On seeing eyeglasses

~ 21 July 2006 ~

So I’m bummed big time today. 30 glorious years with 20/20 vision have finally come to an end. I’ve never worn a pair of glasses. Ever. I’m off to shop for some tomorrow. Any tips on what to look for? (comments on)

BigA ~ 21 July 2006 at 09:15 AM

I too was 30 when I had to get a pair of glasses for the first time. The place I went to had a webcam setup that would take a shot of you with all the pairs of glasses you were interested in so that you could a clear idea of what you were going to look like. One mistake I made though was getting a glare resistant film applied to the lenses. It's supposed to help with monitor glare but instead it just seems to leave a greasy residue you can't ever get rid of.

Aden Albert ~ 21 July 2006 at 09:17 AM

As someone who's worn glasses since 1st grade, there are a couple things to look out for. (Of course, when my eyes went, they went bad, like -8 and -7.75 diopters. So take with a grain of salt.)

First thing you'll want is high refractive index lenses. They'll reduce wait and be more scratch-resistant than glass.

Second is a pair with that, more importantly than looking cool, cover the entire field of normal focus. Smaller for me is better, especially after the glasses I used to wear, but if the lenses are too small or too oddly shaped, they'll just cause more problems as your eye wanders in and out of corrective focus.

Third, the thick black glasses probably only look decent on that guy from Weezer.

Fourth, make sure they'll take a beating.

Finally, never ever ever set them down on the bed. Try to always set them down on tables. When you sit or step down and hear a sharp crack, there's a very unique feeling of panic that goes with being suddenly blind.

Good luck, and welcome to the fold!

Dale Cruse ~ 21 July 2006 at 09:19 AM

I've worn glasses full time since fifth grade. Don't skimp. Buy good lenses. Keep your glasses clean. Take care of your eyes. Make sure the fit and look is exactly what you want. Consider prescription sunglasses, but get a separate pair from your main glasses. Forego the clip-on sunglasses - and especially the kind that can flip up, unless you want Whitley to ask if you've been seen around the quad.

Aden Albert ~ 21 July 2006 at 09:22 AM

Ahem... "wait" should be "weight."

The perils of homophones...

Cameron Moll ~ 21 July 2006 at 09:43 AM

What about those ginormous sunglasses that you wear *over* your eyeglasses? I hear all the cool kids wear those.

J.D. ~ 21 July 2006 at 09:43 AM

Pretty good advice so far, but the big one for me anyway is to take the wife along to help pick them out. Women always have a better fashion sense on these things and your wife will honestly tell you if they look good or not.

Dale Cruse ~ 21 July 2006 at 09:51 AM

LOL Those huge sunglasses only looked good on Jackie O. Everyone else just looks silly.

J.D. is right - bring your wife or someone who has to look at you every day along for an opinion.

Jesse Bennett-Chamberlain ~ 21 July 2006 at 10:04 AM

Totally agree with BigA.... do not go with the glare resistant film! A little glare is much better than having glasses that are impossible to keep clean.

Man... I look forward to seeing your design WITH glasses!

Cameron Moll ~ 21 July 2006 at 10:33 AM

It'll worsen, Jesse, certainly not improve...

Cameron Moll ~ 21 July 2006 at 10:34 AM

Ouch, that sounds like a big hit to all glasses wearers! I meant to say that... er... um... nevermind.

dave ~ 21 July 2006 at 10:57 AM

Well, I guess I should feel lucky I made it to 34, before needed to get some. :-P

As a new wearer of eyeglasses (2+ mo), I was going to suggest getting the anti-glare film (I chose not to with my current pair and absolutely hate it!) I find the glare quite distracting.

I guess maybe the best thing would be if you could sample glasses with and without the anti-glare to see how they compare. I wish I had!

Good luck!

Blair ~ 21 July 2006 at 11:11 AM

I'll *strongly* echo the anti-anti-glare-coating sentiment. It makes glasses, quite literally, *impossible* to keep clean. Furthermore, having worn glasses pretty much my entire life, I've almost *never* had an instance where glare was a problem. If you're an actor or you pose for a great many photos, then, maybe. Otherwise, forget about it.

Anti-scratch coating on the other hand, it generally a good idea. I've never had a pair without.

Also, make sure you get spring-loaded temples (most are these days). What it means is you can pull the "arms" out, as well as fold them in. Makes them easier to put on, less likely to get bend out of shape, etc.

Regarding cleaning, skip the expensive cleaners, wipes, lint-free rags, etc., etc., etc. Get your hands on a cheap ultra-sonic cleaner, drop them in every morning, run it for 30 seconds or so, and wipe the lenses first, then the pads, frames, etc., with a fresh paper towel.

Finally, I'm going to contradict an earlier post regarding clip-ons. They've come a long way with these, so much so that they no longer "clip." Instead, they use really tiny magnets that hook over to the backside of the hinge. It's hard to describe, but check them out before you discount them.

kr15 ~ 21 July 2006 at 11:47 AM

My sage advice is to spare no expense. Get the glasses you like the best no matter what they cost. They are going on your FACE. All the time. It is worth it.

And spring loaded temples are the wackness. Just dont headbut anything while you are wearing your glasses.

