Saturday, December 30, 2006

New glasses

Went to the optometrist today, and afterwards went in search of new frames. For those of you who have never worn glasses, you may have little or no idea of what a trial this can be. Forget what it's like to buy sunnies - you don't wear them all the time, and you've got few restrictions on them. And they're more forgiving than the frames that you wear all day every day that define your face and yourself. Imagine if you had to wear exactly the same clothes all day every day, weekday and weekend, not just a work uniform but a life uniform.

There seems to be little or no science to glasses frames. Fashion? Yes. Science? The game seems to be just try on this and this and that and this and that till something looks OK, with no real definition of OK except, "do you like it?" - that's all the optical dispensers seem to ask.

I've worn glasses since the age of 11, and over the years have had some horror frames. Some inflicted by my parents (the white cat's-eyes which were my first pair from the kids' range at OPSM just show how far kids' frames have come since those gruesome days) and some for which there is no excuse bar fashion or my own bad choices. And don't they date you in photos? Often to greater sniggering than hairstyles or clothes which time has consigned to ridicule. The large goggles of the 80s, for instance? There WAS no other choice then!

And now fashion has moved to narrow rectangles as THE fashion for spectacle frames. Hello? If you have to have multifocals, you need a certain distance from top to bottom of the frame, or the multifocal lens will have tiny useless fields. You don't need goggles, but you do need more than an inch. I guess it makes choosing frames easier, if 2/3 of the available frames are too narrow.

So you try on various personas with each frame - the Ikea designer (black, definitely a rectangle), the arty gal (Versace rectangles with blue/green colourings in the frame) and so on. Some make you actively recoil - that's not ME! while others make you wish it were you, maybe - but since these things sit on your face all day every day, you have to settle for a middle road. They're way too darn expensive to have a multiple pairs, like handbags or shoes. And you wonder quite why this small amount of plastic (and I'm only talking about the frame here, the lenses cost even more) will cost about the same as your first car did. And that's not paddling up the designer deep end.

Some pinch. Some tilt, and I always avoid those because they will never really sit flat and level, however often the dispenser heats and tweaks them. Dozens are just no and no and no until finally you find something that seems to work, won't scare the horses or give the spectacle makers more than one extremely fine holiday... and you know when they come back and you put them on your face, you're in for two to three weeks of sore ears while your head adjusts to wherever they hit to stay on.

This isn't a whinge so much as bemusement that all these years later, so little has changed, and it feels more like good luck than good management to find a reasonable frame. I went for a wire frame, dark in colour, with a slightly quirked rectangle. Maybe I'll photograph them when I get them back...


The Shopping Sherpa said...

Then there's the basic fact that without your glasses on you really can't see what the new frames look like.

A friend of mine went glasses shopping recently and dragged me (and my digital camera) along. She tried on the frames, got me to take pictures of her with them on, then looked at the results with her own glasses back on to decide which she liked most.

meggie said...

I identified totally with your post Rooruu.
I go through the same agonies!
And the Optometrists never seem to have helpful comment, or suggestions.

candyschultz said...

That whole post could have been me. I have never been able to wear contacts and have gone through everything you said. The worst is that you can't really tell what you look like until they put the lenses in and then it is too late. I resurrected an old pair the last time because I can't stand how I look in the little rectangle ones. Have lots of photos from the 80s with huge frames also. Happy New Year.

Carmel said...

Thanks for reminding me
(a) why I wear contacts
(b) and when I DO have to get new glasses, I only go through the agony only every 3 years!
And (c) why DH and I alternate years of getting each other getting new glasses!
And the sentence about pain behind the ears...that brought back a lot of memories!
I liked Shopping Sherpa's comment about taking a digital camera!