Having a large family means you need strategies, and that includes covering the family’s optical needs. All the children pay regular visits to the optician, of course, as do both of us. Ignoring the health of your eyes can have devastating consequences later in life, so the earlier check-ups become routine, the better.
It can get expensive, though, especially since the choice of frames is so important now for both kids and teenagers. As The Telegraph recently reported, even clear-glass spectacles now have the kind of cool factor that traditionally only sunglasses enjoyed. There’s even an annual Celebrity Spectacle Wearer of the Year, as The Guardian notes.
There’s a science to matching frames to face, as Cosmopolitan explained last year. Colour, contrast, proportion and face-shape all have to be taken into account, and I can’t simply settle for the cheapest — not if I want my children to speak to me again, at least.
And that’s just for one visit to the optician. The constant updating of optical prescriptions doesn’t slow down and stop in the way children stop growing out of their shoes every five minutes. Even the prescription for my reading glasses seems different every visit.
Getting Off the High Street
The digital marketplace has made it easier to buy everything from music to groceries, and glasses are no exception. Although the eye test has to be done in person, it’s now possible to buy glasses online — in effect, meaning only half the visits, since we don’t have to go back to collect them.
There are plenty of websites out there selling glasses, but our investigations have shown not all of them are what we need. Some are prohibitively expensive, while one or two we tried made a poor job with the lenses.
The best site we’ve found, which we’ve started using on a regular basis, is newlenses.co.uk. I’d had my heart set on an Italia Independent frame, but I couldn’t justify paying that much, so I was delighted to find it for under £100. The glazing was really simple to organise, despite the wide range of options, and the glasses I got back were exactly what I wanted.
New Lenses offer frames from over twenty manufacturers, from major designers to quality budget brands, but the best thing is that we don’t always have to choose. Their re-glazing service means that we can simply send off the old glasses with the new prescription, and we get back new glasses for a minimal cost. And that really is a major saving.
Getting affordable glasses online from New Lenses is just the kind of service that makes a difference when you have a larger family. Now, if I could just find an equivalent for children’s shoes…