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New Perspective

Dave Barry, the humorist, wrote that he went to bed at age 39 with perfect eyesight and woke up at age 40 to find the world awash in microscopic font. That has happened to many of us. Our eye muscles sagged rapidly as we entered our fifth decade and suddenly we were squinting to read. First, you are in denial. Then, you annoy your husband by borrowing his glasses. Finally, you throw your arms in the air and run to the nearest drugstore to buy one, two and sometimes three pairs of reading glasses and leave them where you are likely to need them.

Just when you think you've found equilibrium, you realize that you are constantly taking off your glasses or wearing them at the tip of your nose to read the laptop and car dash. At that point you go to the eye doc and get progressives, refusing to acknowledge you need three lenses. Rather mysteriously, each year on the anniversary of your eye exam, your vision worsens. It's like your anatomy, neurology, and skeletal system collude against you.

True to that plot, I got a new prescription today and walked into a store with a substantial collection of frames. I picked one out and worked with the technician on the type of lens, coating and upgrades. Fifteen minutes later, he handed me an estimate that made me fall out of my chair. I left the store thinking my vision problem is run-of-the-mill and it's really not that much trouble to read my devices with the bottom of my current glasses.

In the evening, I googled "try on eye glasses" and got a host of sites that would take a picture of my face and put hundreds of frames on the image. I went to a site that my kids have told me about. When I clicked "Try On" it guided me through the picture-taking process with precise instructions on turning my head, tilting it up and down, and positioning within the dotted lines. It made me hold a credit card sized card on my forehead to judge the proportion of my face relative to a known object. It then thought for a while and produced a page of 30 images of my face with different frames! The choices were vast and more relevant compared to what I had seen in the store and it was awesome to consider them without a sales person hovering over me. In the end, the entire cost of the frame, progressive lens, coating, and shipping was 20% of the in-store price.

Fingers crossed that this will be a worthwhile experience because I need the ability to change glasses frequently while my eyes finish growing old and because...

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