MUNDANE MYSTERIES: What Are Those Numbers On Your Eyeglass Frames?

If you wear prescription eyeglasses, chances are you’ve probably noticed numbers stamped inside one of the arms of the frame. That’s not the manufacturer’s way of sharing winning lottery numbers, like some sort of an optical fortune cookie, nor are they a serial number or manufacturing date. So, what are those numbers? They’re actually the dimensions, as measured in millimeters, of your eye-wear.

Normally, the first number is the width of your lenses at their widest point. The second number is the bridge size, which is the distance between the lenses. And the final, and greatest, number is the temple length, measured from the frame hinge to the back tip that sits right behind your ear. There could potentially be other numbers, like perhaps the lens height or the frame’s model number. There might even be a square between the numbers at times.

The way opticians find the right eyeglass fit for you is by figuring out how the frame sits on your face. Your eyes should be centered in the lenses and your nose should balance the frame, while the frame should be situated comfortably on your temples but snug enough to keep things in place. A well-fitting frame would typically be just a tad wider than your face.

Knowing your numbers doesn’t always guarantee a perfect fit, though. You could have two different pairs of glasses, each with the same dimensions of, say, 54 mm by 22 mm by 130 mm. But, while they’d both technically be the exact same size, one might seem to fit much better than the other. That could be caused by the frames’ differences in style, as each offers a slightly different look or feel, even while the numbers are just the same. And that, my friend, is why I’ve never ordered glasses online. Call me old fashioned, but physically trying on frames will always be the safest option in my opinion. (Especially considering how much a good, worthwhile pair of glasses cost.)

Got a Mundane Mystery you’d like solved? Send me a message via social media (@AndyWebbRadioVoice), or shoot me an email at [email protected].

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