I recently purchased a new pair of reading eyeglasses from an on-line retailer. They were rather expensive; as in, more expensive than, y'know, buying a pair for eight or ten bucks at Wal-Mart. Quite a bit more expensive than that.
My "prescription" for eyeglasses, which I generally only need for reading or close-up work, is simply for basic magnifying lenses, or "reading glasses," 1.75 diopters. When I had my eyes examined several months ago, the insurance covered eyeglasses up to such-and-such an amount, so I purchased a pair at that time from the opthamologist's office. Or was it an optometrist? I don't know. It was a lady eye doctor, and she's very pretty.
But I digress.
The shop didn't have a frame style I really liked, so I settled for one that was acceptable. I mean, they're reading glasses. Since the insurance was covering them, I got 'em. Otherwise, I woulda gone to Wal-Mart or Longs Drug Store.
I previously had a couple of pairs of reading glasses I got via eBay from a company in England. I really liked their tinted reading glasses, designed to cut the glare from computer screens. Sadly, that seller is no longer an eBay member, and an internet search indicates the company has folded. The eyeglasses I have from them are 1.25 diopter, which is usually adequate for computer work, but the plastic lenses are scratched and cracked, to the point where they're getting difficult to use.
I began looking on-line for the frame style I really wanted -- round. Yes, "granny glasses," like John Lennon wore. Curiously, while there is a "John Lennon" line of eyeglass frames, none of the frames in the "Lennon Collection" are perfectly round.
Round frames turn up on eBay regularly, but buying frames would require taking them to an optician to have lenses made. Also, getting the correct fit from eBay glasses might be problematic. I have something of a fat head, you see.
I'm detecting a decided lack of surprise among you, my dear readers. Don't think I didn't notice!
Anyway, I invested, or wasted, a lot of time looking at on-line eyeglass sites, trying to find frames I liked, and trying to figure out what all the sizing measurements mean (the advice I got at the optom... er, opthamolo... at the cute lady eye doctor's office when I asked about sizing was, "try them on, see what fits").
I finally found a retailer selling nifty frames I liked. The price with or without basic reading lenses was the same. Of course, the price was... a bit more than plastic glasses as Wal-Mart.
I mulled over the idea of purchasing "expensive" reading glasses for several weeks. After all, my optometrist (or whatever) glasses worked well enough. Then one day I forgot to take my reading glasses to work. Fortunately I had a bent pair of my old, scratched, cracked tinted glasses stashed in the car, so I made it through the day, but I used this incident to justify the need for a second pair of decent reading glasses, and when I got home I ordered a pair.
As if they weren't expensive enough, I chose to "upgrade" to the thinner, lighter "polycarbonate" lenses, which I suspected might be just an overhyped, overpriced plastic. My current glasses, and pretty much all eyeglasses anymore, have plastic lenses, but they're pretty thick, so I thought I'd give the polycarbonate lenses a try.
It took a few days more than two weeks for the new reading glasses to arrive. The company claims they custom manufacture the lenses. I'm sure they do, or rather, that their outsourcing company in China does. But they kept me apprised via email of the order receipt, estimated shipping date, and actual shipping date (with a parcel tracking number).
When they arrived, I opened up the box, snapped open the plastic hard case, unwrapped the gold-colored wire framed round eyeglasses, and thought, "you paid how much for a pair of reading glasses you could have snagged off a spinner rack at Wal-Mart?!"</i>
Then I put them on, and I could actually see.
The round lenses are big, which means the eyeglasses fit my fat head, and the lens surface is wider than my eye, so I don't notice or have to compensate for the rim of the lens, as I do with my other glasses. The polycarb lenses are appreciably thinner, to the point where it's as though they are not there! With my other glasses, I'm somewhat aware that I'm looking through something, due to the thickness of the plastic lens. This is not an issue with the new glasses. The new glasses are comfortable, at least compared to my other glasses, being lighter in weight due both to the thinner lenses and the less bulky wire frame. The earpieces fit securely without being too tight.
Finally, they look kind of cool, in an anachronistic sort of way. They'd not be to everyone's taste, I'm sure, but I rather like the vintage style.
In short, I like my new eyeglasses. To the point, indeed, where I am seriously considering purchasing another set (or two), in case the company disappears, as on-line specialty retailers, along with large financial institutions, are wont to do.
This concludes my geezerly rambling for the evening. Next time, I shall address matters more current, trendy, hip, and youth-oriented than reading glasses, by detailing my thus-far unsuccessful attempts at riding a RipStik Caster Board. (For the moment, suffice to say that at least I have not yet fallen and broken my hip! )