Reading Glasses Glossary

Have you ever experienced confusion in trying the decipher the meanings of terms related to your reading glasses? Explore the definitions of relevant reading glasses words and phrases in our glossary of common eyeglass terminology.

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Reading Glasses Glossary of Terms

Anti-reflective: describes a lens coating designed to reduce glare, improve night vision and improve visibility of a wearer’s eyes.

Aspheric: a thinner type of lens designed with a mostly flat face for more consistent magnification throughout the entire lens. The consistent width of the lens allows wearers to see the world in the most natural way possible, the slimmer lens reduces the bulge of the lens and weight of the glasses, and the overall look of the lens gives your eyes a more natural (less magnified) appearance.

Bifocal: a lens that features two distinct optical powers. Typically, one power is intended for viewing distant objects, while the other aids in viewing close objects. A bifocal lens may feature a visible line across the middle of the lens, which separates the two different focal segments. Bifocals are most commonly prescribed to people with presbyopia who also require a correction for myopia, hyperopia, and/or astigmatism.

Bridge: a rounded piece found in the center of the frame that sits on the glasses wearer’s nose.

Compact: see ‘folding.’


Fit over: describes glasses designed to be worn over prescription or reading glasses, to guard eyes from the sun.

Folding: glasses which fold into a compact shape and size typically small enough to fit into a shirt pocket; also called ‘compact.’

Frame: circular or rectangular pieces at eyeglasses’ front into which lens are fitted; usually made of metal or plastic.

Frameless: a style of eyeglasses which lacks a metal or plastic frame encasing the lenses.

Full frame: glasses with the widest vertical stretch of magnified vision; most suitable for constant close-up work.

Half frame: glasses which allow a wearer to look down, through a corrective lens, for focused near vision, and over the top of the frame for unobstructed distance vision; called ‘half’ because the lens and frame are approximately half the height of a full lens and frame.

Hydrophobic: describes a lens coating that is designed to ease cleaning.

Lens: glass, plastic or poly carbonate piece through which a wearer views. Most lenses are aspheric, or slightly curved, as to eliminate distortion. Reading glasses lenses range from 1.0 to 3.0 in magnification, or strength.

Multifocal: a lens with segments providing two or more powers. See ‘bifocal’ and ‘trifocal.’

Polycarbonate: a specific, easily worked group of thermoplastic polymers often used to make lenses, which have a high resistance to impact and better light transmission than many kinds of glass.

Power: A measure of magnification; a higher power implies greater magnification.

Rimless: see ‘frameless.’

Single-vision lenses: lenses produced according to a single prescription to correct to a specific eyesight hindrance.

Temples: identical long and narrow arms that attach to the ends of the frame with hinges and extend over the ears to keep eyeglasses in place.

Transitional lenses: lenses that lighten in color and shade in indoor environments, and darken in color and shade in outdoor environments.

Trifocal: a lens that features three regions to correct distance, intermediate and near vision.

Tint: a slight coloration. In glasses, tint most often refers to a darkening of the lens.

Ultraviolet (UV): a type of light in which the electromagnetic radiation is a wavelength shorter than that of visible light. For humans, prolonged exposure can cause harmful health effects on the skin (sunburn), eyes and immune system.

UV protection: describes a lens treatment intended to protect a wearer’s eye from damaging UV rays. See ‘ultraviolet.’