Daleen Slabbert consults to the optometric industry. Her services include: new practice set-up, implementing practice systems, implementing financial check points, staff training, implementing marketing strategies, human resources management, motivating staff, etc. She has amassed an incredible library of information and has vast experience in the running of high performance optometric practices. Daleen offers an on-site service, where she will be at the fore front of implementation of her systems. She has also developed an outstanding online course for optometric staff.

A comfortable fitting spectacle frame defines ultimate customer satisfaction. The process starts with selecting a frame with adequate dimensions, which will allow manipulation and adjustments, once the lenses have been fitted. Nobody’s head or face is exactly symmetrical, and each individual has unique features, which will impact on how a spectacle frame sits on the face. Ears are usually not positioned exactly at the same height. One ear may be higher or lower than the other. The bridge of the nose may be relatively high or low in relation to the eyes. A head may require very long temples (side pieces) or very short ones. The position of the ear, where the temple sits in relation to the place where the frame sits on the nose, can hugely influence the fit and optics of spectacles. It’s very important that the optical dispenser takes note of all these features and selects a frame that can be fitted to overcome them.

What is the right frame choice?

There are three basic requirements in frame selections that must be met.

The frame dimensions and how it sits on the face, can impact directly on the functional outcome of the optical prescription. For instance, with multi focals, there has to be enough space (depth) below the eyes to allow for the reading section. It is the responsibility of the optometrist or the optical dispenser, to guide you, the customer, in this regard. It would be wrong to over-rule their advice in this regard because of your cosmetic demands.

Again, it is the duty of the optical dispenser to ensure that the end product will be comfortable. The power of the prescription, the lens material chosen, as well as the lens design can affect the shape and fit of the frame on the face. The dispenser must pre-empt the effect of these factors but must also take into account the anatomy of the head and face, as well as the unique facial features of the patient, when choosing a frame. Once the lenses have been cut and fitted into the frame, it will feel and perform differently. The person assisting you, must ensure that the design of the frame, its dimensions and the material it is made of will allow for it to be fitted to your face once the lenses have been fitted.

The cosmetic component of your spectacles is vitally important, and this is where you have all the say. However, the choice of frame on the basis of the look, cannot over-rule the factors mentioned above.
All three of these conditions must be met.

It is important to take your time and to feel good about the choice you make. There should be no room for uncertainty. With today’s technology, one has the luxury of calling on a spouse or family and friends, by sending a photograph for a quick opinion.

Fitting the frame onto the face

There is more to it than meets the eye. Here are six routine steps the optical dispenser will work through during the fitting process.

Look for horizontal tilt. This can be corrected by angling the temples (side pieces) up or down.

Both sides must be the same distance from the eyes (eye brows not always symmetrical) You want a gently curve around the face – not straight or a negative curve. The specs must not fit too far out from the eyes (vertex distance). Apart from looking funny, it can affect your vision. It must not be too close so that your lashes will touch the lenses.

Pantoscopic angle. This angle is determined by the point where the temples rest on the ears and the top of the bridge of the nose.
An incorrect pantoscopic angle, can adversely affect vision. An incorrect angle as seen below in Fig.11, will also make the glasses look funny on the face.

The temple wrap must not apply any unwanted pressure on the wearer’s temples. A temple wrap that is too narrow will push the frame forward to slide down the wearer’s nose (it is like squeezing a pea between your fingers). This will produce indentations on the wearer’s temples. A temple wrap that is too wide will also cause a frame to constantly slide down
the nose.

This curl should follow the contour behind the ear and is vital in keeping the specs firmly, but comfortable on the face. This should not be a sharp “hockey stick” bend.

Nose pads must be aligned to fit flush with the nose. There are three angles to consider when adjusting nose pads: The frontal, splay and vertical angles. Both nose pads should look symmetrical, unless the patient has some asymmetry such as a broken nose and should be equidistant from the frame.


It is not uncommon to experience some pressure points of discomfort shortly after getting your new specs. This is part of the settling in period and a follow-up alignment will usually sort this out.
Spectacle frames will not maintain their shape indefinitely. All spectacle wearers should be in the habit of having their frames re-aligned from time to time. As a rule, optometrists will provide this service free of charge and no appointment is required.

Share this on Facebook: