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The NASA-approved Austrian eyewear brand: Silhouette

Silhouette is not your average trend-driven eyewear brand. The Austrian eyewear maker has been designing and producing innovative, technically brilliant eyewear since 1964.

Their iconic Titan Minimal Art (TMA) series weigh less than 2 grams each and was selected by NASA to be used by their astronauts in space. This not only due to its lightness and how it is devoid of hinge screws, but because of the unyielding reliability of its eyewear components.

Silhouette frames are also highly customisable—you can combine your choice of temple colour with any lens shape you can dream up of to create something truly unique. The same temple and bridge set was used to create over 18 different looks, as modelled in the video above.

For those who are not fans of the rimless look, Silhouette has come up with slim, full-framed alternatives that are just as light and comfortable. See: Urban NEO and Urban LITE (featured in the video below).

Since 1999, Silhouette has sold over 15 million pairs of frames and this number continues to grow. It might be difficult to understand its appeal without trying on a pair and experiencing it for yourself.

So make sure you do the next time you visit Kwong Shin! 🙂

By |April 10th, 2018|Brands of KS|0 Comments

Your eyes deserve close examination

Mention eye diseases and Cataracts are usually the first thing that comes to mind for most people. While it remains the most common cause of blindness in the world (SingHealth), cataracts are not a danger to eye health as its symptoms surface early and treatment via surgery is safe and effective.

However, the same cannot be said for these 3 under-explained major eye conditions that also lead to vision loss:


Glaucoma (Open-angle Glaucoma/Tunnel Vision) is a leading cause of irreversible blindness, accounting for 40% of blindness in Singapore and almost 15% of the estimated blind in the world (SingHealth). Dubbed the ‘silent thief of sight’, the danger of glaucoma lies in its lack of symptoms and potential to cause total blindness if left untreated. By the time a patient realises they are losing peripheral vision, the disease would have already reached an advanced state.

While glaucoma risk increases disproportionately with age, due to its strong genetic basis, those with a family history of glaucoma may develop the disease as early as from the age of 20. Glaucoma remains unpreventable and incurable for now but fortunately, its progression can be controlled with early diagnosis and treatment.

Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is another leading cause of blindness afflicting those over 50 years old. In Singapore, 1 in 4 persons aged 60 and above suffers from AMD (SingHealth) as cells in their macula break down with age. As a chronic irreversible medical condition with no proven preventive medication, early diagnosis is key to improving the effectiveness of treatment and keeping it under control. Unlike Glaucoma, AMD results in loss of vision in the centre of the visual field and can be detected with the help of an Amsler Grid.

Diabetic Retinopathy is the damage to the retina caused by diabetes over time. 80% of people with long-standing diabetes will develop diabetic retinopathy (Singapore Eye Research Institute, 2001). As symptoms do not surface in its early stages, early diagnosis and treatment is crucial to prevent permanent damage to the eye. Doctors will usually check the eyes of diabetics during their annual check-up, allowing this condition to be more well-monitored than the rest.

Go for an eye health examination
In a bid to raise awareness about the importance of regular eye screenings in helping to diagnose eye conditions and prevent vision loss, we will be offering $5 eye health examinations (U.P. $25) throughout the month of April.

Our optometrists will perform a detailed eye exam through a non-invasive OCT (Optical Coherence Tomography) scan that can detect eye conditions before any symptoms surface.

DATE & TIME: 2—30 April 2018, Mon to Fri, 10:30am—7:00pm
ADDRESS: Kwong Shin, 231 Bain Street, Bras Basah Complex, #01-43, S(180231)
PRICE: $5 per screening (approx. 15 mins)

For more information on the eye exam, please email us at contactus@kwongshinoptical.com or call us at +65 6338 6766.

For more information on the definition, prevention, symptoms and treatment of major eye diseases, please read this document provided by SingHealth.

By |March 29th, 2018|Education|0 Comments

Sight Test vs Eye Examination

What is the difference?

Sight tests refer to the process of having your prescription determined by an autorefractor alone. The autorefractor is a machine that estimates your prescription in a matter of seconds when you focus on an image (typically of a hot air balloon or house) at the end of a long road.

Credit: Bryce Wilner

While some may appreciate the efficiency of such a test, it is at most an approximation of refractive error, as the result may be influenced by factors such as eye muscle coordination, eye fixation and alignment, pupil size, corneal or lens irregularities, patient movement and attention, and instrument myopia—the result of the eye’s tendency to over-focus when looking through such a machine. (CAO, n.d.)

In short, automated sight tests should not be relied on solely in determining an individual’s prescription.

An eye examination on the other hand, is performed by an optometrist. He or she is responsible for your eye and vision health, on top of measuring your prescription. This includes tests to detect any asymptomatic eye and health conditions that may not be perceivable to the patient or visible to the naked eye—a process that is crucial to ensuring early detection and prevention of diseases.

Machines may still be used prior to a series of tests to determine your final prescription. However, optometrists are able to draw from their experience, training, as well as interaction with their patients to exercise judgment in deriving a prescription tailored to their individual needs. For example, an optometrist may decide to tune aspects of an elderly patient’s actual prescription when comfort instead of sharpness is their primary concern.

Eye examinations therefore are equivalent to a comprehensive check-up as opposed to a simple temperature reading that is a sight test. We recommend visiting the optometrist at least once every 2-3 years and annually as you get older to ensure optimal vision health and a peace of mind 🙂

By |March 8th, 2018|Education|0 Comments

Shape Of The Shades: Micro-Angular

I recently read about the term ‘micro-angular’ in the March issue of V Magazine, describing it as one of the eyewear trends of 2018. I love how it aptly describes all these edgy, divergent frames I have been seeing perched on the noses of Gigi Hadid, Leandra Medine, Chriselle Lim and the like all year!

Gigi Hadid’s second collection for Vogue Eyewear is all about the micro-angular trend. Credit: Vogue Eyewear

Also known as matrix shades, named after the 1999 sci-fi hit, The Matrix, it seems the aesthetic future the show dreamed up then has indeed arrived. We leave you with photos of our favourite looks (featuring a special guest at the end!) and you decide if it’s for you!

By |March 1st, 2018|In the news|0 Comments

Spectacle Lenses 101

If terms like ‘high-index’, ‘progressive’ and ‘multi-coat’ always puzzled you, you’re not alone! We’re here to breakdown the eyewear jargon and help you understand the basics of choosing a pair of prescription lenses.

Credit: Oliver Peoples


Plastic lenses are the norm nowadays as they are much lighter (than glass), less brittle and allow for the layering of special coatings (see Coating).


The index of your lenses refer to the thickness of it. Typically, the index is chosen based on your degree or type of frame you choose. As metal frames are slimmer than plastic frames, thicker lenses tend to look more obvious. So in this case, we would recommend opting for higher index lenses.


There are two main types of lenses: single vision or multifocal.

Single vision lenses correct one type of vision problem e.g. looking near or looking far.

Within the category of multifocals, there are bifocal, trifocal and progressive lenses. These lenses provide correct multiple fields of vision best explained in this graphic:

Credit: Pinterest

Single vision lenses are then enhanced by coatings based on the wearer’s lifestyle and needs (see below). Multifocal lenses, especially progressive lenses, similarly come in many variations with new features constantly being developed and released every year. Examples of improved features include wider field of vision, gentler graduations and most recently, lenses that minimise head movements typically required to find focus.


R&D in recent years has also given rise to a variety of lens enhancements. Some features are exclusive to certain brands while others are offered by multiple brands. The quality/durability of each feature varies according to the manufacturer and here at Kwong Shin, we usually make recommendations based on the feedback we receive from customers who have tried out the lenses themselves.

Starting with the terms that are more easily understood, these coatings are commonly found:

  • Anti-reflective
    a.k.a. multi-coated lenses that reduce reflection on the surface and increase light transmission
  • Scratch resistant
  • Water repellant
  • Smudge resistant
  • UV blocking
  • Dirt repellant
  • Impact resistant
  • Anti-fog
    a.k.a. lenses that are less likely to fog up when moving from a cooler to warmer environment

The following coatings are a little more complex and we have further elaborated:

  • Blue light filter
    a.k.a. lenses that neutralise blue light and reduce digital eye strain
  • Photochromic treatment
    a.k.a. lenses that change colour when exposed to sunlight to reduce glare and protect against UV rays
    Available variations:
    > Extra dark lenses that also change colour when the user is seated in the car, and remains slightly tinted indoors (grey)
    > Standard colours (grey, brown, green)
    > Special colours (amethyst, amber, emerald or sapphire)
  • Digital lens by ZEISS
    a.k.a. lenses designed for people in their 30s and 40s who are experiencing the first signs of presbyopia and require a pair of lenses that will ease them into progressive lenses
  • Office lens
    a.k.a. lenses specifically for near and mid distance reading and computer work
  • Myopia-stabilising
    a.k.a. lenses designed to slow down the rate of myopia progression among children
  • Post contact lens usage (EnergizeMe) by ZEISS
    a.k.a. lenses meant to help contact lens wearers relax tired eyes after a long day and prevent eye strain caused by digital devices
  • Driving lenses
    a.k.a. lenses designed to help drivers cope with difficult light conditions and provide a field of vision best suited for driving


And that’s it! We hope this helps you in making a more informed decision the next time you make a pair of glasses 🙂

By |February 7th, 2018|Brands of KS, Education|0 Comments

Eyewear trends in 2018

The first month of 2018 has gone by in a snap!

We speak with lady boss, Annie, about her opinion on the 5 eyewear trends that will be hot in the coming year.

1. Clear/Transparent 

“I don’t really know how the trend came about but transparent frames are trendy for some reason right now.”

From top: Matsuda, RayBan, Factory900, Yellows Plus, Giacoma Puccini

2. Round

“The vintage look is a thing now but I find modern round frames nicer than those in the past.”

From top: Kansaku, Yohji Yamamoto, Lunor, Masunaga, ODD

3. Slim Metal

From top: Viktor & Rolf, MYKITA, Oliver Peoples, PANROAD

4. Gold

From left: Tom Ford, RayBan, Acoustic Line, Lunor

5. Forest Green

“Personally, I have been liking the colour green of late. But it’s not for everyone.”

From left: theo, Yellows Plus, MOSCOT, Silhouette, MCM, Viktor & Rolf

And that’s the end of our—very concise—eyewear trend round-up for 2018! You can find all of the frames above in store if you’re looking to sport a brand new look this Chinese New Year 🙂

By |January 24th, 2018|AOB, Brands of KS|0 Comments

A new dawn for progXssive lenses

If you find yourself constantly tilting your head just to get a good focal point through your reading glasses, this will be news for you. French vision health pioneer, Essilor, has finally released its cutting edge Varilux X series progressive lenses in Singapore! These lenses are enhanced with clusters of vision nanooptix elements that can accommodate multiple gaze directions, enabling the wearer to switch between multiple near distances smoothly.

Touted as an innovation that ‘sets presbyopes free’, each pair of lenses is further customised through a simple test that captures the wearer’s unique reading behaviour, allowing them to navigate near and distance vision in the most natural way.

Launched last July in Europe, 95% of new wearers polled were satisfied with their glasses.

The Varilux X series lens with new XtendTM technology is now available exclusively at Kwong Shin before it launches islandwide in April.


By |January 18th, 2018|In the news|0 Comments

The most self-willed brand in the world: theo eyewear

As optical people (see: people who interact with glasses everyday), there are few frames in the world that we would call truly unique. If you have been looking through trays of glasses like my mum has for 30 years, you will tend to agree. So amidst the current era of “black”/”tortoiseshell”/”rectangular”/”round”/”plastic” frames, theo is truly a breath of fresh air (or helium) because look:

This photo alone is enough to showcase the vibrancy and individuality characteristic of theo frames. They have mastered the art of creating these wild-looking glasses that constantly redefine our expectations yet prove incredibly wearable at the same time. If you are thinking about how these seem to be made exclusively for extroverts, over the years we’ve found they can help lend more reserved individuals a subtle way of revealing their personalities…

We won’t bore you with an origins story, you can read all about Antwerp-based, family-run theo here, while popping balloons (volume up!) and fiddling with their nifty time machine. A gallery of their current collection + inspiration behind each model can also be found here.

If you like what you see, we are running a rare sale on past season theo frames, with 30-50% off selected models that have yet to find a face to frame. Otherwise, feel free to browse their new collection, now available in store!

By |January 17th, 2018|Brands of KS|0 Comments

Return of the glasses, starring Oprah Winfrey

Earlier this week at the Golden Globes’, Oprah Winfrey delivered a rousing speech that sent rumours of her presidential candidacy into overdrive. She was receiving the annual Cecile B. Demille Award for her “outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment”. If you have yet to catch up, you can read the full transcript here.

Credit: INSTARImages

The #MeToo movement she speaks of has also caught wind in Singapore, with everyday heroes coming forward to share their experiences. We will leave it to the publications to expound on the impact and significance of her speech but we all have Oprah to thank for delivering a powerful response to round out a season of courage.

Call us opportunistic but what we really want to discuss here is:

  1. The fact that she wore glasses to the Golden Globes’
  2. How well those glasses suited her

Her fans and keener observers however will know that Oprah always loved statement eyewear. Case in point: this lovely article on her website detailing her best pieces, and this one demonstrating her ability to match them with her outfits. As someone who wears contact lenses whenever I want to look ‘presentable’—which is basically every time I leave the house—glasses were always more functional than fashionable. Sure, I still make an effort to choose a nice pair of glasses. But thinking of prescription glasses as an accessory to dress up outfits? As something to wear confidently instead of hide behind? That’s both game-changing and inspiring.

Oprah was empowering in more ways than one for us and we hope you takeaway a little something as well!

N.B. The glasses Oprah wore to the Golden Globes’ are likely a bespoke pair from L.A. based luxury eyewear label, Luxuriator.

By |January 10th, 2018|In the news|0 Comments

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Hello there, welcome to the new *journal* page we carved out on the website!

The posts to follow are meant to inform/entertain/debate anything synonymous with eye care and glasses. This is part of our bid to become a bit more active digitally and we’d love to know which topics you want us to write about as well—drop us a comment below!

Happy New Year!


By |January 4th, 2018|AOB|0 Comments