FAQs | Star Finder Optical

Help and frequently asked questions

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Q: What are single vision lenses?
A: These are lenses which have a single power over the whole lens. They would be used, for example, for someone who needs spectacles only for driving or for reading. In some cases, a person’s eyes may need lenses to focus at both far and near distances and their prescription (‘strength’ of the lens they need) is the same for both. In this case they can use the same single vision lens for all activities.

Q: What are multifocal lenses?
A: As their name suggests, multifocal lenses enable the wearer to have more than one prescription built into the lens so only one pair of spectacles are required for different uses eg for reading and for VDU use. These may be bifocal lenses or progressive lenses.

Q: The lenses in my specs are scratched. Is it possible to get them polished or will I have to get new lenses?
A: It is not possible to polish spectacle lenses to get rid of scratches without altering the power of lens, as a result it would be necessary to purchase some new lenses.  It is possible to protect lenses from scratches by adding a special coating. When you ask for your spectacles to be reglazed (or think about buying new ones) ask your optometrist about a scratch resistant coating on the surface of the lens. This coating will help minimize any future scratching and enable you to keep your lenses for a longer period.

Q: What is a dioptre?
A: A dioptre is a unit of measurement of the refractive power (ability to bend light passing through it) of a lens.

Q: What is the best way to protect your eyes from ultraviolet (UV) light?
A: The best form of sunglasses for extended periods of ultraviolet (UV) light exposure are wraparound sunglasses. They are shaped to keep light from shining around the frames and into your eyes. Large framed wraparound sunglasses can protect your eyes from all angles.

Q: What are bifocal lenses?
A: These multifocal lenses have two prescriptions (one for distance at the top and one for near vision at the bottom) with a visible dividing line or curve on the lens.

Q: What are progressive or multifocal lenses?
A: These are multifocal lenses that correct your vision at different working distances from reading distance to far distance. The spectacle lenses do not have visible lines that separate the segments, so cosmetically they appear just the same as single vision lenses. There is a continuous gradual change in prescription throughout the lens. The distance vision in the lens is usually directly in front of the pupil and near vision in the lower part of the lenses. They may take a while to adjust to if you have been wearing single vision lenses before trying them.


Q: I have just been told that I need a prism in one of my lenses. What does this mean?
A: Prism lenses are used to prevent double vision or some types of eye strain, occurring as a result of a muscle imbalance, such as a squint. They work by moving the image of the object. The image will move either vertically or horizontally depending on the direction of the prism and the power of the lens.People who are experiencing eye strain and headaches may in fact require a prism lens in order to resolve their symptoms.

Q: Are photochromic lenses suitable for driving in?
A: Photochromic lenses tend not to react as quickly inside a car as they do in normal conditions. This is because the windscreen blocks the UV light needed to help the lens react. At night or in poor visibility, you must not wear tinted glasses, lenses or visors or anything that restricts your vision. However, you may wear tinted lenses in good driving conditions.

Q: Are tinted lenses suitable for driving?
A: Photochromic lenses tend not to react as quickly inside a car as they do in normal conditions. This is because the windscreen blocks the UV light needed to help the lens react. At night or in poor visibility, you must not wear tinted glasses, lenses or visors or anything that restricts your vision. However, you may wear tinted lenses in good driving conditions.


Q: What can I do about dazzle from headlights at night?
A: If you wear specs, ask for an anti-reflection coating on your lenses. This will greatly reduce reflections and glare. In addition make sure that your specs and windscreen are clean. Dirt or grime will scatter light and encourage glare and dazzle making driving difficult.

Q: My specs don't seem to fit properly, does this matter?
A: It is important that your specs fit you correctly because poor fitting specs may affect the quality of your vision. For example, if you are short sighted and your specs are further away from your eyes than were intended you may feel that your specs are weaker than they should be. Or, if you are long sighted you may feel that your specs are too strong. Both these situations need to be remedied and as a result you should return to your optometrist to have your frames adjusted as soon as you can.

Q: Will glasses improve my short sightedness, resulting in me not having to wear them as often?
A: I’ve been told that I’m sort sighted. If I wear my specs for a while, is there a chance my eyesight will improve, therefore resulting in me not having to wear them as often?

