Back To Basics Glossary II

For Eye Care Professionals and Consumers


AVIATOR-STYLE: Eyewear similar to those that military pilots wear; they usually have a metal frame and large, tinted lenses. Variations of the traditional aviator-style frame are very popular.

CAT-EYE FRAME: A retro style frame with upswept almond shape and high temple placement that are sometimes accented with jewels or crystals.

DROP TEMPLE: The temples are attached at the bottom of the lens area rather then at the top and can have a slight upsweep or curve.

FLASH-MIRROR LENSES: Highly reflective cosmetic coating to a lens. The frame has a hint of mirror, adds style, shimmer and color to the lens.

FLOATING LENSES: The lens is mounted in a way that creates the illusion that the lens is floating in the frame.

GRADIENTS: When a lens has a gradual fade from a dark to light color, usually fading from the top down.

LAMINATES: A plastic frame treatment that layers two or more colors on top of one another.

PILLOWED RECTANGLE: A rectangular frame shape that is slightly puffed or curved on the top and bottom.

READERS: Glasses which are mainly used for help with close work. Entire lens area magnifies for ease in seeing at near point. Since readers can be purchased in a variety of professional and retail settings, some consumers use this as a “band-aid” for regular eye exams. Don’t forget to see your Eyecare Professional for a true assessment of your visual health and sight needs!

RIMLESS: Frames in which the lens appears to not have a frame, held together by invisible nylon cord, notches or mounting screws.

SEMI-RIMLESS: Frames with a traditional frame on the top half of the lens, where the bottom appears to have no frame (but is invisible nylon.) There are also semi-rimless with the rim on the bottom and not the top.

SHIELDS: Large glasses, generally sunwear, that were originally designed to fit over prescription eyewear, which are now a fashion staple. Lens is cut so it is one piece, covering more space on the face.

TASK SPECIFIC EYEWEAR: Eyewear that is designed to perform well for a particular function or usage whether for work, sports, driving, fashion needs, etc.

TITANIUM: A type of metal alloy that is very strong, lightweight and often hypoallergenic.
Zyl: Plastic frame material.

TORTOISE: A frame that is a mottled brown or gold color, which resembles a turtle shell.

WEAR-OVER SUNWEAR: Sunwear that is designed to be worn over existing glasses, and come in a wide variety of styles, colors and available lens technologies.

WRAP-AROUND EYEWEAR (WRAP): Type of eyeglass frame that curve-wrap around the head, from the front to the side. Wrap-around sunglasses tend to offer extra sun protection because the lenses tend to hug the face and protect the delicate tissue around the eye as well. Get the Rap on Wrap-arounds here. See Advisory on Frame Selection here.


ADJUSTABLE NOSEPADS: Located in the bridge area, they help to distribute the weight for a comfortable fit. Some pads are made of silicone type material that also prevents slippage.

BRIDGE: That part of the frame front that connects the eyewires and holds the frame in place at the nose.

BROW BAR: On sunwear or sports eyewear a plastic or foam piece that keeps the frame away from the brow to avoid fogginess. It is located at the lop of the frame, near the wearer’s brow line.

EYEWEAR: Refers to any streetwear, sunwear, safety, athletic, or other occupational or avocational, corrective or plano lenses, worn in combination with an ophthalmic frame as well as contact lenses.

EYEWIRE: That portion of the frame front into which the lenses are inserted or mounted and which is connected to its opposite by the bridge.

FRAME: That portion of a pair of spectacles that is designed to hold the lenses in the proper position before the eyes.

KEYHOLE BRIDGE: A type of bridge that fits only on the sides, and does not touch the top. Resembles a keyhole.

SADDLE BRIDGE: A type of bridge that sits uniformly over the nasal crest.

SPRING HINGE: Type of hinge on eyeglass frames that flexes, making the frames more durable. Spring hinges also help keep the eyewear in proper alignment and help reduce the need for some adjustments.

TEMPLES: Generally defined as the hinged extensions on each side of the frame front, which when the frame is worn, extend along each side of the head, and in most styles, bend down behind the ears. Temples are made to be reshaped to follow the contours of the skull (see example) and avoid direct contact with ears, while resting evenly against the skull with minimum pressure, whereby they act to hold the eyewear comfortably in place. See also Temple Variations.

TEMPLE-END: That part of the temple that extends down behind the ear and makes direct contact with the mastoid portion of the skull. The temple-end is designed to be reshaped to follow the contours of the skull whereby it acts to stabilize and hold the eyewear in place for long term comfort and wearability. The temple-ends, with all gaps and space removed, and making full contact with the skull, NOT THE EARS, are the primary means of holding the eyewear in place.

THREE PIECE MOUNTING: A rimless frame that has mounting pieces that attach to each lens and a bridge piece that attaches the lenses together making the look virtually “frameless.”

UNI-FIT BRIDGE: A plastic or silicone insert on a metal frame that replaces the adjustable pad arms and creates a one-piece bridge construction similar to that on a plastic. Some are very flexible and have the ability to be customized to fit the contours of the nose.


