When you have a pair of glasses you like, why can’t you keep them? The optical-industrial complex has a say in the matter. Frame styles change so swiftly that getting a new pair of glasses means finding a new you. Glasses are treated as fashions like clothing even though one’s unified face theory should be more impervious to change than what you get from a new pair of slacks or a new pair of shoes. You are what you wear, but even more so you are what glasses you wear, at least for those of us who don’t wear contacts.
This year, though still primarily horizontal, frame styles emphasize depth over width. The new technology of “progressive” lenses – bifocals that meld the distance and the reading halves of the lens – requires more leeway in the vertical than ever. But I don’t care about bifocals. I want smaller, flatter openings in my frames, mainly to avoid the Coke-bottle lenses that would otherwise be the fate of my nearsighted peepers.
Besides, I’ve come to like the look. So I’ve given up on new frames and want to have new lenses popped into my old frames. But no can do! So says the optician I patronize. Leave your glasses with us for a week while we sculpt the new lenses into the old frames – or get a whole new pair of frames for them to transplant your new lenses into while you wear your old frames.
Huh? Can’t they just measure my old frames’ openings and let me wear my old frames while they sculpt the new lenses to fit into those measurements? Don’t opticians work in micro-millimeters? Isn’t this child’s play for them? Almost as easy as Lasik surgery? Not so, say my guys. So I am looking around for an optician who will buck the system. And now I hear that Walmart will let me wear my old glasses until they are ready to swap in the new lenses.
What do other opticians say? It seems odd that mega-corporate Big Box chain opticians can help customers dodge the planned obsolescence fashion mandates of the optical-industrial complex better than the smaller operators. Tell me it ain’t so!