Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Four-Eyed Club

I first knew I needed glasses in second grade. At the beginning of the school year, the entire student population tromped down to the dimly lit basement for the annual vision screening. We lined up at one end of the room. On the far side was a nice mom sitting next to a line of letters being projected onto the wall. Each child was to read the line of letters to another nice mom waiting with a clipboard and pencil to record our success (or lack thereof).

It didn't take me long to figure out that I could not even begin to read the letters on the far wall. I knew where they were, thanks to the lighting. But beyond that, I could only see a slightly darker area in the middle of the lighted space.

It also didn't take me long, however, to figure out that every person in front of me was saying the same set of letters. The list never changed. So I listened carefully to my classmates...and memorized the letters. When it was my turn, I rattled them off just like everyone else. I received a nice smile from the nice mom, and headed back to class with no red mark by my name.

And that's how I cheated on the eye exam when I was seven years old.

My mom first knew I needed glasses about a year later. I was sitting at the dining room table when she asked me what time it was. The nearest clock was on the microwave in the kitchen. No way could I read that. Sigh. Mom found me out I couldn't see and took me to the eye doctor.

A boy in my class had gotten glasses maybe a month or so before this. When he first wore them to school, my teacher made a big deal about him joining the Four-Eyed Club. I decided it would be okay for me to get glasses because then I would get to be a member of the four-eyed club, too.

I went to my appointment, selected my frames, waited seemingly forever for the glasses to come, then excitedly wore them to school. And no one said anything. No question. No comment. And, tragically, no four-eyed club. So I never wore them to school again.

Until sixth grade. In March of 1997, my family moved from Logan to Marysville, WA. My mom pointed out that no one in Washington knew me yet, so I could wear my glasses and no one would think it was weird that I suddenly had glasses. I was old enough (11) to see the logic in this, so I determined that would in fact become a full-blown glasses-wearer. I had the glasses all ready to go on the bathroom counter so I wouldn't forget them on my first day of school in Washington.

I forgot them.

My homeroom teacher asked a girl in my class to show me around during the day so I would know where everything was. I don't remember much about her, but I'm sure she thought I was a little weird. Because on the second day of school, I did wear my glasses. She asked if I had been wearing them the day before. I said, "Yes, of course! I always wear my glasses."

And there you have it--I was a liar and a cheat in elementary school.

On the upside, I have faithfully worn my glasses ever since that second day in my new school. I think I actually had that same pair of glasses all the way until high school.

My current pair of glasses was purchased in 2004. My old glasses had broken--the frame snapped right in the middle above the left lens. I spent almost $400 at Standard Optical in Logan to buy a new pair. Then I drove to Salt Lake (if I didn't move my head, I could balance the lens on the broken frame so I could see to drive) because I couldn't read to do my work. My dad told me about a glasses repair shop. I paid $40 and they soldered the frame back together like they had never been broken.

Good thing I'd already spent $400.

Anyway. My $400 glasses have served me well for the last five years. During those five years, though, life has changed somewhat. Most notably in the fact that I am married and have two small children. And when you have two small children, your glasses might just end up looking how mine did a few days ago...

I took this picture with my cell phone and the lights were off...hopefully you can see either the dark one or the one with inverted colors...

I managed to gently bend them back into a mostly-wearable position. They sit kind of crooked on my face and one side rubs uncomfortably on my ear, but at least I can see.

And now to the point of my story:
I need new glasses.

My experience at Standard Optical was rather unpleasant. The entire visit was one giant sales pitch. I went in to buy glasses. That's all I wanted. The doctor spent the first half of the appointment trying to convince me to buy contacts--not interested. Once I had finally gotten that point across, he spent the rest of the appointment trying to convince me to pay for LASIK--again, not interested. Actually, that was kind of a weird suggestion from him. He wouldn't have done the LASIK, so he wouldn't have earned any money from me for that anyway. And, I can't/shouldn't get LASIK (if I ever do) until I'm done having kids--did you know that eyesight commonly changes during pregnancy?

