Q: What does my prescription mean?
A: Your written prescription from your optician is a record of the visual correction that your eyesight requires. This will be noted with a series of numbers preceded by a plus (+) or minus (-) sign.
Minus (-) means you are short sighted (Myopic) i.e. you can see close up but objects viewed in the distance appear blurred. And plus (+) means you are long sighted (Hyperopic) i.e. objects viewed close up may be out of focus.
Astigmatism: This is where the curvature of the front surface of the eye is not perfectly round. Your vision will be blurred at most distances if the astigmatism is significant. A correction for astigmatism will be recorded in the ‘Cylinder’ and ‘Axis’ part of the prescription. Axis is simply an angle, at which the Cylindrical power of your lens sits. This angle is measured in degrees (1 degree to 180 degrees)
Presbyopia: This is where the lens inside your eyes loses its flexibility so that focusing on objects close up becomes difficult. It is part of the natural ageing process of the eye and usually affects people in their mid 40s. A correction for presbyopia will be recorded in the ‘Near’ and ‘Intermediate’ part of the prescription.
It is common to have no values for any one of the prescription sections, in which case you might see the letters “PL” or “plano” which means zero.
Q: What is my ‘pupil distance measurement’ (PD)?
A: Sometimes abbreviated to ‘PD’, it is the horizontal measurement between your pupil centres. We need this measurement so that the optical centre of the lens coincides with your pupils, ensuring maximum clarity of vision. Most opticians do not write this information on your prescription as they are not obliged to. However, they do keep your PD on file so all you have to do is call and ask – opticians are obligated by law to give you this information if require it!
Q: Where can I get my prescription from?
A: In the UK, you can get an eye test from your registered optician at any time. In accordance with the 1989 Opticians Act, your completed prescription form should be presented to you after your eye test. If not, just ask for one; you are entitled to it. You are under no obligation to purchase any frames or complete glasses from the optician. Under English Law you can buy your glasses from anywhere that you chose.
Q: Is there any legal age for buying prescription glasses online?
A: Yes, you have to be 16 years old or over. You will need to supply us with your prescription which must be issued by a registered optician within the last two years. Please note we cannot use a contact lens prescription to make your glasses.
Q: What sports glasses are right for me?
A: In general, there is no right or wrong type of glasses although some sports, such as shooting and fishing, will require a higher level of protection than others. Optilabs offer two main types of glasses – Prescription lens glasses/direct glazed (PL) and Prescription Insert styles (PI).
Direct glazed is the technical name for a ‘normal’ pair of sunglasses, where the prescription lenses are fitted directly into the frame. They often come in an ergonomic wraparound design, which allows for a slightly wider field of vision. Direct-glazed lenses are not interchangeable, so choosing the right lens is important. Examples of direct glazed frames are Cobra, Escape, Rapide etc from the Optilabs range.
Insert styles are glasses that have an optical insert, made to your prescription, that clips to the nose bridge. The the benefit of an optical insert is that it allows for more contemporary frame styles that are just not possible with direct-glazed glasses. Optilabs offer a range of insert styles that come as part of a sports pack which includes a range of interchangeable coloured polycarbonate shields (suitable for different light conditions). The Swift and Switch sports packs both feature a hi-definition polarised shield to accompany the standard mirrored, low light and clear/protective shields in the pack. Or chose the eye-catching Max frame with photochromic lenses which darken and lighten with changing light conditions.
Q: How can I be sure that my frames will suit me?
A: Buying glasses online can be a difficult decision. To make things easier we offer a Try Before you Buy whereby you can request up to three frames to be sent out to you so that you can check the style and fit before you buy (available to UK customers only). You can use our online form to order your selection. Regarding lenses, there are some sports, such as fishing, for which polarised lenses are absolutely essential and we would recommend nothing else. For mountain bikers and off road cyclists our photochromic lenses are great for moving from woodland shade to bright sunlight, whereas for road cyclists our polarised mirror finish lenses are a favourite. If you have any queries or want advice for your particular sport, give us a call. We are always happy to help.
Q: Should I choose single vision, bifocal or varifocal lenses?
A: Single vision lenses are for distance only. Both bifocal and varifocal lenes should only really be needed if you require distance and near vision simultaneously. However, if your everyday glasses are bifocal or varifocal, you may wish to continue this through to your sports glasses.
Q: What are the advantages of polarised lenses?
A: Your eyes work hard even under normal condition, moving and adjusting to receive thousands of visual impressions each second. Under a tougher condition when your eyes encounter glare like sunlight, your eyes work even harder. The pupils contract, your eyelids close to narrow slits and the end result is you feeling fatigued. In basic terms, polarised lenses cut out the horizontal glare meaning you don’t have to squint and you get maximum visual comfort.
We have a wide range of polarised lenses, brown and grey being the best all-rounders. The other colours are much more specialist, please see or lens lab section for more details.
Q: What is the usual delivery time on my glasses?
A: Up to 10 working days from time of order – but usually they are done quicker!
Q: Do I need to have a prescription to buy sports glasses from Optilabs?
A: No. Whilst we specialize in sports glasses for prescription wearers, you can experience all the benefits of our lenses without a prescription. Simply select ‘non prescription’ from the lenses drop down menu when you come to buy.
Q: I have entered some information incorrectly, what should I do now?
A: Contact us immediately by phone or by email. You must do this within 24 hrs as our ordering process is all automated and therefore very quick. Unfortunately Optilabs cannot be held responsible for wrongly entered information so please take you time and check your details carefully.
Q: Can you supply normal, everyday, frames and lenses?
A: Yes! Because we are an optical factory outlet and this gives us two big advantages… Firstly, as a factory outlet, we supply frames and lenses to high street opticians, therefore we can offer a huge range of lenses (far more than your own optician will offer). Secondly, because we make all our lenses at our own in-house laboratory, we can offer them to you at a significantly reduced cost – in most cases up to 60% less than your optician would charge!
Q: How strong are the sports glasses?
A: Very! The Blackbird frames are made exclusively for us in France to genuine military specification. Our other frames are made from very strong yet lightweight composite materials and are up to 5 times stronger than cellulose acetate (the most commonly used plastic in optical frame manufacture). Added to this, all our lenses are made from virtually unbreakable polycarbonate or CR39.
Q: What if the worst happens and I break my glasses, do you offer repairs?
A: Yes we do. If your lenses are in tact and undamaged, they can be transferred to a replacement frame (of the same design). There will be a charge of £69.95 for this. New sides, if available, can be replaced for a cost of £25.00. All prices are exclusive of postage.
If your lenses are damaged, but you still want to keep your frames, we can do this too. As there are so many different lens types to choose from, price is on application.
If your frames and lenses are damaged, we will offer you £20.00 off a new pair of glasses (of any style), providing you send your broken glasses back to us. All of the services above are not available online, call us or email us for more details.
Q: How will I know that my new glasses will fit me?
A: The Blackbird comes with self-adjustable side arms which are easily shortened or lengthened. Most other frames can also be adjusted by yourself, however, we request that you contact us by phone or email to discuss individual requirements. We also offer a sample service whereby you can request up to 3 frames to be sent out to you so that you can check the style and fit before you buy (available to UK customers only).
Q: What range of powers can you supply to prescription lenses?
A: Unfortunately, that will depend on more than just the prescription itself. It will also depend on the type of lens you require, the frame you have chosen and your pupil distance measurement (for more on pupil distance see earlier FAQ). However, as a ball-park figure, a minus prescription up to -10 spherical (or Sph). A plus prescription up to +8 Sph, and cylinder (or cyl) up to +/-6. If you are in any doubt, please don’t hesitate to phone us on 0208 6865708 to make further enquiries, or drop us an e-mail.
Q: What are indicies, High Index?
A: The “index”, or refractive index of a material means how dense it is. Simply, the higher the refractive index then the thinner the lens is going to be for short sighted, or “Minus” prescriptions. This is not necessarily the case for Long sighted, or “Plus” Prescriptions. For high prescriptions to correct long sightedness then the “Asphericity” of the lens is more important than the index. This is an altogether, more complicated area of Ophthalmic Lenses and if you would like more information then you ought to contact us with your personal requirements and we shall be happy to assist you.