easy to work with
  • Available in many colors and styles


  • Light
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Delicate material


  • Very durable
  • Used for sports
  • Limited colors
Metal Frame Materials


  • Strong
  • Light
  • Hypoallergenic

Stainless Steel

  • Strong
  • Light
  • Thin profile

Nickel Monet

  • Easy to work with
  • Pliable
  • Won’t Facture
What lens material is best for me?

Our opticians can recommend a lens material for you based on your prescription and the importance of thickness and weight to you, the wearer. Most of the time there will be more than one option for you, your prescription and your budget.

Eyeglass Lens Materials

Here are popular eyeglass lens materials, arranged in order of refractive index and lens thickness (pretty good indicators of cost). Except for the crown glass, these are all plastic materials.

Lens Material Refractive Index Abbe Value Key Features and Benefits
High-index plastics 1.70 to 1.74 36 (1.70)
33 (1.74)
The thinnest lenses available.
Block 100 percent UV.
High-index plastics 1.60 to 1.67 36 (1.60)
32 (1.67)
Thin and lightweight.
Block 100 percent UV.
Less costly than 1.70-1.74 high-index lenses.
Polycarbonate 1.586 30 Superior impact resistance.
Blocks 100 percent UV.
Lighter than high-index plastic lenses.
Trivex 1.54 45 Superior impact resistance.
Blocks 100 percent UV.
Higher Abbe value than polycarbonate.
Lightest lens material available.
CR-39 plastic 1.498 58 Excellent optics.
Low cost.
Downside: thickness.
Crown glass 1.523 59 Excellent optics.
Low cost.
Downsides: heavy, breakable.

Comparison credit to

How do I interpret my glasses prescription?

What OD and OS Mean
The first step to understanding your eyeglass prescription is knowing what “OD” and OS” mean. They are abbreviations for oculus dexter and oculus sinister, which are Latin terms for right eye and left eye.

Your eyeglass prescription also may have a column labeled “OU.” This is the abbreviation for the Latin term oculus uterque, which means “both eyes.”

On your eyeglasses prescription, the information for your right eye (OD) comes before the information for your left eye (OS). Eye doctors write prescriptions this way because when they face you, they see your right eye on their left (first) and your left eye on their right (second).

Other Terms on Your Eyeglass Prescription
Your eyeglass prescription contains other terms and abbreviations as well. These include:
Sphere (SPH). This indicates the amount of lens power, measured in diopters (D), prescribed to correct nearsightedness or farsightedness. If the number appearing under this heading has a minus sign (–), you are nearsighted; if the number has a plus sign (+), you are farsighted.

The term “sphere” means that the correction for nearsightedness or farsightedness is “spherical,” or equal in all meridians of the eye.

Cylinder (CYL). This indicates the amount of lens power for astigmatism. If nothing appears in this column, either you have no astigmatism, or your astigmatism is so slight that it is not really necessary to correct it with glasses.


Meridians of the eye are determined by superimposing a protractor scale on the eye’s front surface. The 90-degree meridian is the vertical meridian of the eye, and the 180-degree meridian is the horizontal meridian.

The term “cylinder” means that this lens power added to correct astigmatism is not spherical, but instead is shaped so one meridian has no added curvature, and the meridian perpendicular to this “no added power” meridian contains the maximum power and lens curvature to correct astigmatism.

As a general rule, Optometrists often write their prescriptions in minus cylinder form while Ophthalmologists write their prescriptions in plus cylinder form.

Axis. This describes the lens meridian that contains no cylinder power to correct astigmatism. The axis is defined with a number from 1 to 180. The number 90 corresponds to the vertical meridian of the eye, and the number 180 corresponds to the horizontal meridian.

If an eyeglass prescription includes cylinder power, it also must include an axis value, which follows the cyl power and is preceded by an “x” when written freehand.

The axis is the lens meridian that is 90 degrees away from the meridian that contains the cylinder power.

Add. This is the added magnifying power applied to the bottom part of multifocal lenses to correct presbyopia. The number appearing in this section of the prescription is always a “plus” power, even if it is not preceded by a plus sign. Generally, it will range from +0.75 to +3.00 D and will be the same power for both eyes.

