Reading Glasses 101: What to Know Before You Buy

You walk into the optometrist's office, ready to pick out your first pair of reading glasses. But with all the options - round frames, square frames, different sizes - you're not sure which pair will look best on your face. Don't worry! In this article, we break down the five major face shapes and recommend the ideal reading glasses for each one. Whether your face is round like a circle, square with sharp angles, oval and elongated, heart-shaped with a wide forehead, or diamond with narrow cheekbones, we've got you covered. With our tips on bridge size, frame width, and lens shape for your unique face, you'll walk out with reading glasses that complement your natural features beautifully. Keep reading to find your perfect pair!

reading glasses fit

Best Frames for a Round Face Shape

If you've got round cheeks and a circular face, angular glasses can help add definition. Thin metal or plastic frames that are rectangular, square, or cat eye shaped are ideal for balancing roundness. Think frames that are wider than they are deep, with straight lines and sharp angles. Frames that are too circular or curvy will only accentuate the roundness of your face.

Aviator-style glasses, like the Ray-Ban RB3025, are a classic choice for round faces. Their teardrop shape helps create the illusion of length and their metal frame adds sleekness. For an edgier look, consider a pair of cat eye glasses. Their exaggerated upward tilt at the outer edges of the frames helps open up and lengthen round faces. Brands like Kate Spade and Coach offer stylish, feminine cat eye options.

Rimless or semi-rimless frames are another great choice. Since they have little to no rim at the bottom, they create an open, airy look that counters the solid, curved lines of a round face. Rimless frames also tend to be very lightweight and comfortable. However, they may not offer as much lens protection as full-rim frames.

In terms of lens shape, oval or rectangular lenses that are wider than they are deep work best for round faces. Square lenses can also work, as they provide angles to contrast with a round face shape. Avoid excessively round lenses, as they will emphasize the roundness of your face. In the end, the most flattering glasses for a round face have frames and lenses that add definition and length. With the right pair, you can showcase your round face shape in a stylish, balanced way.

Flattering Reading Glasses for Square Faces

If you have a square face, you want reading glasses that soften your angular features and create balance. Rounded or oval frames are ideal for offsetting the sharp corners of a square face.

Round Frames: Round frames add curves to complement your square jawline. Their circular shape helps soften the angles of your face for a softer, more balanced look. Metal or plastic frames in colors like rose gold, burgundy or forest green also help accentuate your round frames.

Oval Frames: Like round frames, oval frames offset the strong lines of a square face with their curved shape. However, oval frames may suit square faces even better as they are slightly more elongated, helping to make a square face appear more oval. Oval frames that are as wide or wider than the broadest part of your face are especially flattering. Materials like acetate or mixed media with decorative accents along the top of the frame help draw attention upward and make your face seem longer.

Avoid Boxy Frames: Whatever you do, avoid frames that are boxy or square. They will only emphasize the squareness of your face and make you look boxy as well. Square frames, rectangular frames and frames with sharp corners should be avoided.

The key to choosing perfect reading glasses for a square face is balancing the prominent angles with soft, rounded shapes. When you get the shapes and proportions right, you'll have reading glasses that not only let you see clearly but also flatter your face beautifully. The result will be a stylish, put-together look that gives the impression you have an oval or oblong face shape.

Oval Faces Look Great in These Reader Styles

If you have an oval face shape, you’re in luck— nearly every style of reading glasses will complement your evenly proportioned features. Oval faces are a bit longer than wide, with a narrow jawline and forehead. To accentuate your oval face, choose frames that are as wide as the widest part of your face.

Rimless or Lightweight Frames: Rimless, semi-rimless or lightweight metal frames are ideal for oval faces. Wire frames or frames with minimal rim along the top half of the lens help showcase your face shape without overpowering it. Brands like Ray-Ban, Kate Spade and Michael Kors offer stylish, lightweight frames that would look fetching on you.

Rounded Frames: Rounded frames with curved edges help soften the angles of your jawline and give you a fun, stylish look. Retro-inspired frames in a cat eye or browline shape are on-trend and oval-face friendly. Plastic frames in tortoiseshell or transparent colors keep the look light and fresh.

Colorful or Patterned Frames: Don't be afraid to go bold with colorful or patterned frames. Geometric shapes, animal prints or frames with unique accents along the top will draw attention upwards and accentuate your best features. Look for frames that coordinate with your personal style and you’ll be reaching for your readers all the time!

The most important thing is to choose frames that you love and that make you feel confident while reading or doing close-up tasks. Oval faces have an easy time finding flattering eyewear, so have fun with the options and try on as many styles as you like. The right pair of readers can make a world of difference in your daily comfort and style.

Finding the Most Complimentary Reading Glasses for Heart and Diamond Face Shapes

Frame Shape: The shape of the frame is one of the most important factors to consider based on your face shape. Round frames complement square faces, while angular frames flatter round faces. Oval frames are a versatile choice that work for most face shapes. For heart-shaped faces, frames that are wider at the bottom help create balance. Rimless or semi-rimless frames are a great option for diamond-shaped faces.

Lens Material: Lens material impacts the weight, durability and scratch-resistance of your glasses. Plastic lenses are lightweight, impact-resistant and budget-friendly but scratch easily. Polycarbonate lenses are nearly indestructible but can distort peripheral vision. High-index lenses are thin and scratch-resistant but expensive. For most people, polycarbonate or high-index lenses offer the best combination of clarity, durability and affordability.

Lens Treatments: Anti-reflective coatings reduce glare and eye strain. Photochromic lenses darken automatically in sunlight. Polarized lenses reduce reflected glare, ideal for driving and water activities. Blue light-blocking lenses filter out blue light from digital screens and LEDs. The options you choose depend on how and where you use your glasses the most.

Bifocals or Progressives: If you need glasses for both distance and close-up vision correction, bifocals have two distinct lens powers, while progressive lenses provide a smooth transition between lens powers. Progressives offer a more natural field of view but can take time to get used to and typically cost more. For most visually active lifestyles, progressive lenses are worth the investment.

Extras: Don't forget extras like hard cases, lens cleaning wipes, neck cords and straps to keep your new glasses clean, scratch-free and always within reach. With the right frames and lenses matched to your needs and lifestyle, a great pair of reading glasses can make life's small print crystal clear again.

Roger Sarkis