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There’s no doubt we’re having a love affair with glasses these days. From cat eyes to jam jars, hipster to thick nerd glasses to barely-there rimless, designer eyewear is easy to buy in stores or online.
It’s not surprising, then, that both men and women are donning glasses even when they don’t need to correct their vision.
What are fake eyeglasses?
Fake glasses are eyeglasses as a fashion statement or just to give yourself a fresh, funky or hip appearance. These “plano” glasses are all sass and style and no prescription.
Actors and actresses have donned fake glasses through the years. How else could someone with perfect vision play a character famous for their specs? Or appear to look studious or successful — or even decades older for a particular role?
The fake glasses fashion trend dates to at least 2010 and traces its origins to Taiwan and Japan, where young girls donned big, thick plastic frames with no lenses at all.
The trend splashed ashore in the States shortly thereafter and hit the sports scene in 2012 when James and Westbrook started wearing non-prescription thick-rimmed, oversized glasses as part of a kind of nerdy-chic glasses trend supplemented by backpacks, cardigans and plaid socks.
Teens, tweens and fashion-forward college students and adults have been donning fake glasses ever since.
Will fake glasses harm your vision?
One big question everyone asks: Will wearing fake glasses hurt your eyes?
You’re just looking through glass or plastic (or nothing at all), so no, fake glasses won’t harm your vision.
Fake glasses can turn heads
When Washington, D.C., resident Elle Madrone attended a fancy Nantucket wedding in 2013, she wore a strapless black dress and show-stopping non-prescription glasses festooned with golden monkeys climbing over the tops of the frames.
The glasses, by a New York City eyeglass designer named Mercura, were a hit: “Everybody kept asking me where I got them,” she recalls.
Since that time, Elle regularly dons fake glasses from different designers as fashion accessories.
“I wear glasses almost every day,” she says. “I’ve worn them for everything from lunch with a friend to a trip to Japan.”
Where to buy fake eyeglasses
If you want to play with fake specs, there are innumerable places to procure them — from a pair that costs $5 to one that costs $500.
Youngsters often buy plastic eyewear from discount stores like Walmart and Dollar Tree. Higher-end venues like FramesDirect.com allow you to choose your frames and even try them on using your webcam. Quality bargain outlets like EyeBuyDirect, among others, offer an astonishing range of styles.
Fashionable men and women like designs from Tom Ford and Marc Jacobs. Etsy also offers a range of fake glasses, often handcrafted.
Models and the Hollywood set — and Madrone — love Mercura NYC.
But how do you order fake glasses online? With many retailers, once you’ve chosen a frame style, you’ll have the option to select non-prescription lenses during the checkout process.
At Readers.com, shoppers can buy fake glasses (no power) with a few clicks of their mouse, explains Jon Corwin, director of growth marketing.
Just choose an available Customizable Readers style, select “Fully Magnified, and then +0.00 power for each lens.
“All of our customizable readers also come with a hard case and microfiber cloth,” Corwin, the consummate salesman, adds.
Why fake glasses? Change your look!
New Orleans-based pop artist Ashley Longshore knows the power of eyewear.
“I started wearing glasses without a prescription before I had two nickels to rub together,” says the successful artist, who now works with upscale Bergdorf Goodman department stores.
“It’s the easiest way to change your look. I’ll wear a big, outrageous jacket and put on oversized baroque glasses and I instantly feel fun, approachable and fabulous.”
Fake glasses are non-prescription glasses. They are sometimes called clear lens glasses. They work as a fashion statement to add style to your wardrobe. They also may serve a purpose if they have blue light blocking lenses.
Throughout the years, many famous stars have worn fake glasses to improve their look. In movies, fake glasses are often worn by actors and actresses to achieve a certain style.
The fake glasses trend traces its origins to Taiwan and Japan. It has been popular since at least 2010.
Popular Types of Fake Glasses Frames
Fake eyeglasses are popular, and there are various types of fake glasses frames available. There are plenty of different frame materials, styles, shapes, and looks available. From gold aviators to cat-eye frames to tortoiseshell hipster eyeglasses.
These fake eyeglasses are available in various sizes to suit different face shapes.
Here are some of the most popular types of fake glasses frames, all available without a prescription.
Warby Parker Shea
Warby Parker Roland
Horn Rimmed Glasses
Warby Parker Ames
Vintage Style Glasses
Warby Parker Corwin
Rose Gold Glasses
Warby Parker Jane
Non-Prescription vs. Prescription Glasses
If you’re over 40, reading glasses can be a necessity. Reading glasses can also serve as a fashion statement.
The Advantages of Non-Prescription Glasses
Many people select non-prescription glasses for the following reasons:
- They are inexpensive
- They are widely available in a selection of styles and shapes
- They can be easily replaced as fashion changes
Off-the-rack non-prescription glasses are popular for people who need reading glasses. These non-prescription reading glasses consist of two magnifying lenses mounted into an eyeglasses frame.
Like prescription glasses, these frames offer varying degrees of magnification or refraction. This usually ranges from +1.00 to +3.50 diopters. These non-prescription fake glasses may work for some people who require the same refraction in both eyes or can see in just one eye.
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However, most people are better off investing in a professional eye exam instead. Especially if they require reading glasses.
Non-prescription glasses have their advantages. But by wearing them, they can cause people to delay or even avoid undergoing regular eye exams.
The Disadvantages of Non-Prescription Glasses
Even if you’re a good candidate for non-prescription glasses, professional advice is recommended. While some states ban the sale of eye lenses with refraction over +3.50 diopters, it’s possible to purchase them online. But it isn’t recommended to buy higher values without medical advice.
If you require a different correction for each eye or have astigmatism, prescription lenses are more suitable. The latter refers to irregularities in the lens or cornea of your eye.
Over-the-counter eyeglasses offer the same prescription in both lenses, even though most people have one eye stronger than the other.
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Eyeglasses bought through an eye doctor, on the other hand, are customized to suit the prescription your eyes need. Fake glasses with magnifying lenses also cannot correct nearsightedness or astigmatism. In such cases, bifocal or progressive eyeglasses are a more suitable choice.
Why Is Fake Eyewear Trending?
The fake eyeglasses trend reached the United States and shortly after it hit the sports scene in 2012. This was when sports stars like Lebron James and Russell Westbrook began wearing thick-rimmed non-prescription eyeglasses.
The fake eyeglasses worn by these stars add to a ‘nerdy-chic’ look supported by backpacks, cardigans, and plaid socks. Since 2012, teens, “tweens,” college students, and adults have kept up with the trend.
Are Fake Eyeglasses Harmful?
Fake eyeglasses with non-magnifying glass, plastic, or nothing at all won’t harm your vision.
However, non-prescription glasses with magnifying lenses may have quality issues. Polycarbonate and other materials used to produce prescription lenses are usually defect-free or close to it.
Over-the-counter fake glasses with magnifying lenses may have small bubbles or imperfections in the lenses. While you may not notice these markings, they can affect your eyesight.
Imperfections can make it more difficult to see.
Costs of Fake Glasses & Where To Buy Them
If you want to experiment with fake eyeglasses, there are plenty of places to buy them. Depending on the retailer, prices differ vastly. Some options are as cheap as $5 or less, and some can cost up to $500 or more.
For affordable fake glasses, discount stores like Walmart and Dollar Tree often have best sellers available. GlassesUSA is another good option for a range of styles.
For high-quality options, designer brand Warby Parker has a great selection.
When ordering fake eyeglasses online, many retailers, including GlassesUSA, offer the option to select ‘non-prescription lenses’ during the checkout part of the shopping process.