Style your Patients
Choosing a frame, like choosing a piece
of artwork, is a personal decision. Most patients know what
they like but they can try on every frame in the dispensary
before they find it.
They look for fashion. They focus on
shape, size and color. They want trendy, conservative,
colorful, and invisible. But if they are ultimately going to
be happy with their eyewear, the ECP must step in and
consider other factors as well, such as bridge fit and
position, temple length, eye size and lifestyle/function
features like spring hinges, frame material and durability.
Color is an important facet of the
overall look. Frame color should enhance, accentuate and
harmonize with the natural skin tones and hair and eye
The warm/cool concept in choosing
appropriate colors in wardrobe and eyewear is helpful. But,
before you adhere to strict color rules, try a variety of
colors. You may be surprised to find that the patient looks
best in a totally "inappropriate" color.
However, for those of us who insist on
knowing the color guidelines, here is an overview:
To compliment warm complexions (gold
undertones), use colors such as dark brown, tortoise, golden
brown gold, beige, red, warm blue and yellow-green. Choose
polished metals in gold and copper and brushed metals in
bronze, copper and gray-gold.
To compliment cool complexions
(blue/pink undertones), choose black, rose brown, charcoal,
taupe (gray/beige), cocoa, light/medium gray, pink, blue,
plum jade, tortoise (not too much yellow). Try polished
metals in graphite, silver, pewter, chrome and brushed
metals in pewter, silver, gunmetal and chrome.
The right eyewear can accentuate or
soften facial features and shapes. The correct frame shape
will enhance facial structure to soften angles, emphasize
recessive features and highlight facial attributes.
Here is an overview of face shapes and
Oval: The chin is slightly narrower
than the forehead; high cheekbones. This shape is considered
the ideal shape because it appears balanced.
Styling tip: Select a style that is as
wide as or slightly wider than the widest part of the face.
Round: Full with few angles; height
and width appear equal.
Styling tip: Select a softly curved or
modified square style with high or mid-level temples.
Diamond: Narrow forehead, wide
cheekbone area; narrow chin.
Styling tip: Select a softly curved
style, no wider than the cheekbone area; heavy on top;
straight top with rounded bottom.
Square: Bread forehead and jawline;
wide cheekbones and chin.
Styling tip: Select a softly curved
style; some weight on top; vertical appearance, high
decorative or contrasting temples.
Triangle: Narrow forehead, wider
cheekbones and chin.
Styling tip: Choose a "cat eye"
not wider than the width of the jawline; heavy tops; bottoms
angled in; mid-level to high temples.
Inverted triangle: Wide forehead;
high cheekbones; narrow chin.
Styling tip: Select a style that angles
outward at the bottom; rectangle shape; low temples.
Oblong: Longer than wide; long cheek
line; maybe a long nose.
Styling tip: Select a frame with a deeper
design; decorative temples; a low bridge.
Patients may have facial features that
may need to be emphasized or de-emphasized (not that you
will point that out to them). Certain frame designs and
detailing can help achieve these tasks. For instance:
|| Select a frame with:
|shorten the nose
|| a low or dark bridge.
|lengthen the nose
||a high or clear bridge
|narrow the nose
|| a clear or metal bridge
that sits close to the nose
|widen close-set eyes
|| nose pads
||a clear or unobtrusive bridge
||a darker color toward the outside
||a narrow width (to center the eyes)
|narrow wide-set eyes
|| a dark bridge
||a wider width (to center the eyes)
|shorted a long face
|| low temples
|lengthen a short face
|| high temples
|narrow the jaw
|| a narrow profile with
|| an angular shape and
wider at the top
Small faces are more attractive in thin
metal frames in subtle colors. For larger faces, choose
slightly oversized frames.
For older patients, the following
suggestions may be helpful:
Choose a "cat eye" or
upswept frame to help "lift" the face and
counteract drooping eyes and eyelids.
Avoid aviator, dark or heavy styles,
as they pull the face down.
Positioning the frames:
Follow the brow line. The frame
should not be significantly higher or lower than the
Center the eyes in the lenses as much
as possible. This keeps thickness down, reduces the risk of
visual distortion and attractively frames the eyes.
The frame size and weight should be
in proportion to the body size and weight.
The most important fashion styling tip of
all: Ignore conventional rules of styling. Be creative.
Nose pads. The nose pads should fit
the contour of the nose and bear the weight of the frame
equally and evenly. Use as large a pad as possible. Make
sure the bridge width will allow adjustment without
squeezing the pads together or flaring them too far apart.
Consider lens thickness and the position of the pad arms.
The bridge bar should not rest on the nose.
Unifit bridge. A unifit bridge is to
touch the nose at all points to spread the weight of the
frame evenly. Not every nose will accommodate a unifit
Plastic bridge. For a plastic frame,
the keyhole bridge is considered the "universal"
shape. However, there aren't many frames made these days
with keyhole bridges. As a general rule, the plastic bridge
should fit like the unifit bridge. It should rest evenly and
completely on the nose.
High-powered lenses. High-powered
lenses will be less thick if the eyesize is as small as is
practical and the eyes are centered in the lens aperture.
Temples. The temples should extend to
a little below the midpoint of the back of the ear. The
eyesize should be wide enough so that the frame's temples do
not squeeze the patient's temples and leave a mark. The
temples should gently meet the head just in front of the
Monel. Most metal frames are made of
monel, a combination of metals, such as nickel and copper.
It is strong and durable, corrosion resistant and easy to
adjust. Monel frames come in a variety of colors, which can
be shiny or matte, bright or muted.
Titanium. Titanium is light and
durable. It is a good choice for patients with metal
allergies and sensitive skin. The colors of titanium frames
tend to be duller because of the paint that is used.
Cellulose acetate. The most common
plastic frame material, cellulose acetate comes in a variety
of colors, patterns and textures. It can be adversely
affected by high heat (in the sun in the car), perspiration,
body oils and ultraviolet rays.
Polycarbonate and nylon. When
strength and protection are required of a frame,
polycarbonate and nylon are a good choice. A drawback to
these frame materials is the difficulty in adjusting them.
These materials do not give readily and often return to
their original shape. Also, there are a limited number of
colors that these materials will absorb, making fashion a
little more difficult to achieve.
Patients may want to achieve a particular
look with their eyewear. Here is an overview of frame styles
that present a desired image:
Professional: Classic designs and
conservative colors; square, multi-angular, oval, almond and
round; metal or a combination of plastic and metal; brown,
gold, silver, burgundy and coffee for women; silver,
gunmetal, brown and black for men.
Casual: Expressive styles; bright
colors; lightweight materials; trendy plastics, in geometric
shapes with thicker temples; colors such as purple, green
and blue; multiple laminates and designs, such as animal
skins and textures.
Dressy: Cat eyes; jewelry-like look;
delicate metals; styles trimmed with gems, jewels and
crystals; gold and silver accents.
Frame styling is a combination of science
and art. The science is the physics of construction and fit;
the art is making the patient look and feel good. The end
result is the harmonious blend of physics, fashion and
Image Courtesy of Transitions Optical,