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Types of Glasses - Everything you need to know

With various types of glasses, it might be overwhelming to know if you need them and which are the right ones to choose.

This article introduces a general guide to the different glasses, lenses and frames available. You can use this as a starting point to determine the prescription and non-prescription glasses types.

What are the diffrent types of glasses?

Whether it's for reading, working, or leisure, many people find they need eyeglasses to help correct their vision and see better.

Our eyesight can change when we’re young or even as we age. These changes can depend on genetics, illnesses, or a misshaped cornea. For each type of refractive error, there is a pair of prescription glasses to help correct it.

Single Vision

Single vision glasses help correct refractive errors such as myopia, hyperopia or astigmatism.

Single vision glasses essentially help with either near or far vision. Sometimes you may also have astigmatism in combination with single vision refractive errors.

You can read more about single-vision glasses here to better understand the difference.

Bifocals & Trifocals

If you need to correct more than one vision, you may require either bifocals or trifocals. Bifocals help correct two visions, near and far, by having two power values in the lens. Multifocal lenses are a good option to help correct even presbyopia.

The top part helps correct your far distance, and your near vision becomes clearer as you move towards the bottom. In contrast, trifocals have three power values in the lenses.

You'll find an intermediate power value primarily used for looking at a computer screen between the far and near distances. Trifocals tend to be harder to get used to for some, as your vision tries to adapt to the different power values.


Progressive glasses also help correct multiple vision errors. They provide vision correction for far, intermediate and near, such as bifocals and trifocals.



The main difference between progressives and other multifocal lenses is the non-visible lines. Progressive lenses do not have lines, which makes them more aesthetically pleasing. Bifocals and trifocals have visible lines that separate the lens's power values. 

You can learn more about progressive lenses and why many prefer them to bifocals.

Reading Glasses

Reading glasses do not always require a prescription and are available OTC (over the counter), even at local supermarkets. 

The power value of reading glasses can start low (+1), reach higher prescriptions (+4) and help you see close-up. If you find reading, looking at your phone, or computer difficult, you may need reading glasses. There are different types of reading glasses which you can read more about in our article.

In any case, we recommend consulting your opticians when experiencing visual discomfort before buying any glasses.

Safety Glasses & Blue Light Blocking Glasses

Anyone can use various types of safety glasses for work or leisure. Safety goggles are a must if you work in an environment surrounded by hazardous elements. Whether you don't need any prescription, safety glasses can help protect you from external factors that may hinder your vision.

You can also use safety eyewear while playing sports, such as PRO GEAR eye guards, which as great for an active lifestyle. 

But if you spend most of your working hours or leisure time in front of digital screens, try out blue light glasses. When exposed to a significant amount of blue light, we can experience visual discomforts such as eye strain and tiredness. 

Whether responding to emails or binging a show, blue light glasses help reduce blue light entering our eyes and decrease our visual discomfort. Blue light glasses are also available in prescription lenses too.


Sunglasses are also glasses that we can use with or without a prescription to see better and protect our eyesight. 

Similar to prescription glasses, sunglasses can also come with various lenses and filters that work best with specific situations. If you're looking for something practical that combines your glasses and sunglasses, why not try photochromic lenses?

Plano Glasses

Also known as 'fake glasses,' plano lenses are eyewear that does not require any prescription. Plano lenses can be used for aesthetic or safety reasons. If, for example, you have perfect vision but spend many hours in front of digital screens, get a pair of (plano) blue light glasses. 

You can read more about plano lenses and how they differ from prescription glasses.

Each glasses type also requires a lens to ensure the best quality and vision.

What are the best types of lenses for glasses?

Depending on a person's eye needs and preferences, different types of lenses work best with your prescription glasses. 


• Glass

• Plastic

• Polycarbonate 

• Trivex & High trivex

To learn about these various lens materials, check our article Glasses lens materials. You can also combine many lenses with protective coatings to reduce damage to your eyewear and eyesight.

Alongside quality lenses, there are also specific frames available for all types of glasses.

What are the best types of glasses frames?

Even frame materials and designs can impact your vision and comfort. Some are heavier than others or even bulkier, while others are more lightweight and look nearly invisible.

Frame Materials


Metal & Titanium 



Frame Styles




So how do you know which glasses type is the best for you?

How do I know what type of glasses I need?

Firstly, if you need prescription glasses, have an eye test to determine which type of glasses you may need. Your optician will show you your power values when buying your new glasses. 

Once you know what type you need, read about the best lenses you can get for your prescription. If you're looking for something light and with impact resistance, then glass lenses, for example, will not be the right fit. 

The frame size is also important when choosing what type of glasses you want. If your specs do not fit comfortably on your face, you'll experience discomforts such as glasses slipping down or tight frames. 

Sunglasses are probably the best option to shield your eyes from the sun. But, if you also wear prescription glasses and don't like wearing contact lenses, you may consider:


1. Prescription sunglasses

2. Clip-ons

3. Photochromic glasses


Whether you need to read, see distant objects, or look cool, the type of glasses you need depends on your eyes and lifestyle. 


We've covered the different types of glasses, from single vision and multifocal to plano lenses. We've also introduced the various lens materials, coatings and frames that prescription glasses and sunglasses can benefit from. 

Remember that before you buy any glasses, you should have regular eye tests at the optician or eye doctor. With your prescription, you can explore a range of eyewear for men, women and kids to satisfy your every eye need. 

Head over to SmartBuyGlasses and find what you love with trendy and quality eyewear based on your look and lifestyle.