Prism. This is the amount of prismatic power, measured in prism diopters (“p.d.” or a superscript triangle when written freehand), prescribed to compensate for eye alignment problems. Only a small percentage of eyeglass prescriptions include prism.

The direction of the prism is indicated by noting the relative position of its “base” or thickest edge. Four abbreviations are used for prism direction: BU = base up; BD = base down; BI = base in (toward the wearer’s nose); BO = base out (toward the wearer’s ear).

I just hate picking out glasses; will someone help me select a frame?

Of course! We will assist you as little or as much as you would like. Our plan is to help each customer with the frame selection process, because it can be the most overwhelming part about picking out new glasses. Choosing the wrong frame can result in discomfort, dissatisfaction and can be easily avoided with just a little help from a certified optician. After some discussion with you about your lifestyle, how you plan to use them and what type of lenses you need, we will help you pull a variety of frames from our boards following any guidelines that you give us on color, price, material and shape. If you’d like, we will happily sit down with you one on one and go through each frame to determine what you like and don’t like. As the selection is narrowed down we will go into detail about any concerns, pros, cons of each of the frames as well as comment on the fit if we feel there are things to point out. Whether it takes 5 minutes, or 5 days, we will help you find a frame that perfectly suits you!

What options can I add to my lenses? & do I really need these things?

The optical industry has grown into an endless possibility industry. From colorful tints to lazer cut outs and colored edges, almost anything is possible. Ask us about your specific custom requests. We will do everything we can do accommodate them! The most common options to add are Anti-Reflective Coating, Transitions®, and/or Chemistrie Clips.

Anti-Reflective coatings are one thing that we almost always recommend. Anti-reflective coating (also called AR coating or anti-glare coating) improves both your vision through your lenses and the appearance of your eyeglasses. Both benefits are due to the ability of AR coating to eliminate reflections of light from the front and back surface of eyeglass lenses. With fewer reflections, more light passes through the lens to the eye for good vision and the lenses look more transparent and attractive.
Most premium anti-reflective coatings include a “hydrophobic” surface layer that prevents water spots from forming and makes the lenses easier to clean. Some AR coatings also include an “oleophobic” surface layer that repels skin oils and makes it easier to remove smudges from the lenses. This is where anti-reflective coatings have improved drastically. The newest anti-reflective coatings do not smear and smudge like they were known to do many years ago. Nearly all of today’s phones, tablets, cameras with high definition screens have anti-reflective coatings to make the screens sharp and clear. Your optician can discuss with you different Anti-Reflective coatings and which would be best for you.

Transitions® lenses are photochromic lenses that turn dark when exposed to UV light. Glass lenses that turn dark are called photo gray lenses. Availability of glass lenses has diminished drastically over the past several years. These lenses are great for people who might work outdoors or go in and out several times during the day. Contrary to popular belief, Transitions® do not fully eliminate the need for sunglasses. Transitions® signature lenses do not darken in the car because your car’s windows have UV filtering. With little or no UV light present, the lenses will not darken or will not darken very much. Transitions® makes several different types of photochromic lenses that may be suitable for you. Ask your optician to describe and/or recommend a Transitions® lens for you or visit for more detailed information.

Chemistrie Clip™

Chemistrie Clip


Chemistrie™ Sunlenses have gone above and beyond the everyday clip-on. Utilizing our patented Chemistrie™ Magnetic Lens Layering Technology, all of our sunlenses are custom made to fit virtually ANY frame.

For activities ranging from beach lounging to bocce ball to bike riding, there is a sunlens color perfect for every outdoor activity. All 24 of our sunlens colors are polarized to reduce unwanted glare and block 100% of the sun’s UV rays for maximum eye protection.

• custom made
• fits virtually any frame
• base curve matched
• extremely lightweight
• 24 polarized lens colors
• 5 titanium bridge colors
• 3 magnet colors
• 12 Swarovski crystal colors (permanent or magnetic)

Our solid sunlens colors are the perfect choice for seamlessly transitioning your Rx frame into your favorite pair of sunglasses. If you are looking to make a bold statement, our mirror colors will certainly draw attention from the crowd. Our gradient lenses are a combination of fashion and function, ideal for any occasion. Regardless of how active or relaxing your lifestyle may be, there is no situation unfit for Chemistrie™ Sunlenses.
(more Chemistrie™ information at

I wear progressive (‘no-line’) lenses, but they don’t work great in certain aspects of my life like golf, piano, or spending long periods of time on the computer.

Progressive lenses are intended to cover all day to day activities at every range. However, we cannot deny that for some tasks, a pair of supplemental, task-specific eyewear is needed to do certain tasks for long periods of time. For example, yes, Progressive lenses work on the computer-the intermediate portion of the progressive corridor allows you to use that portion for intermediate distances such your computer by tilting your head back slightly to achieve that intermediate power. With as much time that is spent on our computers, tablets and smartphones, it is not surprising that having a small portion of you lens devoted to the intermediate distance is not ideal for hours at a time. There are many ways to make task-specific eyewear to accommodate any task.

While “one size fits all” might be true in some situations, it’s rare that one pair of eyeglasses is suitable in all circumstances. Examples of specialty eyewear include computer glasses, driving glasses and protective eyewear.

Computer Glasses
The more time you spend at a computer, the more you risk developing eye strain and other symptoms of computer vision syndrome. That’s because during computer use, your eyes must remain focused at a very specific range for long periods of time, and viewing a computer screen tires the eyes more quickly than reading a book or newspaper.

Computer glasses are designed specifically for intermediate and close-up distances, the zones most associated with computer use. Computer-specific eyewear gives you the best correction for these distances and helps you avoid eye strain.
You can avoid neck discomfort by purchasing special work glasses that have the reading segment placed higher up in the lenses. Special-design bifocals and trifocals for work-related tasks often are called occupational lenses. We also often use the Shamir Workspace, Office & Computer lenses for patients who want to achieve good vision at the computer as well as on the desk in front of them.

Specialty Eyewear for Work and Hobbies
Some people discover that their regular glasses are suitable for everything they do except for certain tasks associated with their job or hobbies.

For example, if you wear bifocals, you may find that — unless what you’re reading is in your lap — you must tip your head back all day long to use the reading zone in the bottom of the lenses.

If your hobbies include close-up work such as beading, needlepoint, crafting or anything requiring intense focusing at very close distances, a separate pair of reading glasses may be helpful.

Sports Eyewear
By changing the lens tint of sunglasses, you can improve your visual acuity on the tennis court, golf course or the slopes. Sport-specific eyewear can enhance performance by improving visual clarity while protecting your eyes from injury. Within this category, you’ll find both eyeglasses and sunglasses with impact-resistant polycarbonate or Trivex lenses. Sport eyeglasses, and protective sports eyewear all are great options for athletes.

Driving Glasses
Driving glasses come in two categories: sunglasses designed specifically for driving and prescription eyeglasses. Sunglasses for driving feature polarized lenses that reduce glare and make it easier to see in bright sunlight.

Drivers who have been in accidents often claim that they couldn’t see the other car or a pedestrian because of glare reflecting off the road or the sun shining in their eyes. Studies have shown that glare can be a causative factor in automobile accidents.

Polarized sunglass lenses reduce glare and make it easier to see in bright conditions, and polarized lenses tinted specifically for driving increase contrast for sharper vision.

Prescription eyewear for driving includes an appropriate distance prescription and lenses with an anti-reflective coating. This special coating reduces glare from light reflecting off the front and back surfaces of your lenses and allows more light to enter your eyes for better vision when driving at night.

Safety Eyewear
Many people buy specialty eyewear for increased eye safety. This eyewear can be in the form of safety glasses, sports goggles or shooting glasses.

Safety eyewear is made of ultra-durable materials and provides more coverage than regular glasses, especially when the frame has a wraparound design or includes top and side shields. Many safety frames also include spring hinges for added durability.

All safety eyewear should include lightweight, impact-resistant polycarbonate or Trivex lenses for comfort and superior eye protection.

The last pair of glasses that I purchased elsewhere never really worked for me. How can I avoid that this time?