There is no evidence to suggest that wearing specs for a limited period actually alters or improves your eye sight. Short sightedness, or myopia, is caused by the shape of the eye – either the eyeball is slightly too long or the cornea (the clear covering of the front of the eye) is too steeply curved. Specs and contact lenses are able to correct the refractive error but not the cause, there are several methods however which can ‘improve’ your vision permanently which includes refractive surgery.If you would prefer not to wear specs, perhaps you should consider contact lenses. There are various lens types available which can be worn for varying lengths of time. Please visit your local optometrist who will be happy to advise you on the most appropriate contact lenses for your prescription and lifestyle and answer any other questions you may have.

Q: What are the advantages and disadvantages of high index spectacle lenses?
A: The advantages of this type of material is that it is thinner than standard plastic and therefore also usually lighter. Its main disadvantage is that the lens can be more reflective than conventional lenses, but this can be more than overcome by apply an anti-reflection coating to the surface of the lens.


Q: I am long sighted. Which are the best spectacle lenses for me?
A: Specs for those with long-sight are convex or thicker in the centre and until recently all used to magnify your eyes. The introduction of new materials has enabled technicians to make these lenses flatter on the front surface, therefore making them magnify less, they are also less heavy. These types of specs are called ASPHERIC lenses.

Q: I am short sighted. Which are the best spectacle lenses for me?
A: Specs for those with short-sight are concave or thicker at the edges and until recently all used to make your eyes look small. The introduction of new more dense materials has enabled technicians to make these lenses thinner and therefore improve your appearance. These types of specs are called HIGH-INDEX lenses

Q: What should I do if I have stopped wearing glasses and am now getting headaches?
A: Whether you wore glasses a long time ago as a child or you’ve worn them recently,  vision-related headaches are not an uncommon problem. The good news is that there are a number of ways to approach the issue.These headaches can be caused by a number of factors, and the first step is to understand the root of the problem before addressing it. There is of course the possibility that the headaches are not caused by vision problems but rather another unrelated health issue.Typically when headaches are related to vision problems the issue stems from eye strain. When the cornea and the lens of the eye don’t work together as they should to focus on an object, the eye muscles must work harder to see clearly – this causes the strain that results in symptoms such as sore eyes, blurred vision and, commonly, headaches.Eye strain and the resulting headache are usually caused by one of three common problems. Astigmatism is when the cornea is an irregular shape, which causes people with this condition to squint; hyperopia – or long sightedness – means the image is focused at the wrong place in the eye and presbyopia is when the lens and eye muscle, doesn’t function as it should due to age. All of these causes can lead to headaches.If you have worn glasses previously and are now suffering from persistent headaches, vision issues could be to blame. Many people will assume the vision problem is the same as the one they suffered in the past, and while this can be the case, it is sometimes incorrect. Our eyes change over time, so if you have worn glasses for one issue previously, it may be another issue causing headaches this time around.To best find a solution, book an appointment with your optometrist to determine the cause and best solution for your headaches.

Q: Can you get glasses to help with computer screens affecting my eyes?
A: Countless people spend their days – and much of their nights – sitting in front of a computer screen.When you spend so much time in front of a screen that it causes a tired, strained feeling in your eyes, you may be suffering from a condition known as computer vision syndrome (CVS). This problem is so common that is it said to affect somewhere between 64 and 90 per cent of office workers.Other symptoms include eyestrain, headaches, ocular discomfort, dry eye, diplopia (double vision) or blurred vision.If you are suffering from eye problems in front of a screen, it may be because you require vision correction and need to get your eyes tested, regardless of time you spend with computers.In fact, some studies suggest that the eyestrain caused by spending so much time in front of a screen is similar to those found when viewing printed materials for the same lengths of time, suggesting it has more to do with the persistent use and close range. The major difference between screen use and printed materials is that the symptom of dry eye is more prevalent for screens as we tend to blink less often.There are a number of ways you can reduce the effects of CVS during the day however. Remember to take regular breaks away from the screen, even if it’s only to get up and talk to a colleague instead of emailing them. You can also check that your posture and monitor are correct, and don’t forget to blink regularly. Lighting can also have an effect, so talk to management to see if this can also be improved for your eyes.

Q: How can I adjust to my new glasses?
A: Adjusting to new glasses, whether you’ve switched to a new prescription or are wearing them for the first time, can be a challenge for some people.If you’ve never worn glasses before, simply having frames on your face may seem strange and take some time to get used to. On top of this, some people may suffer from problems such as headaches, dizziness, or their eyes may water.For most people, they will get used to the new sensation within a matter of days.Fortunately, plenty of people have been through the same experience and there are several tips you can try to adjust to wearing glasses more quickly.First of all, start by putting on your glasses as soon as you start your day. This will help you to form a habit of wearing them early on, and if you put them on later on in the day you may find the sudden change more disorientating.Itchy eyes, redness, soreness or blurred vision can occur, in which case you should remove the glasses until the symptoms pass and try again.Adjusting may also depend on the glasses themselves. If you are wearing graduated lenses or bi- or tri-focals, you may want to try to turn your head instead of only moving your eyes. This will take a conscious effort but you will soon get used to the movement, which will make the transition easier.If after a period of two to three weeks you are still not happy with the fit of the frames on your face, or are still struggling with headaches, dizziness or watery eyes, then you should consult your optometrist. They will be able to double check the fitting of your frames and ensure your prescription is correct, as there may be an issue causing your discomfort.

Q: Which glasses should I wear for a long-sighted prescription and a short-sighted prescription?
A: Glasses are a common form of vision correction and countless people wear them every day to help their eyes focus correctly. Long-sightedness and short-sightedness are two common vision problems, so glasses must be adjusted to correct these conditions with prescriptions.These prescriptions are used to correct vision for people dealing with hypermetropia (long-sightedness) and myopia (short-sightedness).Which glasses are best for a long-sighted prescription?Hypermetropia, or long-sightedness, is a common problem that affects about 5 to 10 per cent of the population. It can be more common in those whose parents have the condition, or it can occur by itself.It occurs when there is a refractive problem in the eye, which means the eye doesn’t correctly bend light, so the light does not hit the retina at the back of the eye as it should. In hypermetropia, the light rays are focused behind the retina, rather than on the retina. The result is that objects at a close proximity appear blurred, while objects at a long range are clear.If not immediately obvious, the eye will automatically try to refocus, which can lead to soreness and headaches over time, which is a strong indicator that there is a vision issue. While this condition can’t be prevented, it is easily treated. One of the more common ways is through prescription glasses. This is a very simple, safe and affordable method. Prescription glasses for long-sightedness are convex, known as plus lenses, which ‘fix’ the light coming into the eye by bending the light rays slightly inwards, meaning they end up where they should on the retina. The particular prescription will vary from person to person as the extent of hypermetropia varies. A qualified optometrist and an eye test will be able to determine which prescription is required. These days, convex glasses for this prescription are available in a huge range of frames to suit any budget and style choice. Which glasses are best for a short-sighted prescription? Myopia, or short- or near-sightedness is essentially the opposite problem of long-sightedness. Women tend to suffer from myopia more commonly than men and the condition can affect around 25 per cent of the population. Again, those with parents who have myopia are more likely to develop the condition, which generally happens in children between the ages of 8 and 12 and can worsen during teenage years, and later with age. In some cases however, myopia may improve with time. The refractive error that causes myopia means light does not bend to hit the retina at the back of the eye, but instead focuses in front of the retina. This is because the eye is either too long, or the cornea at the front of the eye responsible for the refraction is too curved. Those suffering from the condition are able to clearly see objects at a close range, but not those that are further away. Prescription glasses can balance the issue simply and quickly. Prescription glasses to correct this problem have concave lenses, called minus lenses. This style bends the light outwards, meaning it will hit the retina in the correct place. A vision test with an optometrist is important to determine the exact prescription for myopia. It’s also important to get tested again if the old prescription no longer corrects blurry vision, as the eyes can change with time. Most optometrists will recommend a new test every 2 years at minimum, but it’s important to make an appointment if you notice any changes before this time is up.As with prescription glasses for long-sightedness, there are many options available in frames to fit all budgets and lifestyles.

