Chinese Language Blog

Getting Glasses in Chinese Posted by on Nov 6, 2017 in Vocabulary

Glasses by Michael Chen from is licensed under CC BY 2.0

My first trip to China was more than a decade ago. I didn’t know much about China back then, and I wasn’t sure what to expect. So before leaving I’ve packed myself properly: I purchased a good pair of walking shoes, a new camera and a pair of expensive sunglasses. I’m short-sighted, so I bought optical sunglasses with the best thin lenses and great protection. I chose wide frame and I looked cool. But less than a month after, I lost my expansive sunglasses to the Chinese grove thicket, while riding the cable car over the Western Hills in Kunming. The next vocabulary became handy right after while buying new glasses.

视力(shìlì) is a noun, meaning ‛sight’ or ‛vision’. 有的人视力很好(yǒu de rén shìlì hěn hǎo) some people have good eyesight. Unfortunately, some don’t see clearly 看不清楚 (kàn bù qīngchǔ). For example:


Méiyǒu yǎnjìng tā kàn bù qīng dōngxī.

Without glasses he sees things blurry.


Wǒ de yǎnjing kàn bù qīngchǔ yuǎn chǔ de dōngxī.

I don’t see far objects clearly.

有的人视力不好 (yǒu de rén shìlì bù hǎo) some people have bad eyesight, and they go to an eye doctor or an optician for vision test 视力检查 (shìlì jiǎnchá). The patient’s visual acuity is measured by identifying symbols from a chart hung at a standardized distance from the person whose vision being tested. There are different eye charts 视力表 (shìlì biǎo) in use. One of the famous ophthalmological charts contains rows of the letter “E” in various kinds of rotation. It’s called the E chart – E字视力表 (E zì shìlì biǎo).

The patient’s vision is tested one eye at the time. During the 视力检查 the doctor asks the patient to close one eye 闭上一只眼睛 (bì shàng yī zhī yǎnjing), and then the other. If the doctor uses his trail frame then he covers one of the patient’s eyes蒙起一只眼睛 (méng qǐ yī zhī yǎnjing), and then the other.


Wèi le liǎojiě měi yī zhī yǎnjing zhēnshí shìlì, bìxū yīgè yīgè de jiǎnchá cái xíng.

To properly estimate the vision of every eye, it must be examined one by one.


Wǒmen xiān jiǎnchá zuǒ yǎn de shìlì, nǐ xiān bǎ zuǒ yǎn méng qǐle ba.

We will first check the left eye vision, please cover the left eye.

Watch this episode of Peppa Pig taking a sight test in Chinese:

The 验光 (yànguāng) is a more profound examination. The 验光is an optometry check, and it’s not using chart, but electronic devices. The 验光 checks whether the patient suffers from myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism, or other eye refractive problems.

More than 40 percent of Chinese primary school children are wearing spectacles (according to a study published at The Telegraph in 2011). The pronunciation of the word ‛glasses’ 眼镜 (yǎnjìng) is very similar to the pronunciation of the word ‛eyes’ 眼睛 (yǎnjing). The only difference is the tone of the second syllable. It’s easier to distinguish between the two written characters: 睛for eyes means ‛eyeball’; 镜for glasses means ‛lens’ or ‛mirror’.

The verb to use with glasses is 戴 (dài). 戴 means ‛to wear’, and it specific to glasses. The Chinese language has another verb meaning to wear – 穿 (chuān). 穿 is for clothes, shoes and jewelry; 穿衣服 (chuān yīfú) means to wear clothes, 穿鞋子 (chuān xiézi) means to put on shoes. While 戴 is the verb to use for wearing glasses and small ornaments. For example:


Dàifu gěi wǒ zuòle shìlì jiǎnchá, tā shuō wǒ xūyào dài yǎnjìng.

The doctor checked my vision, he said I need glasses.


Wǒ xǐhuān dài mòjìng.

I like wearing sunglasses.

The Chinese language uses measure words to count nouns and actions. Every noun has its specific measure word. 双 (shuāng), for example, is the measure word for pairs; 张 (zhāng) is for flat objects; 瓶 (píng) for bottles; etc. The measure word of glasses is 副 (fù).


Yī fù yǎnjìng

A pair of glasses


zhè fù yănjìng duōshăo qián?

How much for these glasses?


Wǒ xiǎng pèi yī fù xīn yǎnjìng.

I want to get a new pair of glasses.

The second verb in the sentence above is 配 (pèi). 配 means ‛to match’ or ‛to fit’, and according to the context it can include the all process of getting a pair of new glasses. If you 看不清楚 you go to the optometrist for a 视力检查. If your 视力不好and you should 戴prescription glasses, then it’s time to buy a new pair of 眼镜 – the proper lens and the frame that fits you. All this procedure called 配镜.


Pèi jìng fēn wéi yànguāng, tiāoxuǎn jìngpiàn, tiāoxuǎn jìng jià.

The procedure of getting glasses is divided to optometry check, lens choosing and frame choosing.


Pèi bù hǎo yǎnjìng gèng shāng yǎn.

Getting glasses that aren’t properly fit could hurt your eyes more.


Pèi yǎnjìng zhīqián xūyào jiǎnchá yīxià shìlì.

Before matching glasses it necessary to take an eye test.


Měi cì pèi jìng qián dōu yào chóngxīn yànguāng.

Every time before getting new glasses you should re-take the optometry check.

Nowadays glasses are fashionable and comfortable, but they are still medically necessary, and sometimes can be irritating. Watch this video about 9 annoying thins only glasses wearers experience:

Text vocabulary

视力shìlì = sight, vision

视力检查 shìlì jiǎnchá = vision test

视力表 shìlì biǎo = eye chart

眼睛 yǎnjing = eye, eyes

只zhī = measure word for eyes

验光 yànguāng = optometry check

眼镜 yǎnjìng = glasses, spectacles

副fù = measure word for glasses

戴 dài = to wear glasses

墨镜mòjìng = sunglasses

配镜pèi jìng = to get glasses



Keep learning Chinese with us!

Build vocabulary, practice pronunciation, and more with Transparent Language Online. Available anytime, anywhere, on any device.

Try it Free Find it at your Library
Share this:
Pin it


  1. Jambalaya:

    Just be careful in mentioning popular names such as Ray-Ban and Persol because they have a different meaning in Chinese. Please refer to this video: Chinese language is amazing and interesting.

    • Ayana:

      @Jambalaya Thanks for sharing the video! I agree – the Chinese language is indeed interesting 🙂

Leave a comment: