I’d like to believe that I see the world differently. As a guy that sees the world through a computer screen most of the day, I’d like to keep doing that…

I used to wear glasses. I needed them. Once I got to high school I realized quickly that I needed assistance with my vision. So I got some stylish 90’s frames and began my long career of losing and breaking them. I wasn’t that bad but I was a careless teenager whose track record wasn’t exactly great. My wife reminds me of the time that I jumped into the lake wearing them while also wearing a life vest. (I was really excited to go water skiing.) They fell off my face and I watched them slowly sink lower and lower until they disappeared into the murky abyss of Lake Geneva. And because I was wearing a life vest I couldn’t swim down to get them as they fell.

So glasses were never my favorite. Always getting in the way of life. And unless I had prescription sunglasses I never liked hanging out in the sun. And with my propensity to lose or break them, the idea of another pair of glasses to manage was too much to manage. And don’t even get me started on contacts…

Then I had Lasik. Which next to convincing my wife to marry me, was the best decision I ever made. It really did improve the quality of my life. I could buy (and lose or break) regular sunglasses! Life was grand. And it still is. Nearly 15 years after having Lasik surgery I’m still seeing close to 20/20 and don’t need readers or anything like that. I’m in my early 40’s so I consider that a win. My Lasik doc said that I was pretty much the perfect candidate for the surgery and I would be good for a long while. Surprisingly, that prediction has held up well.

But now that I’m sitting behind a desk most days literally staring at a giant television from two feet away, my eyes are starting to feel their age. Digital eye strain (D.E.S.) is very real for me. D.E.S. is defined as “a group of eye and vision-related problems that result from prolonged computer, tablet, e-reader and cell phone use.” So something that I think a lot of people probably deal with whether they realize it or not.

The symptoms I experience most are blurred vision and fatigue. I know that if I start getting blurry that I need to take a break. Otherwise it’ll get to the point that I am past the point of no return and I have to quit working for the day. Unfortunately for me, it’s not consistent. Some days I can go the whole day and some days I’m struggling by 10 a.m. In doing some research on this subject I did learn the 20–20–20 rule recommended by optometrists and ophthalmologists:

“The 20–20–20 rule is the first defense for Computer Vision Syndrome/Digital Eye Strain and eye discomfort. It’s pretty simple: every 20 minutes, look away from your digital screen and stare at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This reduces eye stress, strained eyes, eye discomfort, and can combat the negative effects of prolonged exposure from Blue Light.”

Studies show that overexposure to Blue Light may be linked to eye strain, increased risk of macular degeneration, and sleep cycle disruption. Thankfully there is a solution, you can now purchase glasses that filter out this “harmful” blue light. A quick cursory search on Amazon yields several options. Some of which are better than others. If you clicked the Amazon link you noticed that a lot of the glasses come with lenses that are tinted a dark yellow. It’s not the look I’m going for. I’d feel like I was going to the range to shoot guns if I had to wear those. And that’s not my thing. But companies like Felix Gray have entered the market with more fashionable glasses that not only look the part (yay clear lenses!) but also filter out the blue light that can lead to D.E.S.

“So you must own like 3 pairs of Felix Gray glasses then?”

Yeah, I wish. My only problem is that while I would pay a premium for something like a pair of Felix Gray (most start at $95), glasses aren’t something that are easy to shop for on the internet. They’re highly personal and unless you know exactly what you want it’s not easy to shop for frames online. (I’m sure there are people who have or are working on solving this problem but I don’t see anything at my disposal.)

According to Forbes 8 Million pairs of prescription glasses were sold online in 2017. Yeah, that seems like a lot of specs but it’s only 4.2% of the prescription glasses market. So I don’t think I’m alone in my thinking here that it’s hard to shop for glasses online. And the data shows that people prefer to try them on before they commit to spending their hard earned cash on a pair of glasses that look really dumb on their face.

The author of the Forbes article argues that online sales of glasses will only get bigger. And I agree to a certain extent (because: duh, internet) but mostly I disagree… And here’s why: Your face is literally the first impression that anyone sees, whether they know you or not. And if you need to make a first impression (and most people do) and you wear glasses, you need to try on some different frames, look in the mirror and see how you look. That’s not vanity, that’s humanity.

“But they offer free shipping, free returns, and exchanges…” Yeah, but it’s still such a hassle. And I feel straight up guilty for ordering something when I know that I’m going to immediately return it. (Maybe that’s my midwestern Catholic upbringing coming through.) “But they also offer a fit guide…” Seriously? Am I supposed to get out a ruler and measure my face? How does this help me determine what might look good on me?

I sound like such a curmudgeon here… Maybe I am just getting old? “Back in my day I would go to the glasses store and try on every single pair. And we walked there uphill both ways…” I’m not intending to come off negative here. Major kudos to companies like Felix Gray for solving the problem by making the lenses. But they still need to solve the distribution problem. I know they’re aware of it, I just hope someone offers a good solution while I can still see…