Q: At what age should children first visit the optometrist?
A: There are tests that can be used on infants and preschool children who cannot read. If you have any concerns about your child’s vision you should find a local optometrist who will test their vision. However, if you have no concerns, it is perhaps better to wait until your child is a little older, say around three and a half years before taking them for a full eye examination. Even if your child’s vision seems good it is worth taking them for a full sight test at a qualified optometrist when they reach school age, just to make sure that there aren’t any issues with their vision that are likely to affect their early school years.

Q: What are the signs of eye problems in children?
A: Children develop full vision in each eye over the course of their first year. Young babies cannot see beyond a few feet and you should not be concerned if they cannot recognise your face from a distance for their first three or four months. Watery eyes are common in young babies as the ducts which carry the tears away from the eye surface are not fully open for the first few months. However, if this problem does not clear up by the child’s first birthday, check with your general medical practitioner. Signs of eye problems that need advice from your optometrist or healthcare professional in babies and infants include persistent or recurrent eye infections and if you notice that the eyes do not move together perfectly, eg when looking at an object straight ahead one eye is pointed slightly outward or inward (squint). When your child is three or four years old, if they are having difficulty recognising shapes, colours or showing no interest in pictures in storybooks, then a sight test is advisable. You will find the majority of optometrists will have the necessary tests to conduct a full eye examination on young children. Your child does not have to be able to read to have their sight tested.

Q: What does sphere mean on my prescription?
A: Sphere refers to the power of your lens (measured in dioptre units) to correct the degree of short or long sight you have. It is common for the number to be different for each eye. The figures will have a plus sign if you are longsighted and a minus sign if you are shortsighted.

Q: What does cylinder mean on my prescription?
A: If you are astigmatic, your prescription will include a figure for the amount of cylindrical power which your lenses require. The number describes the difference in dioptres between your cornea’s steepest and shallowest curves.

Q: What does axis mean on my prescription?
A: Axis is part of your prescription, and tells an optometrist in which direction they must position any cylindrical power in your lenses (required for astigmatism). The number shows the orientation or angle (in degrees) from 1 to 180. The number 90 means vertical position, and 180 horizontal. A higher number for the axis does not mean that your prescription is stronger, it simply describes the position of the astigmatism.

Q: What does O.D. mean on my prescription?
A: O.D is a shortened form of the Latin term ‘oculus dexter’ and refers to the right eye

Q: What does O.S. mean on my prescription?
A: O.S is a shortened form of the Latin term oculus sinister and refers to the left eye.

Q: How do I understand what my glasses prescription means?
A: Glasses prescriptions to the untrained eye can appear to be a random sequence of numbers and letters, but once you understand what each number means you can understand how to read this code.Put simply, the numbers represent diopters, a unit used to describe the amount of correction an eye needs, which is often seen as an abbreviated D in a prescription but is often omitted. Generally speaking, the further away from zero these numbers are, the more correction the lens requires.These numbers are listed under the letters OS and OD. OS stands for oculus sinister, which means it is for the left eye, while OD stands for oculus dextrus, which is the right eye. If you see the letters OU, this involves both eyes.The first numbers in the series will also have positive or negative signs attached to them. A plus sign signals the eye is far-sighted (known as hyperopia), while a minus sign signals the eye is near-sighted (known as myopia). This first number in the sequence is known as the spherical number.If you have astigmatism, there will be a second and third number. The second number is the cylinder number, which measures the astigmatism and can be positive or negative.  In most cases it written in the negative form. The third number, known as the axis, describes the curve in the eye with a number between 1 and 180 and describes the orientation of the eye.In the case of no refractive error, you will see a ‘pl’, which stands for plano or plano shp.A fourth number, the ADD, may be included, especially for patients over the age of 45. This means the prescription will be different for distance and closer focus, such as reading. The number measures the additional correction needed to focus on close objects.Finally, if a PD (pupillary distance) is included in your prescription, this just means the distance between your eyes. This can be an important figure to help your dispensing optometrist or optical advisor best fit the lenses correctly.