Have you ever wondered what the numbers on the “temple arms” (the long arms on the sides of eyeglass and sunglasses frames that extend from the hinge and over the ears) mean? Are they important?

They certainly are.

If you’re not sure what numbers we’re referring to, check the inside of the left temple arm of your glasses. There, you’ll find printed the size measurement of your frames. The measurement usually consists of three numbers, such as 50-19-140.

The first number in the sequence represents the width (in millimeters) of the lenses; the second is width of the bridge (the distance between the lenses over your nose) measured in millimeters and usually separated by a small dash or rectangle; while the third number is the temple arm length.

Why These Numbers are Important

When you get a pair of glasses or sunglasses from your optometrist or eye care provider, you’ve probably noticed that they go to great to take certain measurements of your head, face shape, and features—so it should come as no surprise that properly-sized frames matter.

According to the Business Insider article, How to Pick the Right Glasses for Your Face, the width of your frames should match the width of your face, which means the glasses should not hang off the side of your face (frame is too wide) nor should the sides of your temples be visible (frame is too narrow). Likewise, your glasses should appear as though they are located roughly in the middle of your face vertically, providing a nice balance between the top of your face and the bottom.

You should also be able to see your eyebrows (at least half of them) above the frames, and each eye should be directly in the center of the lens, from left to right, while your eye should fill the top half of the lens vertically, with the bottom of the eye roughly touching the vertical midpoint of the lens.

Also, if your glasses routinely slide down your nose, this is a sign that the temples arms need to be bent around your ears to better keep them in place.

What’s Your Size?

Traditionally, your eyecare professionals are the ones responsible for sizing your frames to fit your face. They will take a number of measurements when you are first fitted for glasses, then make adjustments when your glasses arrive and you put them on for the first time.

Nowadays though, with the advent of online purchasing (even prescription glasses can be purchased online when you have a copy of your prescription), this traditional approach isn’t always possible. Luckily, most online retailers provide guides for how to pick the right-sized frames for your face, and most have generous return policies should you not get it right.

Lens Width

For example, Ray-Ban offers a unique way to gauge lens width:

  • Take a credit card, which is the approximate width of a standard size lens.
  • In front of a mirror or a webcam, place one edge of the credit card at the center of your nose and note where the other edge lands.
  • If the edge of the credit card ends at or near the corner of your eye, your lens fit should be standard size.
  • If the edge of the credit card extends well beyond the corner of your eye, you should get a small size
  • If the edge of the credit card does not reach the corner of your, then opt for a large size
Temple Arms

With frames, the temple arms measurement tends to be between 135mm to 150 mm. For proper sizing, use the measurement on your current pair of glasses (provided they fit and feel right to you). If you have had problems with the temple arms being too short in the past, look for frames with lengths of 145mm and 150mm. Conversely, if you have had problems with the temple arms being too long in the past, look for frames with lengths of 135mm to 140mm.

Bridge Width

Again, if you have a current pair of glasses that fit well, your bridge width should be printed on inside of the left temple arm. It’s the middle number and it’s likely to be between 16 and 21mm.

If your current glasses fit fine, use this number. But if your current glasses pinch your nose and tend to ride high on your face, consider a wider bridge width. If your current glasses tend to slide down your nose and ride low on your face, consider a narrower bridge width.

Frame thickness also plays a role in how your glasses fit on your nose. For example, thick frames tend to require a wider bridge width than thinner frames. If the frames you are considering buying differ from your current pair of glasses, you may need to adjust your bridge width.

The Size is Right

In addition to being more comfortable and stylish, glasses and sunglasses that fit your face are more effective at aiding your vision and shielding your eyes from the sun. For more than 30 years, the skilled team of optometrists, opticians, and other eye care professionals at Sunglass & Optical Warehouse have been sizing and adjusting eyeglasses and sunglasses for people in Greater San Diego.

Contact us today to discuss how we might be able to help you find a pair of glasses and sunglasses that both fit your face and your style.

Sports Arena Warehouse (Kurtz Street) | Sports Arena Boutique (Hancock Street) | Kearny Mesa (Convoy Street)

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