Inclusive design for high myopia
Charlotte Dickinson, founder of Minus Eyewear, a new eyewear brand focused on frames for high minus prescriptions, on the drive to find styles for patients with high myopia
25 March 2023
What is Minus Eyewear and what led you to launch the company?I am an inclusive glasses designer creating frames for high minus prescriptions. Wearers are often told to buy small frame designs with thick sides and left with hardly any choice in glasses that they feel confident wearing. The glasses industry hasn’t quite caught up with the increasing rates of high myopia and we’re here to change that. The idea came about because I have a -9.50D prescription and got so fed up with styles that didn’t work.
What makes your eyewear unique? How are your frames designed to suit high minus prescriptions?
The collection has been designed around the structure of a thick, concave lens: considering its curves and really integrating these into the measurements and angles of the frame design. We’ve incorporated round lens shapes that aren't too wide. To balance this out to get a great fit, we’ve widened the temple lugs. Frame thickness at the side will cover up to a -10.00D lens so you don’t get the ‘iceberg effect’ [where the edge thickness extends excessively beyond the frame rim.] The lens groove placement has also been brought further to the front so less lens material is observable beyond the back rim of the frame. Wherever we can, we take excess material away, and don’t embellish or add weight.
What is the latest collection that you have released and why does it stand out from the crowd?
The launch collection is called ‘Power.’ We’re looking to empower spectacle wearers to feel confident and love their frames.
The collection is less about standing out, and more related to redesigning the most popular styles in an inclusive and optimised way. This is what makes them unique.
The glasses industry hasn’t quite caught up with the increasing rates of high myopia and we’re here to change that
What are the company’s main ambitions for the next 12 months and beyond?
We want to make the collection as accessible as possible, so growing our presence in optometry practices in the UK is top of the agenda. We know that’s where the best patient care happens and it makes sense in relation to taking client measurements.
We also want to expand the range. We’ve had a lot of requests for frames that are designed for over -10.00D so we want to get to work on those as soon as possible.
Beyond that, we’d love to develop a lens thickness simulator and bring in technology wherever we can to enhance the glasses shopping experience – but it’s one step at a time.
Since launch, we’ve seen how comforting it can be to connect high myopes with each other
What external factors is the company taking into account when planning for the future, and why?
Unfortunately, high myopia is increasing in prevalence and these spectacle wearers will need support, reassurance and information. Since launch, we’ve seen how comforting it can be to connect high myopes with each other – nurturing this and building it into the brand is a key goal in order to become a relevant voice that can help make an impact.
Are there any new products in development that we should be aware of?
We have very recently launched a set of glasses trays, including a glow in the dark version. We’re just trying to bring out products that high myopes would find useful and help them enjoy and embrace being a glasses wearer.
What eyewear trends do you have your eye on in 2023?
Diversity and inclusivity in fashion makes more headway every year. It’s great to see some eyewear brands bringing out data-driven collections with different sizes for different faces. Sustainability we hope will also remain a trend.
The Minus website includes a lot of information around eye health and particularly myopia. Could you tell us about the decision to include this context for spectacle wearers?
Advocating and educating parents and glasses wearers is a really important aspect to the brand. The content we’ve created so far aims to bring together some really useful information that we know high myopes are either searching for, or we hope would find useful. By just focusing on this topic, the information becomes more accessible and relevant. There is still a huge job to do to make sure patients with myopia understand how environmental factors can affect deteriorating eyesight and that it’s not all down to genetics.
Three facts about Minus
- We are the only brand in the world that’s decided to focus on frame designs that work with higher minus prescriptions. This still surprises us because it’s such a big issue
- We partnered with Charlie Ingham to design the launch collection. She’s previously designed for brands like Cubitts, Chloe, and Cutler & Gross
- Our acetate is Mazzucchelli, sourced from their sustainable M49 range.