There’s too much choice in the lenses now

Published: 09th April 2013 07:19 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th April 2013 07:42 PM   |  A+A-

Any woman who is advised to wear prescription glasses first thinks of what it would mean for her appearance. After some time I relented in the hope that I would find myself a fancy frame that would be flattering. After struggling with pain behind the ears and on the nose bridge I learnt to live with my glasses. Soon I realised that I couldn’t do without it. I didn’t  agonise any more about the cosmetic aspects  because a life without glasses for me is tantamount to missing out on some of my favourite things like reading and staring out into the open. Now having worn glasses for over thirty odd years I have turned a blind eye to all such concerns.

I had gone to the optician to get my frame straightened after falling asleep with the glasses on while reading in bed. The service executive collected my glasses with a caveat. “We will do our best but please note that the lenses are also chipped and scratched.” Lenses chipped? How did that happen with plastic lenses? And how does one explain the scratches with scratch-resistant material? “Madam, any pressure can cause the lenses to chip. Besides they are only scratch resistant, not scratch-proof”, he clarified firmly. Wonder why these nuances are not explained when a sale was being made.

My mind raced back to the time when there was not much to choose from by way of lenses. There was the soda bottle (a jocular term for the thick lenses our grandparents wore after a cataract) or those with high negative power and there were the usual glass ones that people with plus numbers wore. When the light weight plastic lenses and photo chromatic lenses came it was hailed as something visionary.

In due course many young spectacle wearers graduated to bifocals. Back then it literally meant giving away your age and admitting you had hit the forties. Bifocals in the initial days were no fun especially while negotiating marble floors or while reading through the crescent moon area. Fortunately progressive lenses arrived and proved to be remarkably adaptable even while working on the computer.

Hark back to the present.

Once the bent frame was fixed the optician   tried to tempt me with the latest lenses that afforded 360 degree vision. I couldn’t believe this. I was tempted to ask if I would be able to see through the back of my head. Technically speaking there would be minimal aberrations, contrast enhancement  and a wider field of vision in all three zones — near, intermediate and distant. If you chose a smaller frame you could settle  for 140 degree vision and a 9.55 mm progression corridor. And there was one design that factored in your postural comfort. Wow!

I think the next time I need to go in for increased numbers I probably might have to go to the jewellers for more stunning visual effects. Things might come full circle — 360 degrees — in a manner of speaking.


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