Last year I turned 40. Within three months, I went from having perfect vision to wearing reading glasses.
I confess, between loving accessories and being a geek, I was inwardly excited to gain four-eye status at last. I found a pair of black and green glasses that weren't too big for my face, and fit my style well. I mostly wore them at work. On other days, I didn't tend to read enough that some minor blurring on my iPhone was problematic.
However, I started having headaches at work by November. The constant on/off and looking up and down from my computer was putting a strain on my eyes. The optician recommended office glasses - like varifocals, but with more space devoted to the reading part rather than the distance part. Since I was about to start maternity leave and doubted how much time I would need to wear them for reading, I decided that I would wait.
What I had not considered was that taking glasses on and off all day with a curious toddler and a grabby baby is far from ideal. I read enough that I increasingly need them, but it's impractical to keep changing them when my hands are busy with Junior and Juniorette. I don't like to wear them on top of my head (it stretches them out), and using a chain around my neck is just asking for trouble. And I've noticed that my distance vision is starting to suffer as well.
So, it's varifocal time. I was sad to learn, though, that my current glasses are not suitable for varifocals since they do not have enough lens area. My latest obsession, therefore, is online glasses shopping.
I had heard of selectspecs.co.uk from mammatwo.com. Their bargain glasses start at £6 (six pounds!) so even if you're unsure about ordering glasses online, there is little financial risk involved depending on the style you choose. I have not ordered any just yet, but I have a tab open in my web browser so that I can keep going back to it.
Next, I went to glassesdirect.co.uk. S has ordered two pairs from them and they are good quality and value, especially since his prescription tends to be expensive. They offer a free home trial, and I was keen to try some different styles before committing to any new frames.
Likewise, I was thrilled to find cubitts.co.uk. Not only do they offer free home trials, but their look/feel is retro-hipster-tastic. Their frames come in four colours, so I ordered four styles in each of the colours. Ordering a home trial is easy, and cubitts uses collectplus.co.uk for shipping and returns, so you get delivery and returns information by email.
My box from Cubitts was beautifully presented:
The frames have the styles printed onto the arms so you know which ones you are trying. I ordered the Woburn, Marchmont, Wicklow, and Calthorpe frames in amber, dark turtle, light turtle, and black, respectively.
top to bottom, left to right: Woburn, Marchmont, Wicklow, Calthorpe
Sadly, I'm not retro-hipster-tastic enough to pull them off. The Marchmonts made me look like Harry Potter, and the others were just too big. The Woburns were the best, but I didn't like the colour - I think I'd have to have black frames.
My home trial box from Glasses Direct was far less fancy:
But the glasses were more interesting. I chose Scout Marilyn in purple, London Retro Eliza in black, Prague in red, and Mojito Neon in blue.
top to bottom, left to right: Marilyn, Eliza, Prague, Mojito
I liked the Marilyn and Eliza frames best. Too bad the Eliza doesn't come in colours other than black or tortoise; I'd love a brighter, bling-ier pair. The Marilyn frames were fine, but I think I can do better. The Prague and Mojito frames were too narrow - similar size to my current ones - so I'm wary of making them into varifocals now that I have been cautioned against that.
So for now I have returned all eight frames and I am going to order another home trial from Glasses Direct. In the meantime, I am still wearing my reading glasses and taking them on and off. Stay tuned for the continuing story...
Note: I was not asked to review any of these sites, but since at least one other blogger is currently contemplating varifocals, I thought I'd share my experience so far.