- Vision & Eye Care
Prescription Glasses - Fashion and Functionality
Age is relative
Unfortunately, at some point in their lives, a large portion of society will be faced with the necessity of wearing glasses to improve their vision. Now-a-days we aren't content to merely wear prescription glasses, we need to have designer prescription glasses! Even sunglasses now have designer labels - nothing like when I was a youngster! Back then the only criteria was they had to be inexpensive! Especially when the wearer was only 10 years old, and prone to breaking things...
When I entered grade four, I discovered that I couldn't read the blackboard from my desk. At that time, (and this is dating me.) children were seated in alphabetical order, governed by their last names. As the letter 'L' is the twelfth letter in the alphabet, I was seated near the back of the room, and I liked it just fine.
However, with the discovery that I couldn't clearly see the work on the blackboard, a trip to the optometrist was scheduled. (Of course, the teacher couldn't move my seat closer without a valid reason...)
A fashion icon
Of course, in those days, fashion wasn't a strong suit when it came to eye-wear...and being that I wasn't an adult, I didn't have much of a say in the matter.
I can remember sitting in the optometrists office looking through the lenses as he flipped through the selection asking, "This one...or...this one?" To be honest, some of the choices were guesses...I couldn't tell which one was better.
Soon after, I was sporting a brand new 'pair of eyes'. What a difference! I remember looking at the trees and exclaiming that I could actually see the individual leaves, which to me was remarkable. Being able to see clearly was wonderful...until I looked in the mirror!
Where are your glasses?
There was, of course, a downside to being able to see well. I could no longer use the excuse of not seeing the blackboard for missing my lessons, and I now had to endure the constant nagging of my mother - "Where are your glasses?" There was no escape! I could no longer watch TV without hearing, "Put your glasses on!"
The optometrist told my mother that I had an Astigmatism, (which I called a Stigmatism) meaning that my cornea was more oval in shape than round, and caused the light to bend at an angle that produced clear vision for close viewing (myopia, or nearsightedness) and blurriness when I looked at distant objects.
This translated into "you need to wear your glasses" for every single thing I did! After all, I was a walking medical marvel now!
Haircuts and glasses are related...
Another thing my mother did when we found out I needed glasses, was to cut my hair. I couldn't have my bangs getting in the way of my eyes. Somehow or other, she was convinced that they would impair my vision even though I was wearing my glasses. So, for years, I sported a very short, practical 'do' with ridiculously short bangs. (Probably why I hated some of the hairstyles in the new millennium - I had already been forced to wear my bangs an inch above my eyes, and now stylists were trying to tell me it was fashionable...in a pig's ear!)
"Push your glasses up!"
One of the biggest problems glasses wearers have in common is the fact that they are always sliding down their noses. Personally, I think they look better half way down the bridge of my nose, as opposed to being crammed against my eye socket. Besides, my eyelashes always get caught against the lens, and it feels as if something is in my eye.
However, when I was still living at home, that wasn't a good enough excuse to allowing my glasses to perch on the end of my nose. "Push your glasses up," or "Stop looking over your glasses," were the phrases I heard regularly in our house. (I wasn't the only one who wore glasses...and even though our mother may not have been speaking to me, I did what she said to avoid being next in line.)
Things are different now
Now-a-days, fashion is a big part of eye-wear. You don't often see a person sporting a pair of granny glasses unless they really like granny glasses! Most often, you only see this frame on professors or in the movies. (If I'm not mistaken, Harry Potter, Professor McGonagall and Professor Dumbledore all sported the same frames.)
With the variety available now, it can be almost impossible to sift through the myriad frames in a few minutes. If you are anything like me, it's advisable to pack a lunch when shopping for a new pair!
Unless, of course, the store you are in has a very poor selection, it can take quite a while to try on all the different styles, (and not get confused) before you settle on the pair that's right for you. I have been known to go through every single rack (for women of course) and still not find a pair that really looked good. So...off to another store and a better selection.
I am reminded of Goldilocks and the Three Bears...the first one was too hot, the second one was too cold, but the third one was just right...except for the fact that you will probably have to try on more than three pairs before you find the 'just right' frames.
Gotta wear shades...
And of course, this article wouldn't be complete without touching on the more fashionable eye-wear available for the discerning and fashion conscious wearer.
Everywhere you look, you see at least one person, regardless of the weather, sporting a pair of shades. The rich and famous have elevated the lowly sunglasses from an object of necessity, to the iconic status of an indispensable fashion accessory.
Now, instead of owning a pair just to wear to keep the sun out of your eyes, it is the norm to have a pair for almost every outfit. (At least where women are concerned!) Nothing says 'cool' better than a great pair of shades.
Rich and famous
Ever since motion pictures and movie stars became an integral part of our lives, sunglasses were adopted for another use - to keep the wearer from being recognized. Now I really don't know how effective they are in that roll. If there was a movie star that was easily recognizable and he or she (I am speaking about some of the greats like John Wayne, Cary Grant, or Marilyn Munroe) thought that by wearing sunglasses they could walk the streets undetected - they were in for a surprise.
Even in this day and age, movie stars are spotted all the time, even though they still try and hide their features behind their 'designer' frames. After all, at some point, in one movie or another, we have seen them 'in disguise', wearing dark sunglasses, and are able to recognize them on the screen. I'm sure a vigilant observer could easily spot them out and about in a grocery store, hiding behind their dark glasses and reading the latest volume of People Magazine while standing in a check out line.
All that aside, the one thing that I'm sure we can agree on is that movie stars, rappers, musicians and bad boys alike, have all contributed to making glasses of all kinds, more acceptable today, than ever. (I have heard of people wearing plain glasses just to make them appear more scholarly, or as an accessory to their outfit!)
Which makes the rest of the population, the ones who actually need glasses to improve their vision, more widely acceptable, fashionable, and 'cooler' than ever before. And for me, I would like to stand up and thank the John Wayne's, Cary Grant's and Marilyn Munroe's of the world for helping to make us all into the 'beautiful people' we are today!
Now I think I'll go find my glasses, and watch some TV...