When you come to Eye Essentials, tell us about your previous experience and what you didn’t like. We will inspect the glasses that you don’t like, if you have them, and make notes of what those things are. We will ultimately do everything we can to find out what it was that you did not like and have a solid reason to do things different. Our goal is for you to love your glasses!

I lost my prescription and cannot remember where I put it. Can I still buy glasses?

Yes! If you got your prescription from First Eye Associates in the past year, we can very quickly access it. If you got your prescription longer ago, or somewhere else, we can make phone calls to track it down for you. Most doctors write a one or two year expiration date on the prescription and we can fill any doctor’s prescription it up to its expiration date.

I did not go to First Eye Associates for my eye exam; can I still come to you to buy my glasses?

Yes! We can accept any current prescription from any optometrist or ophthalmologist for glasses.

I did not go to First Eye Associates for my eye exam; can I still come to you to buy my contacts?

Yes, as long as you have a valid, contact lens Rx, we can sell you any of the lenses that we carry. Contact Lens Rxs consist of the Brand/Style, Base Curve, Lens Power & Diameter.

We cannot however accept eyeglass prescriptions from most doctors outside of the First Eye group for contact lens fittings. There are a few doctors in the metropolitan area, outside of First Eye that we can accept prescriptions from. As a general rule, per Nebraska State Law, we cannot perform your contact lens fitting for you unless you have had your eye exam done by one of the pre-approved doctors.

Do I need an appointment for picking out glasses?

Nope! No appointment necessary. If you are requesting a particular optician to help you, or you know that you need more specialized attention on a particular issue, we recommend that you call ahead to let us know you’re coming or to check to be sure that particular optician will be available. We also recommend that you allow about an hour when including the frame selection process. (Unless you’re one of the few that can select a frame in a few minutes!) Taking measurements and writing up the order takes about 20-30 minutes or so from beginning to end.

Can I come and look to see what you have and find out what it would cost without being pressured to buy? What if I want to compare prices?

Yes! Please do! We know that buying glasses can be an investment! We want you to make a solid, informed decision without having buyer’s remorse. We want to explain to you what you are getting for your money and we can work with just about any budget. We will give you a price quote at no-cost & with no pressure. Our opticians do not work on commission, so whether you buy 92 pairs of glasses or no glasses at all, your optician gets paid the same. We have compared our prices ‘apples to apples’ with our competitors. We find that our prices are the same, or lower than other optical retailers out there. In the optical industry it’s tough to compare apples to apples because many retailers recommend their own preferred brands, lenses & options. It’s nearly impossible to compare prices from a box store to prices in a privately owned operation simply because they do not use the same products.

Do you file a claim to my vision insurance plan?

We don’t. Eye Essentials is not an in-network provider for vision insurance plans. However, we do offer generous discounts for choosing us to provide your eyewear and we will always, upon request, send you or email you an itemized receipt in case you were to file the claim on your own. Your insurance company can provide you with a claim form to fill out for out-of-network reimbursement.

Do you offer any discounts?

We do! Here is a list of the discounts we offer:

Please note: discounts are ONLY given on complete pairs of glasses. No discounts given on lenses only.

  • Vision Plan Insurance Discount: (VSP, EYEMED, SPECTERA, AVESIS, AETNA) 20%
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield 17.5%
  • Senior Citizen (over 65) 10%
  • $75.00 coupons available at First Eye Associates
  • 15% off non-Rx Sunwear for contact lens customers

More questions can be answered by a member of our staff in the office, by phone or by email


Contact us today to find a time that is convenient for you to see us.
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Eye Essentials

  • 8111 Dodge Street Suite 140
  • Omaha, NE 68114
  • (Adjacent to First Eye Associates' Office)
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Office Hours

  • Monday
  • 8:30am - 5:00pm
  • Tuesday
  • 8:30am - 5:00pm
  • Wednesday
  • 8:30am - 5:00pm
  • Thursday
  • 8:30am - 5:00pm
  • Friday
  • 8:30am - 5:00pm
  • Saturday
  • Closed
  • Sunday
  • Closed
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