Get your first PAIR for $125 with code NEWFRAME

How to Choose Between Different Types of Glasses

If you haven’t worn prescription glasses before — or think you may need to make a change in your eyewear — it helps to understand the different types of glasses available. Each type offers specific kinds of vision correction, other functional benefits, or a particular look.

Let’s explore the different types of glasses you might find at your favorite eyewear retailer. From lens types and optional add-ons to different frame shapes and styles, we’ll cover it all to help you make good choices for yourself. After all, the right pair of glasses makes all the difference.

Different Types of Eyeglass Lenses

First off, it’s important to mention that the glasses lenses you need usually depend on your prescription. It’s a good idea to start with a visit to your optometrist for an eye exam.

Once your eye doctor has established exactly what vision problems you have (if any), they’ll recommend either contact lenses or glasses for you. They’ll also give you a prescription that will dictate the type of lens, depending on the vision correction you need.

Of all the different types of glasses, these are the most common:

Reading Glasses

Many people develop a condition known as presbyopia as they get older. This happens because the lenses in your eyes lose some of their flexibility (much like your body) and can’t adjust as easily to different focal distances. You might suddenly find yourself squinting or wishing your arms were longer when you try to read anything close up, like a book, your grocery list, or a message on your cell phone.

Reading glasses come with different levels of magnification to correct for that.

You can buy ready-made reading glasses off the shelf at your local pharmacy or drugstore, but they’re often not great quality — and they’re one-size-fits-all. If you have any other issues with your vision, or one eye is slightly stronger than the other, you’ll need proper prescription lenses for correct vision.

Single-Vision Glasses Lenses

Single-vision lenses correct a variety of vision issues. These are usually related to an irregularity in the shape of your eye, which means that the light entering it doesn’t focus in the correct place on the retina.

Myopia (or nearsightedness): If you have myopia, your eyeball may be slightly longer than average, so the light focuses in front of the retina, rather than on it. You may be able to see close objects, but you need distance glasses to see anything a bit further away.

Hyperopia (or farsightedness): With hyperopia, your eyeball is slightly shorter than average so the light focuses behind the retina. Your distance vision may be fine but you’ll probably struggle to see anything close up. Although it sounds similar, this is a different issue from presbyopia.

Astigmatism: If your cornea or lens is a slightly irregular shape, the light entering your eye scatters, rather than hitting one focal point on the retina. Astigmatism makes it difficult to focus properly and you might struggle with fuzzy or distorted vision.

Single-vision glasses can correct either myopia or hyperopia, or either of those conditions plus astigmatism.

Bifocals or Progressive Eyeglass Lenses

If you have multiple vision issues — for example, myopia and presbyopia — you could get several pairs of glasses for different tasks. Or you could get a couple of different types of glasses in one. These are called multifocals.

Bifocal lenses allow you to see at two different distances — for example, up close when you’re reading and at a distance while you’re driving. Trifocal lenses give you three options: up close, middle distance (this is useful if you work on a computer), and further away.

Old-school multifocals have a hard line between the different fields of vision. This can cause a vision jump as you change focus and it also doesn’t look great. Luckily, we now have progressive lenses, which offer a gradual change between your fields of vision, giving you a much smoother experience. They also don’t look that much different from regular single-vision glasses, which is great news if you don’t want to look old-fashioned.

Non-Prescription Glasses

Of course, if you don’t actually need prescription lenses and just want to wear your glasses as an accessory, you can also get non-prescription lenses.

Different Types of Lens Add-Ons

Different types of glasses: woman wearing a yellow sweater

Now we come to some options that can be added to other types of glasses, whether they’re reading glasses, single-vision glasses, or progressive lenses. To decide whether you could benefit from these, consider your lifestyle and daily activities.

Blue-Light Glasses Lenses

If you tend to spend time in the evening in front of your computer screen — or any other digital device — you may want to add blue-light-blocking filters to your prescription glasses. Blue light glasses protect your eyes from the high-energy blue rays emitted by digital screens.

Computer glasses with blue light filters won’t protect you from digital eye strain though. To look after your eye health while you’re online, consider investing in an anti-glare screen. Basic eye care practices — for example, looking away from your screen every 20 minutes or so to focus on something further away — can also make a huge difference.


Sunglasses can be prescription or non-prescription and their main job is to protect your eyes when you’re outdoors. They reduce the glare — even more so if they’re polarized — so you don’t end up squinting in bright light. After all, who needs extra wrinkles? Even more importantly, most sunglasses also filter UVA and UVB rays from the sun, which can otherwise cause serious damage to your eyes.

Light Responsive Eyeglass Lenses

Transition lenses — or photochromic lenses — are light-sensitive. Their tint automatically darkens as you move into bright environments and lightens again as it gets darker. This is very handy if you move between inside and outside during the day and don’t want to have to keep switching between your regular glasses and your sunglasses.

High-Index Lenses

If you need a strong prescription, it’s worth considering investing in high-index lenses. Lenses with high prescriptions usually need to be thicker than usual, which can create a “Coke bottle” effect.

High-index lenses have a higher index of refraction — which means they bend light more efficiently. They can therefore be thinner, lighter, and less noticeable, while still offering the same level of vision correction.

Different Types of Glasses Frames to Suit Your Face Shape

Woman holding 2 pairs of eyeglasses

Now that you’re thoroughly versed in the most common types of lenses, let’s touch on frames.

The best eyeglass frame shape depends on the shape of the wearer’s face. To figure this out, you could ask your optician for recommendations or take the time to drive to your nearest optical store and line up a bunch of glasses styles to try in front of the mirror.

Or you could simply visit Pair Eyewear online and virtually try on our range of glasses without leaving the comfort of your own home.

Of course, you’re free to try on every pair of glasses we offer if you choose. We do recommend starting with the ones most likely to suit you though, depending on your face shape and face size (our Size Guide can help here).

For example:

If you have a fairly angular face, try our round frames:

If your face is on the rounder side, a rectangular style might suit you better:

And for something a bit different and ultra-feminine, try our cat-eye styles, which suit most face shapes:

Pair Eyewear caters to all the different types of glasses mentioned above. Our frames are made from cellulose acetate — a particularly tough frame material — and are fitted with polycarbonate lenses. All our lenses are scratch-resistant and impact-resistant, 100% UV protective, and come with an anti-reflective coating to reduce the glare.

Beyond that, Pair takes eyewear to the next level with our unique Base Frame and Top Frame concept. Once you’ve chosen your Base Frame to suit your face, you get to choose from our wide range of stylish, beautifully designed Top Frames, including Sun Tops. Top Frames attach to the Base Frames with tiny magnets, so you can change the look of your glasses in an instant.

And you get all this for a fraction of the price you’d pay for multiple pairs of prescription glasses.

Choose From Pair’s Range of Different Types of Glasses Today

There are many different types of glasses available and it’s important to understand which type is best for you. That starts with knowing your prescription so you can choose the right lens type, whether that’s readers, single-vision glasses, or multifocal progressive lenses.

Then consider your lifestyle and prescription level to decide if you could benefit from other functional options, like blue-light lenses, sunglasses, transition glasses, or high-index lenses.

Finally, decide which frame shape and color best suits your face. Then — if you’ve made the decision to order from Pair Eyewear — add your choice of Top Frames to make them your own. Clear vision has never looked so good.