Friday, July 15, 2011

Back up glasses

Once a week Army daughter heads south on a two and a half hour drive to attend a class.  Last night was the night.  Just as she was getting off the freeway her eye started bothering her.  She felt like a speck of dust had gotten under her contact lens and was scratching her eye.  She closed her eye and drove with one eye open and one eye closed until she reached her destination as couple minutes later.  Once she parked her car she immediately took the contact out.  She didn't have her glasses with her.  She sat in class with one eye red and watering and the other eye trying to look at the board and read what the instructor was writing.  She wasn't very successful.  At the break she called home and told her husband what had happened. 
Son-in-law told me that he was going to take the drive and bring her her glasses.  He wanted to know if I'd watch the baby.  Of course, but wouldn't you prefer we get one of the older grandkids to come watch the baby and the two other grandkids and I go down there with him?  That way he could pick up his wife and I could drive her car back home. Oldest grandson wanted to come over for the night anyway.  No, son-in-law figured that would be too much trouble and besides that, Army daughter said that she just wanted her glasses and she'd drive her own car home.  Whatever you choose.  I'll be happy to not make the five hour round trip drive to pick her up at 10 and get home past midnight.  I'll stay home and go to bed.  Not a problem.  Really.
And that's exactly what transpired, sort of.  I went to bed.  He drove down and met her after class at 10.  Her eye was red so being the sweet husband that he is, decided that she shouldn't drive home.  I heard them come home a little after midnight but was happy to be in bed and not just coming home with them.  The problem with me staying home was they now have a car parked two and a half hours from home.  Instead of taking care of it yesterday evening, which I really would have been happy to help with, they are going to drive down tomorrow to pick the car up.  That's an extra five hours of driving for no reason at all. 
OK, so why do I care?  Army daughter wears contacts.   She has one pair glasses but prefers the contacts since she sees clearly with them.  She had more than one pair but one of their yip-yips decided to chew them up.  She never got any other backups because she prefers the contacts.  And she left that pair at home rather than as a backup in the car.  Will this experience compel her to purchase another pair or two and keep a pair in each vehicle?  I'm sure it won't.  What about sunglasses?  If she wears regular sun glasses because she uses contacts shouldn't she have a clip-on sunglasses just in case?
What about me?  How do I stack up?  I wear glasses although I don't wear them all the time...the joke is I only wear them when I want to see.  I wear prescription sunglasses when I'm driving during the day.  I don't normally wear my regular glasses and probably wear the sunglasses ten times as often as the regular pair.  Of course, when driving at night I use my regular glasses.  I do not wear contacts.  I don't own any.  How many pairs of glasses do I own?  Lots.  Well, each year I get a new pair of glasses, either regular or sun.  Every few years I get one pair of each at the same time.  Now I do have my up to date, bought this year pair of sunglasses that I keep in my truck (either the work truck or the family truck) and if they are in the opposite truck that I'm getting into it's just routine to take them out of the other vehicle.  After all, if it's daytime they are going on my head. 
What about backup?  I have a pair of sunglasses and regular glasses in the glove box of each truck.  I have a pair of regular glasses and sun glasses in my bug out bag and in my two week bag in the work truck.  This means I have five pairs of glasses.  A little overkill sure, but even if I break a pair I won't need someone to drive five hours round trip just to bring me another pair.  How well can you see?


  1. Having backup glasses is really important, for those who depend on them. I found this out last year when my one functional pair broke, and I had to spend three days without them. It took me that long to find someplace to repair the frame. (Didn't have the $300+ to buy a new pair, since I do not have vision care insurance)

    I have recently ordered glasses from two different online suppliers and been astonishingly happy with the results and the low cost. Prescription sunglasses - $25, prescription polycarbonate safety/shooting glasses - $30, prescription bifocals+magnetic clipon sunglasses - $38.

    At those kind of prices, getting back-up glasses is affordable, and the quality is just as good as the ones that I have purchased from a local store. It took between two and three weeks from when I placed the order to when the glasses arrived on my doorstep. I'd be happy to share further details, should anyone want to know.

    If'n times get wierd, I surely do not know anyone who is a lensgrinder, so this is a straightforward item to have as backstock; after all, if I am alive, being able to see is pretty important...

  2. Alison, let us know which companies you've used.

  3. We usually use a local eye doctor that is a friend. Lately we tried Coastal Contact, an online company. Within the family we've received 5 pairs. All have been happy. The one minor complaint is for my multi-focal glasses. (More than just bifocal.) I can't read with the new glassed, but otherwise they are good.

    My wife waits for the "free" deals. Free glasses for the cost of shipping, $15. Not all of their glasses apply, but there are enough styles to choose to make anyone happy.

  4. My initial order was from Zenni Optical, I ordered the sunglasses and the polycarbonate safety/shooting glasses from them (both single vision), and my glasses arrived about two and a half weeks later. The package arrived in perfect shape, they fit well, and the only issue I had was that one of the plastic cases was too small for the glasses - I called their 800 number and they quickly sent me a larger case.

    I ordered the bifocals from EyeBuyDirect, and was just as happy with the glasses, they arrived even sooner, and the included case is quite sturdy with a tiny magnetic catch. The "clip-on" sunshades also attach with tiny magnets, and while they are not quite as dark as the dedicated sunglasses, they work well.

    In addition, since I initially looked on the EyeBuyDirect site, found some frames I liked, but was still waiting to receive the first glasses ordered from Zenni, I clicked on the option to "save my favorites"... they did ask me to register (name + email), and then sent me an online code for 15% off my next purchase. Since I maintain a separate email for things like that, I am not worried about getting eyeglasses spam, and the discount code basically covered the cost of shipping.

    One important thing as far as I can tell is to have both a current prescription, and (very important) to have whoever you get the prescription from write down for you what your "pupillary distance" is... That measurement is the exact distance between the centers of your pupils, and is necessary for the glasses to feel right when you look through them. I had my eye exam at Costco (lower cost than many places) and they were completely willing to give me that information, even though it is not usually included.

    The other thing that I was careful about was to measure my old pair of well-fitting glasses, and check the various measurements against the different frames that caught my eye. Since I have a rather wide head, I found that I needed to purchase "men's" frames to get a good fit. Obviously, everyone has different measurements, so YMMV.

    My observation is that various styles of frames show up and get sold out, so if there is a particular style that pleases you, do not wait too long. I did that, had bookmarked several appropriate frame styles, and they were no longer available when I finally decided to go ahead with this experiment.

    I hope my comments and experiences will be an encouragement to folks