Frequently Asked Questions

Philadelphia Eyeglass Labs

We’ve been in the eyeglass business for over 125 years and have the most experienced opticians and optometrists in the Philadelphia area.


See our frequently asked questions below or contact us below!


Health FAQ

Eye exams are more than just updating your prescription for a new pair of glasses or contacts; comprehensive eye exams are a critical part of your overall healthcare. For one, checking your prescription annually is important in preventing eye problems, including strain, headaches, and other vision correction issues. Secondly, during an eye exam, the optometrist can often see signs of ocular disease including cataracts, macular degeneration, and even glaucoma, as well as systemic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, thyroid issues, and tumors.

For children, we recommend getting an exam at 6 months of age, 3 years of age, 6 years of age, and annually thereafter.

For patients over the age of 50, it is especially important to schedule an eye exam every 12 months as the risk for ocular disease is greatly increased.
Dilation, or the widening of the pupil using eyedrops, allows the eye doctor to see the back of your eye. While dilation can affect your ability to drive or see clearly for a few hours after your exam, we recommend that most patients are dilated.

Dilation assists in the diagnosis and treatment of many optical and ocular conditions which may or may not have obvious symptoms otherwise. These conditions and diseases include diabetes, glaucoma, high blood pressure, macular degeneration, retinal detachment, and cataracts.
An exam for eyeglasses is about 20-30 minutes.

An exam for contact lenses is about 30 minutes. If it is your first time wearing contacts, the exam process takes about 45-60 minutes.

Dilation will add 20-30 minutes to any exam. Remember that the side effects are increased sun sensitivity and near-vision blurriness for several hours.
Let’s start with the basics: OD stands for oculus dextrus which means right eye; OS stands for oculus sinister which means left eye. If you see an OU written on your prescription, this means something is the same for both eyes.

A plus sign in front of your prescription means you are likely to be farsighted, and a minus sign means you are likely to be nearsighted.

If you have three numbers in your prescription, this means you have an astigmatism. The first number is the spherical degree of your nearsightedness or farsightedness. The second number is your degree of cylinder, or astigmatism. The third number is referred to as axis, and shows the orientation of the cylinder.
Always bring your most recent written prescription, eyeglasses, sunglasses, and/or contact lenses (with or without the boxes) to your eye exam.

Eyeglasses FAQ

Aside from being trendy and fashionable, sunglasses are important to your health! Ultraviolet light radiation from the sun, commonly known as UV, can cause permanent damage to the eye. If worn consistently, sunglasses with UV protection can prevent the harmful effects of light radiation.

We recommend polarized sunglass lenses to nearly all of our patients- they improve contrast, clarity, and color while reducing strain and eliminating glare. Once you have a pair, you’ll never go back!

We also offer additional treatments and tints for your sunglasses, including mirror coatings, gradient tints, and photochromic lenses. Transitions is a brand of photochromic lenses, which remain nearly clear indoors and darken with exposure to sunlight. Transitions lenses offer a range of products, including XTRActive for more darkness and Vantage for added polarization.

Talk to your optician to get a recommendation for your lifestyle and prescription.
With a lens laboratory on site at our flagship Arch Street location, we are happy to manufacture lenses for your frame. We offer a wide range of lens materials, coatings, and treatments for patients to choose from. Patients who wish to have lenses fit in their personal frames must sign a damage waiver, as it is difficult to tell the age and rigidity of a frame.
Unfortunately, we are unable to buff out scratches on a damaged lens. We recommend that patients get scratch-coat on their lenses to help keep their glasses looking new. If you are worried about scratching your lenses, you may want to purchase the Extended Eyeglass Protection Plan Warranty.
Anti-reflective coating, also known as anti-glare or AR coating, can wipe out 99.5% of glare by eliminating light reflections. Light reflections while wearing eyeglasses often make routine tasks difficult, such as driving at night, using a computer, and working under fluorescent lighting. Anti-reflective coating significantly reduces eye strain and glare all while giving you more clarity and contrast; it also gives that “no-lens look” in photos.

Sunglasses can benefit from this coating as well. When applied to the backside of sunglass lenses, anti-reflective coating can help remove glare reflecting from the sun behind you.

PEL offers a standard AR coating, digital AR coating for digital or HD lenses, and a premium Crizal AR coating.
Patients enjoy the convenience of self-darkening lenses because they no longer need a separate pair of sunglasses in addition to their regular-use eyeglasses. Lenses that are virtually clear indoors and at night and gradually change with exposure to sunlight are called photochromic lenses. Most patients are familiar with the brand Transitions, which offers a range of photochromic lenses. XTRActive Transitions lenses get even darker than their standard product, while Vantage Transitions lenses provide polarization in addition to darkening.

PEL also offers budget-friendly photochromic lenses for patients who want the advanced technology without the higher price. Ask your optician for more details.
Many of us spend over 8 hours a day in front of the computer, and even more than that when you combine the hours spent on smartphones, tablets, and laptops. Computer Vision Syndrome is a real problem that is caused by excessive computer use without adequate visual correction, lighting, and posture.

While improving the way you sit at the computer and the surrounding lighting may help, using a pair of computer vision glasses while working on a computer, laptop, or tablet can nearly eliminate your eye strain and other related symptoms such as headache, dry eye, and blurriness.

Computer vision glasses are a type of progressive lens designed to specifically correct your vision from the distance of a computer screen. The difference between standard progressive lenses and computer vision glasses is the size of the intermediate zone- you need a larger zone for computer-related activities. For optimal comfort, we recommend AR coating on your computer vision glasses to eliminate glare.

Contact Lens FAQ

A contact lens exam includes a standard eye exam as well as other tests to correctly fit your contact lenses. Depending on whether you are a new or existing contact lens wearer, these tests can take anywhere between 15 to 30 additional minutes in the exam room.

The portion of the contact lens exam that is separate from a regular exam is called the contact lens fitting. The price of a contact lens fitting is in addition to the exam fee, and ranges depending on the complexity of your fit (ie, if you need single vision, astigmatic/toric, or multifocal lenses). When the exam is complete, you will be given insertion and removal training from one of our opticians, and be sent home with a pair of trial lenses. After your one-week follow up, you will get a valid contact lens prescription.
Contact lens wearers must be examined every 12 months to maintain a valid contact lens prescription at Philadelphia Eyeglass Labs.
With today’s contact lens technology, nearly all patients say that they can’t even feel their lenses! Many patients are opting for daily disposable lenses, which give you the ability to wear a fresh pair everyday. Even patients who wear rigid gas permeable or hard contact lenses are impressed by the comfort and clarity of their vision.

The eye doctor and opticians will educate you on the best practices for optimal comfort in your contact lenses.
Only certain brands of contact lenses, such as Air Optix Night & Day lenses, are approved for overnight use. Do not sleep in your contact lenses unless otherwise instructed by our eye doctor.