Saturday, August 16, 2008

Vision on Fifth Avenue

Pretty Lady is thrilled. She visited the Lenscrafters on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan yesterday evening, at an event sponsored by Blogher, and was treated like royalty! Hordes of gracious hostesses, stylists, lady doctors in lab coats, photographers, caterers, and the Gentleman Director himself, veritably swarmed upon her as soon as she walked through the door. It was a pity that yesterday was a Frump Day--having sustained a mosquito bite under the eyeball, she was forced to go sans makeup and contact lenses, in a pair of wire-rimmed spectacles that give her horrid flashbacks of being thirteen. (Any girl who was pretty at thirteen gets no empathy from Pretty Lady.)

Fortunately, the capable Lady Stylist who took her in hand was an expert at her trade. Among the thousands of hip, avant-garde frames lining the walls, she homed in on the perfect pair, or six, that suited Pretty Lady. Pretty Lady herself, artist though she is, would have fled in hopeless despair at the prospect of trying on a thousand hip, avant-garde frames, and had no inkling of which might suit her, having spent her life rather avoiding the subject of glasses. But the pair we found are so assertively spiffy that Pretty Lady might actually consider wearing them to her next art opening. Which would be a boldly unprecedented move.

But this event was not solely focused upon Fashion. Pretty Lady is pleased to inform you that Lenscrafters has formulated a Serious Educational Agenda, which, unlike a great many commercial endeavors, actually managed to educate her. For it is a fact that annual eye exams are vital to an individual's overall health and well-being, particularly if that individual is a child.

No, friends, this is not mere Commercial Hype. Great strides have been made in the science of eye examination, since the days when the shopping mall optometrist flashed many confusing lenses in front of your face, eventually settling on a grossly overcorrected prescription. Today's eye doctor can screen for early signs of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, brain tumors, glaucoma, macular degeneration, astigmatism, amplyopia, and, of course, near- and farsightedness, merely by examining the blood vessels of the eye. (Lest any of you become deeply terrified of visiting an eye doctor ever again, Pretty Lady hastens to assure you that the vast majority of clients are brain-tumor-free.) An annual eye exam merely ensures that potential vision or circulation problems are caught before any irreversible deterioration has begun.

Moreover, this annual examination process is doubly important for children. Children, as some of you may recall, tend to take the world As Is. They do not think to themselves, "Hmm, I'm having trouble reading what's on the blackboard; my eyes don't seem to focus." They merely think that reading the blackboard is No Fun and a Waste Of Time; they start Acting Out in consequence, become a Discipline Problem, eventually drop out of school and start dealing drugs.

Friends, do not let this happen. Take your child to the eye doctor before they reach school age, and every year thereafter. Do not, moreover, rely on cursory school eye examinations to adequately diagnose potential vision problems in your child. According to Lenscrafters, 60% of vision problems in children are missed during school eye exams; another 80% are incorrectly addressed. Furthermore, when a child is young and adaptable, problems such as lazy eye and crossed eyes can be easily corrected; once they reach the age of eight or ten, however, it is Just Too Late. They are stuck with a lazy crosseye forever.

Pretty Lady doesn't mean to scare you.

After hearing this, the question uppermost in Pretty Lady's mind was, "How do people pay for this?" Particularly lower-income families with several children and no health insurance, as is, disgracefully, the case in many parts of this country. She tackled the Gentleman Director himself on the matter; he responded with aplomb.

"We encourage employers to provide health insurance plans with vision coverage," was his first response. Shockingly, many insurance plans do not. "We also have a Vision Van which goes around to disadvantaged neighborhoods, providing free eye exams. Furthermore, we endow the Gift of Sight Foundation, which does community outreach for the visually impaired." Pretty Lady made a mental note to include vision care in her Universal Healthcare Plan.

Lenscrafters also does their best to make certain that their eye examinations are affordable; they are not the cheapest in town, but neither are they the most expensive. And as Pretty Lady can attest, they are thorough and use up-to-the-minute diagnostic testing equipment. (She got to see a color photo of her own retina! It was gorgeous!)

In sum, Pretty Lady was requested to write a balanced review regarding her Lenscrafters experience, but she finds to her dismay that the balance is almost entirely in Lenscrafters' favor. Perhaps the hip, avant-garde frames were a bit on the pricey side, but with so many selections, one can very well shop the sale rack without extreme deprivation.

Other Blogher LensCrafter reviews


Chris Rywalt said...

When you add vision, don't forget dental. Lots of dental. I never understand why teeth and eyes don't fall under the general heading of health, but for too many insurance plans, they don't.

visionaryeyecare said...

LOL....I loved your post!! So if your kid does not get an eye exam...they will hate school become a discipline problem and end up dealing drugs. That is the first time I heard THAT one!! You are too funny!

I am an Independent Doctor of Optometry next to Lenscrafters in South Florida. I am impressed by how much educational information you retained from your visit at Lenscrafters! Isn't it cool how you can see all of the working blood vessels in your eye with the retinal photograph!??!

Most people do not know that an eye exam can help detect diabetes, high blood pressure, brain tumors etc. I'm glad that you are helping educate the people out there in the blogosphere!!

I'm also glad that you got some spiffy, super cool frames....

Kimberly said...

Great review! I'm dying for my new frames to come in.

k said...

Gee. Between laughing and nodding my head, I had some Childhood Flashbacks reading this...

My eyes started going bad when I was in 3rd grade - this would be 1966 or so? They did those school eye exams and send a note home, suggesting I see an optometrist or ophthalmologist.

Well. Dr. Dad said, "Those tests are not scientific; there's nothing wrong with your eyes; you're just making this up for attention. Nobody is taking you to the eye doctor."

(Even though said eye doctor was a friend from medical school and wouldn't even have charged anything, following the doctor/doctor courtesy of those times.)

Yeah. These days Dad would have CPS all over him.

This continued for almost 3 years. By the end of that time, the teachers had to push my desk up about 2 feet from the blackboard, because I was too nearsighted to see it otherwise.

You wanna talk social ostracisation?

I don't know, to this day, why he finally changed his mind. Or who was the driving force behind it.

After we got the glasses and I could see - oh, my world, my world! - he said, --Is it good to see things clearly again?

Leaving me stuck hard and fast between that sweetness of his understanding, and the infuriating hypocrisy of his not just deliberately leaving me blind for three years, but saying I was making it up for attention...

In 2000 I got Lasik. Now I need reading glasses and may have some diabetic issues, but hey. Seeing the world without glasses for nearsightedness?

Oh, my heavens.

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