Besides the sales pitches from the doctor himself, the assistant fitting me for frames asked if I wanted a credit card. Who goes to buy glasses and gets a credit card, too!?

I don't want to go to Standard Optical again. They do make quality glasses, but the experience was annoying enough that I would rather not go there again. And they are kind of expensive. We don't have any vision insurance, so I will have to pay the entire cost out of pocket. I'm willing to go down to Salt Lake to find a cheaper place that will sell me good glasses...and nothing else.

Any suggestions on where to buy glasses?


Shantel said...

I have gotten mine at Sams Club before and if I recall correctly you don't have to have a membership to purchase eye wear (however that may be wrong or may have changed). Along those lines, if you don't have a membership, you can get a collegiate one for $25 ($40 upfront and they give you a $15 sams/walmart gift card).

Erin said...

I went to Dr. Smith I believe at South Valley Eye Care. It's not too far from you. I thought he was a little weird, but very thorough and he did a good job. I don't remember how much he charged because I had medicaid and they paid for everything but you could always call and ask. Their staff was really nice. Derrick always went down to SLC or provo area with America's Best, but I didn't like them really. I don't know how the prices compare though. Maybe it's worth it to pay the membership fee? I personally just like having someone who set up their own practice instead of something that seems like a franchise. Sorry to ramble! Good luck finding someone you like!

And your story about finding out you needed glasses cracks me up. I found out in third grade through the elementary school tests, but ours used hand signals so I couldn't cheat. :)

Erin said...

I also had to laugh at how your glasses looked. The first week I became a mom I stepped on them when they fell off as I was stumbling to the baby's room in the middle of the night. I can relate!

Liz, Karl and Madison said...

Karl's family has always gotten their glasses from Baldwins on main street. Their family has become really good friends with them. They are really nice... and don't try to sell you anything. Karl goes in all the time to get his glasses readjusted and they treat him like family. I would recommend them for sure.

Megan said...

I just got new glasses because Lucas broke mine and I got them at Baldwin, but I don't suggest you go there, it wasn't a great experience. They had issues getting my lenses, and it took them three weeks to finally get them and I've had my glasses a month and still haven't received the bill.

Logan Optical is always good; they are in the Hospital. I've gotten glasses at Sam's Club and I really liked them. You might check this place, www.zennioptical.com. My mom's friend got three pairs of glasses there for 50 bucks and that was frames and lenses.

If you need an appointment, I would suggest either Dr. Siler or Dr. Watterman. Their office is at Logan Regional and I really like them.

Deborah said...

I get mine at America's Best--two pairs and a free eye exam for under $100. You can opt into additional exams or eyeglass features (like anti-glare) but they don't shove it down your throat. www.twopair.com

Les said...

I recognized the kitchen floor:) We had the same floor before we put in a wood floor when we lived there.

Laura said...

Mike went to Baldwins and they were really nice and just fixed his. But I have heard that there is a place on the internet that if you have the size and Rx of your glasses you can buy them for penneys on the dollar. If you want I can call the my old neighbor and ask her where she gets them. She would go to Wal-Mart or where ever and let her kids try on a few pair make note of what pair her kids liked and then go buy two or more pairs for them. She swore by them. Good luck.

Britta said...

Matt got glasses from a website called www.39dollarglasses.com and they lasted him for a while. You'd have to go to someplace like Walmart to get the perscription first though.

I went to America's best last time and liked the experience. I opted not to get the insurance (they'll replace your glasses once for any reason whatsoever) which I soon regretted. One pair broke really quickly and the other pair has gotten bent by my darling child. So get the insurance.

Good luck!

Mom said...

I just want you to come to Salt Lake! Any chance to see the grandkids!

Jared and Delia said...

I agree with Erin...Dr. Smith. Weird but is honest and will probably give you a good deal.

Tannie Datwyler said...

I am way behind the times, so you probably already have a pair of glasses. But I will tell you this. I get my eyes checked at Shopko and I REALLY like the doctor there. He is a bishop in the 2nd stake (the OTHER married student stake). I then bought my current pair of glasses at Logan Opitcal which is in the hopspital. It was a great place to get them.