You’re not alone – this can actually be a very complex problem, with a number of different causes. Generally speaking, a good fitting plastic material frame will not cause a sore nose, as there are no parts to get out of alignment. When well-fitted, they are exceptionally comfortable; on the minus side, adjustments or fixes to the bridge on a plastic frame are much more difficult, and may not be possible. However, many people cannot wear plastic frames, due to the shape of their bridge (nose); others don’t care for plastic frame styling, so they get to have metal frames with adjustable nose pads.
The most common reason for a sore nose on a frame with adjustable nose pads is that the pad arms have gotten out of alignment, either by a blow to the head (cupboard door, basketball, a fall, etc), or by an attempt by the wearer to adjust their own glasses. A quick aside – if your glasses are slipping, it is NOT because the nose pads are too far apart! DON’T squeeze them closer together, or I’ll be seeing you very soon with a sore nose. A quick visit to your Licensed Dispensing Optician (LDO) and a pair of nose pad pliers or optical needle nose pliers is all it takes to restore nose pad alignment and a comfortable fit.
The next most common reason for a hurting schnoze is that one temple (aka arm, etc) has gotten bent out much further than the other. This places most of the weight of the frame on one side of the bridge, creating a hot spot and tenderness. Again, just pop in to your favorite LDO, and have them bring the offending temple back into alignment, and all will be well again.
Here’s another culprit to investigate if your poor bridge is red and inflamed. Many frames use silicone nose pads, which offer many benefits – they are soft, they adapt a bit to the contour of the nose, and they grip, to help prevent slipping. However, some people (between 1 – 5%) are allergic to the silicone in the nose pads, and sensitivity increases with exposure. If you’ve tried everything else, ask to have your nose pads replaced with a silicone alternative.
Last but not least is the issue of the weight. The glasses may just be too heavy for the nose to bear comfortably. This may be due to the strength of the prescription, the heaviness of the frame, thinner and more tender skin, or a breakdown in skin elasticity due to aging. The only cure here is to get the lightest weight glasses possible. I recommend Silhouette rimless frames with Trivex lens material, which has been a God-send to several of my patients.
One more bit of advice – if your glasses are causing irritation or inflammation on your nose, don’t put off taking care of the situation. I have seen instances where it appears skin cancers may have been triggered by poorly fitting glasses. And remember, a good optician will ALWAYS happy to adjust your glasses.
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