Carl Peterson ~ 21 July 2006 at 12:39 PM

One word: titanium. Titanium is very light on the nose. I have chronic nerve pain that begins in the nose. I had some normal frames that were a bit heavy and made my nerve pain worse. I then got some titanium frames, and I can barely feel the glasses when they are on. Also, mine, at least, are very bendable, which for obvious reasons makes them harder to break.

And, like others have said, don't skimp. They will be on your face everyday.

Rob Weychert ~ 21 July 2006 at 01:36 PM

Welcome to the fold. I was only eight years old when I got my first pair, but I remember well feeling the despair you probably feel now. However, the first time corrective lenses fitting your prescription are placed in front of your eyes, you will experience the peculiar euphoria that comes with the understanding that you truly have been blind, and now you can see. It's a feeling worth having, even if it is attended by the hassle of having to wear glasses.

As for the glasses themselves, I switched back to plastic frames a little while back after nearly twenty years of wire rims, and I've been pleased with my decision. They're much easier to keep clean, which is a very important feature of anything that will be in contact with your face for prolonged periods of time. Cosmetically, they also have a much less understated presence, which I'm in favor of. If you're going to wear glasses, wear them proud.

Oh, and regarding those big ol' cataract sunglasses that fit over regular frames of all shapes and sizes? Ignore the haters. Join us.

Brad ~ 21 July 2006 at 03:28 PM

Sunglasses over glasses or sunglasses clips? No. Sounds like with your slight vision imparement, you should be fine with just regular sunglasses. Even better get some contacts to see in 20/20 shaded vision.

Grettir ~ 21 July 2006 at 04:10 PM

Infants are absolutely fascinated by glass, so If you have to hold one on a regular basis, spring-loaded hinges are a must. You'll be holding the kid in one arm and carrying on a conversation with someone when...THWACK!'ll receive a glancing blow on the side of the head. By the time you recover and realize that your glasses are gone, your son or daughter will be clutching one temple in each hand and be trying to rend your glasses in twain while shoving them into their mouth.

Spring-loaded hinges increase the odds of your glasses surviving the attack.

Also, your boys are going to want to "borrow" your glasses on occasion and when they set them down they will tend to do so lenses down...on the most abrasive surface in the room. So be sure to instruct them how to set your glasses down properly, with the temples closed and the lenses facing up.

optimuscrime ~ 22 July 2006 at 02:01 PM


What you need to do is bring a digital camera. Go to more than one store, and get shots of you wearing different glasses. Sort through and pick the ones you like best. Get feedback from friends and fam. Heck, post them up here and we'll all vote on them.

Also: I've had superlightweight rimless titanium ones and I've had clunky plastic frames. I like the latter better. My lightweight pair got too beaten up. I realized that I'm not easy on my specs, and more rugged ones are probably for me.

Caren ~ 22 July 2006 at 02:05 PM

Some people have suggested not getting the anti-glare lens, and I have no idea why'd they'd advise you in this direction. I absolutely without a doubt recommend them. Anti-glare means other people can see your eyes, no matter the lighting -- especially in photos! Plus, I can clean my glasses with a soft cloth and water from the tap. No cleaning solution required.

I've had glasses since 4th grade, and just recently got contacts, but I love my cute black plastic frames. Nosepads can become bothersome, and plastic is a whole lot more sturdy, especially if you're like me and lie on them all the time. Good luck picking out your first pair!

John Lampard ~ 23 July 2006 at 06:23 AM

Go for contacts. Better peripheral vision. No forgetting where you left your glasses. No risk of sitting on them and warping the frames. No risk of the kids hiding them somewhere, or using them as a toy! Keep ya cool shadz, no clip ons required with contacts.

John Cade ~ 23 July 2006 at 08:51 AM

Man...I'm right there with you. I had my first eye exam, ever, last Friday. I'm 21...and thought I escaped receiving those genes from my parents somehow. glasses are in the mail as we speak. I know how you feel.

John Cade ~ 23 July 2006 at 08:53 AM

By the way...I went with some Nike Flexon frames. They are very flexible...and very sharp looking.

Lode ~ 23 July 2006 at 10:57 AM

Another vote for contacts, for reasons mentioned above. At first it may take you a while to get them in and out, now it's just something I do while brushing my teeth.
Having monthlies keeps them affordable (as opposed to the somewhat more expensive disposable one-day kind), but eliminates the need for extensive cleaning procedures every month with half-year lenses.

Victoria Pavlova ~ 24 July 2006 at 02:22 AM

Another vote for titanium frames. Nice light feel when on, spring temples is a must. I've been wearing glasses since the age of 4 and my italian frame is the best thing I had in years.

Cameron Moll ~ 24 July 2006 at 08:35 AM

I believe my first experience shopping for eyeglasses was a successful one this past weekend. I should have them back within a week. Thanks for the advice, everyone.

Binh Tran ~ 24 July 2006 at 01:50 PM

1. Titanium frames -- huge help when you never wear glasses before. I assume your prescription will be lower than -3 so look at the Silhouette Titanium Minimal Art line. Those have the weight of a paper clip.

2. Nikon high-index lenses - not necessary to go above a Nikon IV if your prescription is below -4, but make sure you get the ICE coating - it makes cleaning a lot a lot easier. The Nikon lenses come with a 2 year warranty, and includes all the necessary coatings.

3. An alternative to Nikon is the Essilor Crizal line. Same hi-index, similar coatings but different warranty.

Have fun.