ANTI-REFLECTION (AR) LENS COATING: A lens treatment that is designed to block reflected light. This provides a reduction in glare, reduced reflections, and halos that you can see around light. It's especially good for night driving. It's also applied to the backside of quality sunwear to reduce reflections that can enter from the sides and rear. See also the Back To Basics Opticianry Course, Anti-Reflection Lens Coating here.

FLASH MIRROR COATING: A highly reflective lens coating used for both cosmetic and performance reasons. Flash mirrors reflect more light and keep eyes cool and comfortable. Great for contact lens wearers!

GLASS LENSES: Lenses that are heat-tempered for impact and shatter resistance, but are not un-breakable. It's the heaviest lens material but it's more scratch resistant than conventional plastic or polycarbonate material. Glass is no longer widely used.

GRADIENT LENSES: When a lens has a gradual fade from a dark to light color, usually fading from the top down. Use of multiple bands of colors provides a maximum fashion forward look and can coordinate with laminated frame colorizations.

HARD RESIN (CONVENTIONAL PLASTIC) CR-39 LENSES: More impact resistant than glass, and approximately half the weight of glass lenses.

HIGH-INDEX LENSES: A lens with a high level of refraction, meaning that light travels faster through the lens to reach the eye then in a traditional glass or plastic. Visual correction occurs with less lens material, so these lenses tend to be thinner and lighter. Lenses come in a variety of indices. The higher the index, the thinner the lens.

MULTIFOCAL LENSES: Lenses that provide vision with more then one field of view, i.e., bifocal, trifocal, progressive (PAL), and double bifocal. See examples here.

PHOTOCHROMIC LENS: A lens that changes lens color or darkness-density depending on the degree of exposure to light.

PLANO LENSES: Lenses with no prescription, i.e., non-corrective lenses.

POLARIZED LENSES: These lenses block light reflected from horizontal surfaces such as water, to reduce glare. Available in traditional shades of gray and brown and can also be seen in fashion colors such as orange, blue, purple and yellow.

POLYCARBONATE LENSES: This lens material is very impact-resistant, and is very durable. It's recommended for all children under 18 due to their active lifestyle, and it's most beneficial at work and recreational activities where safety is a major concern.

PROGRESSIVE LENSES (PAL, Progressive Addition Lenses): Multifocal lenses whose corrective powers change progressively throughout the lens. Each area of correction is blended invisibly to the next, so the lenses do not have the lines typically associated with bifocals or trifocals. Affords most “natural” visual for all distances: far, intermediate and near. These lenses must be chosen with care, however. They do not meet the needs of all users, particularly in special vocational or avocational circumstances. See example.

Ophthalmologist's Rx for glasses

RX: An abbreviation of the word, Prescription, which refers to the document that expresses the lens powers and other pertinent details, and is signed by the attending Refractionist, i.e., Optometrist, OD, or Ophthalmologist, MD.


SUN CLIP: Tinted glasses that clip, either magnetically or clip-on to your regular glasses. These provide easy to use sun protection, and the lenses are available in a variety of materials, and can often be customized to meet specific performance and protection needs.

SCRATCH RESISTANT COATING: A lens treatment that increases the durability of the lens and reduces the amount of scratches from everyday normal usage. None of today's lenses are "scratch proof." Proper care and cleaning is required to keep lenses scratch free. An important lens cleaning practice is to flush the surface of each lens with running water before applying a mild detergent, rinsing and blotting with a clean, soft cloth. Flushing the lenses first will remove scratch producing particles. All lenses should treated as one would treat an expensive camera or other optical instrument.

SINGLE VISION LENSES: Provide correction with only one focal point. Can be used to correct either Hyperopia or Myopia.

TRIFOCAL LENSES: Multifocal lenses that provide three fields of vision (Near vision, Intermediate Vision, and Distance Vision). See examples here.

UV (ULTRA-VIOLET) PROTECTION: A lens coating that protects your eyes from harmful UV rays.

VARIABLE TINT LENSES: Tint adjusts to the amount of UV light, could go darker to lighter, or change color (pink to blue).

WRAP-AROUND EYEWEAR (WRAP): Type of eyeglass lenses that curve-wrap around the head, from the front to the side. Wrap-around sunglasses tend to offer extra sun protection because the lenses tend to hug the face and protect the delicate tissue around the eye as well. Get the Rap on Wrap-arounds here. Also see Advisory on Frame Selection here. And see Letter to Eye Care Professionals.



Books, lectures and tests can take an Optician's skills only so far.

It is time for touch-and-feel, Hands on the Patient training.
Only one on one craftsmanship training provides this.
Craftsmanship cannot be learned virtually.

"Handcrafted frame fitting, i.e., touch and feel, hands-on dispensing,
cannot be outsourced to lectures or virtual sources. It is an art form,
which requires actual and multi-dimensional contact with the patient."

"It is incumbent on those who know, to teach those who do not know.
It is incumbent on those who do not know to surrender their ego."

ABO, American Board of Opticianry accredited, and Florida State Board approved CE
hours for Intermediate and Advanced Level Opticians in Handcrafted Frame Fitting
are currently offered under the sponsorship of POF, the Professional Opticians of
Florida. Click or Call 855-410-2700 to arrange for Training Session.




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