Article Date: 9/1/2010

Trying On Glasses While Rolling His Eyes
Patient's Perspective

Trying On Glasses While Rolling His Eyes

Cool frames and a pretty cool saleslady make it easier for a 17-year-old to shop with his mom, which is so not cool.

By Linda Flores, as told to Erin Murphy, Associate Editor

"I read about this cool place in New York where Johnny Depp gets his glasses."

"Well, he's a millionaire and I'm not, and I'm not driving you to New York." I sound like such a mom, I think.

Well I am a mom, and although my 17-year-old son would much rather have one of his buddies (or one of his girl "friends") help him pick out glasses, he's stuck with me, the bearer of insurance information and credit cards.

Ever shopped with a teenage boy? If I say he looks cool in the glasses, then they can't possibly be cool because I don't know what cool is. If I say the glasses look bad, then I don't know what I'm talking about and let's just forget it and go home with nothing new. Over the past few years, in an effort to appear that I have no opinion whatsoever, I've had to master a facial expression as neutral as the Swiss delegate to the United Nations.

Which brings me to our optometrist. I chose him a few years ago because I saw lots of frames and designer brands in the office windows. I'd never worn glasses, and I thought that all those choices — Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Chanel — would help me avoid my own worst nightmare: looking like my mother.

The doctor is a really bright, engaging guy, and the office is new and cheerful to visit. Laura, who helps me pick out my glasses, is a lot of fun, too.

I took my son there when he failed his vision screening at age 11, and now he's on his third pair of glasses. The things that drew me to the optometrist are good for him, too. The place is pleasant, the visit is fast, and there are lots of frames to choose from. This is especially important since he's gone from children's frames to adult frames. Although his head is now as big as a 50-year-old man's head, his tastes are very different. And very particular.

He knows what he doesn't want. Nothing nerdy, nothing where the frames block his view, nothing that's a color, nothing "old-mannish," nothing like that brown-noser kid Mike wears. The list goes on.

I know of one unspoken "want": the glasses have to look hot. My son's looks (and the aforementioned girl "friends") are important to him, which I know because he spends a great deal of time cultivating just-woke-up hair and putting together beat-up ensembles while telling me that he doesn't care what he looks like and he hates superficial people.

Laura at the optometrist's office is clearly used to talking to teenagers. She asks my son about school and activities. Aside from video games, texting and napping, he does have one real activity: soccer. She steers him to a case of Adidas frames. He seems to like them! I work to appear blank and emotionless. He settles on a pair that I secretly think look really handsome. Yay, we're done!

Laura tells my son that the glasses make him look like Robert Pattinson (he doesn't, but he does sleep through most of the daylight hours). Although he shrugs off the compliment, he actually blushes!

He listens to her opinion � and she's my age! I think. But then she's not (insert eye roll) Mom. nOD

Editor's note: Periodically, new OD will explore eye care from the patient's perspective. Whether you have a special interest in contact lenses, low vision or pediatric care, you'll find out from real patients what attracts them to a practice and keeps them coming back.

Optometric Management, Issue: September 2010