After deciding on the type of lens you want, choose the coating:
Anti-scratch (known as “hard” or “super-hard coating”) is usually standard. It reduces scratching, although no lenses are entirely scratch-proof.
Anti-reflective (known as “ultraclear”) reduces reflection, increasing light passing through and making your eyes more visible and appealing. It also helps night and computer vision by reducing reflections from overhead, street and car lights. The major stores don’t normally include this in offers and charge between $50 and $99 extra.
UV eye protection is usually included in a “multi-coat” coating. High-index, progressive and polycarbonate lenses are already UV-resistant. UV protection cannot guard against all harm from sunlight, so always use prescription sunglasses or clip-ons outdoors.
Plastic frames, while fashionable, are less durable than metal and can fade. However, metal frames can cause allergic reactions and may be heavier than plastic. Stainless steel is most widely used, both for its hypoallergenic qualities and because it’s comparatively cheap. The most expensive frames available are titanium, which are lightweight, durable and hypoallergenic, but harder to adjust and repair.
Designer frames dominate stores. Manufacturers license a brand such as Prada, Versace or Dolce & Gabbana, and these licensing fees mean higher prices.
Paying a premium for a designer brand, however, does not guarantee superior quality. Luxottica manufactures many designer frames and applies many of the same quality tests to its no-name products, which means you can get a great-looking pair of glasses without blowing the budget.
We found price differences of $100 for the same pair of Prada frames, so shop around and look for cheap online offers.