Marchon Royale Reading Glasses

Well, the time has finally come. All my grandparents had them, both my parents have had them my entire lives, all my uncles and aunts have them as well. A whopping $386 later, I’ve now experienced my first eye exam and ordered my first pair of prescription single vision reading glasses with scratch-proof and glare-resistant lenses and designer frames. Part of me feels thrilled–wearing my hair in a ponytail will now look much more interesting (shocking, how the glasses change my face and profile when my hair is back) and I’ve always had a thing for the “smart look” that glasses can lend.

My new frames…

But the other part of me feels baffled–why on earth did I have to pay $169 (plus 6.75% tax) when the same frames are available online for $80? Why don’t all lenses come ready-made with scratch-proof technology? As a newbie to the world of eyeglasses, I didn’t feel I had the know-how to figure out my size and order the frames accurately online, although I was moderately aware that thousands of people shop for glasses in this way. But bridge length? Vertical and horizontal lens lengths? Stem length? WTF. Add to that the fact that I leave in a week for more book tour, the fact that I hate dealing with returns and refunds related to online sales and, well, I guess I kind of trusted what I was told and signed off on the whole deal.

In some regards, buying for the first time from a professional doc in a personalized setting feels smart. If I’d been shopping online, I would not have opted for the extra $109 I paid for scratch-proof and glare-resistant lenses, but having spoken to the sales rep at the doctor’s office, I now know that such a feature is damn near required, especially for reading on a computer. It’s also interesting to know now that I have a slight stigmatism in each eye. Apparently if you have this, you’re usually born with it…but it’s never been an issue for me until now, as other parts of my eye aren’t as top-notch as they used to be. On the other hand, is it possible that I could only need standard, non-prescription reading glasses that I could have gotten for $20 at (gasp!) Walmart? I like to believe that my eye doctor, in our small town and whose daughter I happened to teach many years ago, absolutely would have told me if that was the case. However, my visual acuity has not changed. I still have the ability to see things clearly. But my malleability has changed and I’m not able to adjust to near and far distances as quickly as I once was. The eye doc says that is partly due to aging and partly due to the fact that I’m spending 6-10 hours a day reading newspapers, books, printed pages, and on the screen…effectively never allowing my lens to rest and the supporting muscles to shift or vary their uses.

The jury’s still out as my fancy-pants glasses are being made and my fingers are crossed that the rush order will get them to me before my flight. But if after wearing them for a week or two, if I don’t feel a difference, I’m going to make a stink. A polite stink, but an informed and I’m-on-a-freaking-budget-here, people, stink. One thing certainly rings true from my first experience: The doc says it’s quite possible my eyes are not relaxing during the daytime at all. Based on what I’m asking of them, I’m going hours and hours and hours and they’re not getting a break and that’s taxing everything. The reading glasses, she says, will allow my eyes to relax during the activity I engage in the most. This should not only improve my reading experience, but everything else (even without the glasses) as well. Here’s hoping!

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