I am Dr. Sylvia Jones, and I have been an optometrist (eye doctor) for over 12 years. In that time, I have observed one of the oddest phenomenon in healthcare and certainly in the retail world. Most people believe that all they need is one pair of eyeglasses. To suggest they need more than one pair is blasphemy or perceived as some sort of invasive sales technique. Maybe our culture has been conditioned by insurance coverage? “All I want is what my insurance covers and they only cover one pair every 2 years!” However, if I suggested to someone that all they needed was one pair of pants, one pair of shoes, one shirt, or even one pair of earrings they would look at me as though I had lost my mind, to continue by saying every 2 years you might consider locking me up. In our busy multifaceted lives we need different items for different situations. You don’t lift weights in your evening gown and you don’t go to a business meeting in your pajamas.
Below are the top 5 reasons you need multiple pairs of eyeglasses:
1. Risk of loss or misplacement: If I got a dollar every time a patient walked into my office with a pair of broken glasses in a panic, I would have a pretty hefty savings account. They are in a panic because these are the only pair of glasses that they own. They depend on these glasses to survive. They have to drive, they have to go to work, they have to perform their daily activities and they can’t see without their glasses. They are desperate to see and willing to pay extra if I can make their glasses in an hour. Let’s not bring children into the picture. In my world to only have one pair of eyeglasses for a child seems insane. They misplace, lose, and break everything. I am a mother of 3 and I know struggle they have with keeping up with anything. In most cases children who are prescribed eyeglasses really need them. They may have really poor vision or the eye care professional may be using the glasses for therapy to improve their visual ability. When they don’t have their eyeglasses for a week or two (the time it takes to replace eyeglasses with most insurances) they can experience headaches and struggle in the classroom which leads to them missing out on learning and sometimes falling behind academically. Having two or three pairs of updated eyeglasses allows for you to have continuously clear vision and decreased stress levels if one pair of your glasses are lost or broken.
2. Visual Need: As many patients get older, they experience a time in which they began to lose their ability to focus (start not to be able to see up close). During this time many patients find that they have different visual needs for far distance (driving/television), intermediate distance (computer), and near distance (looking at your phone/reading a book). Progressive lens (no-line bifocal) are often prescribed to assist with all the distances, however, many patients quickly realize that these lenses have their limitations. Progressive lenses are like a jack of all trades, specializing in nothing. Many patients with these lenses would also benefit from an additional pair of specialized eyeglasses. They may benefit from just having a distance only pair of polarized sunglasses if they drive everyday, a pair dedicated just for the computer with anti-glare
(cuts down on the glare from the screen) if they work on a computer 4 plus hours a day, or a pair of reading only glasses if they are an avid reader or spend a lot of time browsing on their smart phone.
3. Fashion: Our world is full of different color, shapes, and styles. Very few people wear the same outfit every day to every event. However, this is what many do with their eyeglasses. Wouldn’t it be nice to have stylish pair for a night out on the town? How about a more studious pair for that business meeting or interview. What about a fancy pair for worship service? It would seem to make sense to at least a black pair and a brown pair to stay in similar color families. It would great to have a few color to choose from and hot designer sunglasses are always a must!
4. Activities: We are a people on the move and during the day we go from activity to activity. Driving, working, playing sports, yard chores, or just relaxing all may be made easier with the right kind of eye wear. In planning for activities, it is important to choose the right type of eye wear. You may want goggles for contact sports, shields for winter sports, and impact resistant lenses for yard work.
5. The Importance of Sight: The quality of our vision has a direct impact on our quality of life. Many spend top dollar to upgrade their television set to the best HD, yet without glasses it’s just a blur. One of humans greatest fears is the fear of blindness. This a fear because we realize how much we need good vision to efficiently do all the things we have to do. Since we realize the importance of clear vision it only makes sense to have multiple pairs of glasses for various occasions.
As an eye doctor I would never dream of having just one pair of eyeglasses. I have a pair of prescription polarized sunglasses for driving during the day. I have glasses with anti-glare lens for driving at night. I have a pair of what I call “pajama glasses” (a large comfortable pair of light weight glasses) for laying around the house and watching TV. I have eyeglasses in various colors to coordinate with my outfits. I have various styles for when I want to be casual, fancy, or ultra-professional. Most vision insurances are in place to provide minimal assistance towards one pair of eyeglasses, but were never meant to provide for all your visual and fashion needs. Investing in multiple pairs of eyeglasses is a great investment, at least you will be able to “see” your returns.
Sylvia Jones, OD, MS
Divine Family Eyecare, Inc.