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Family Framework

by Lindsey Getz

When it comes to fitting your family in eyewear, there is something for everyone.

Eyewear has become the hottest fashion accessory. Gone are the days when kids and adults lamented having to wear frames—now, even those that don’t need vision correction are opting to don the latest eyewear styles. And with all the choices available today, there is truly something for the whole family.

The hot trends
Today’s big eyewear trend is the “geek chic” look, says Dennis Fortuna, owner and optician at Fortuna Optical in Marlton. By that, he means that people are looking for the heavier, chunkier styles. “We’re doing a lot of plastic frames for men and women of all ages,” he says. “We’re also seeing a lot of color. The hot colors right now are the varying shades of purple and violet.”

Stephen J. Casto, optical manager with South Jersey Eye Physicians, with four New Jersey locations, agrees. He says just a few years ago, it seemed everyone was wearing sleek frames that were barely even noticeable on the face.

“Now everyone is going for larger, geek chic styles or rectangle shapes that make a bold statement,” Casto says. “The eyewear fashion does seem to follow the European trends, and what becomes popular there typically shows up here a couple years later.”

This thicker, bolder look is so popular right now that it’s actually trumping brand, says Frederic Meserall, optician with Meserall Vision and Hearing in Haddonfield. “For most people, it’s more the look than the brand name,” he says. “More people are coming in and saying ‘I saw this look—do you have it?’ And they don’t necessarily care who made the frames.”

And it’s not just women who are going for these styles. While men have traditionally not cared as much about the fashion behind their frames, that is starting to shift. Meserall says they’re finding that most men seem to be as fashion conscious as women now. They are not only taking much more time in selecting their frames, but they’re also going for that darker, thicker, plastic look. “We’re even seeing men do more color—maybe an olive or a navy blue. Most men aren’t looking for a frame that disappears on their face anymore.”

Still, even with the trend toward darker and bolder frames, Casto says there will always be a place for rimless designs. The rimless designs are often found on certain professionals such as newscasters who want a more minimalist look. “The conservative and sleek styles that are less noticeable on the face will always have a place,” he believes.

Joe DiDonato, owner of DiDonato Opticians in Somerdale, actually says most of his customers still want more conservative styles. “I do have those thicker, plastic frames in stock and have seen them a lot on TV, but most of my clientele is still looking for lightweight metal frames,” says DiDonato. “The lighter weight metals like titanium and stainless steel are popular.”

But DiDonato is seeing more interest in frames with accents. “Stones and accents on the frame’s temples are popular in women’s frames,” he says. “They like a little design or maybe some diamond accents on the temples. It’s a bit more of a fancier, dressier look.”

When it comes to lenses, the technology has really advanced. “Today’s non-glare lenses are also scratch-resistant and easier to clean and keep clean, which used to be an issue,” Casto says. “They filter out the glare, which a lot of people like not only for outdoors, but also for computer screens. In addition, people still like the Transition lenses that are clear indoors and go dark outside when exposed to UV light. This is a great option for someone that doesn’t want to buy a separate pair of prescription sunglasses.”

Of course, many people are just as happy to pick up a pair of polarized or prescription sunglasses, as these can also make a fashion statement as well.

For the kids
While a lot of parents don’t think about an eye exam for their child until they are of school-age or older, the truth is that kids can benefit from getting to the eye doc early. Just ask Sally Halim, OD, of Village Eyecare in Woolwich, who sees children as young as 6 months of age.

“I think it’s nice to get them in and familiar with the whole process so that they’re not scared when they’re 3 or 4,” she says. “Even if they can’t read or talk, there are still a lot of tests that get missed at the pediatrician’s office.”

Once kids do start school, there are issues that can become evident. “Younger patients may have reading issues at school that can be linked to vision,” says Halim. “Sometimes they can see but there’s a disconnection in the way the information gets processed. Things like dyslexia or reversing letters can actually be picked up in an eye exam. There are quite a few things we can detect through an eye exam with a child.”

If kids do need to be fitted for glasses, there are a lot of options to choose from. Fortuna says kids seem to be more into color—it doesn’t matter if it’s metal or plastic. But kids do often want something that looks like their parents’ glasses, he adds.

And if kids need frames for sports, those options have also come a long way. “When I had to wear them as a kid, they were big and goofy, but now they’re very sleek and stylish,” Casto says. “A lot of kids are matching the color of their eyewear to their school team or maybe their favorite professional sports team.”

With all of the choices available nowadays, it shouldn’t be hard to find a frame for everyone in the family. The trick may actually be limiting it to just one.

Protect your ads
Fancy sunglasses do more than help you look fashionable. They can protect your eyes from the UV rays that accelerate cataracts and other eye problems. While you can slow down the progression of cataracts by regularly wearing sunglasses, they can’t be prevented entirely.

“Cataracts are a clouding of the lens of the eye,” explains Mark H. Blecher, MD, ophthalmologist at Wills Eye Institute in Philadelphia. “Every eye has a lens inside that helps focus the light so that we see clearly. Over time, the lens becomes less clear and we then call it a cataract.”

While everyone can develop cataracts at some point, they can occur earlier with trauma to the eye, certain medications such as steroids, certain medical conditions such as diabetes, and for some genetic reasons, says Blecher.

Raymond M. Girgis, MD, FAAO, practicing at the Center for Eyecare in Washington Township, adds that the key symptoms of cataracts include glare, halos around lights, starbusts from lights, a decrease in the quality and clarity of vision, and decreased night vision, including night driving. “Those symptoms would obviously affect activities of daily living,” says Girgis. “Things like reading, sewing, driving and other activities can be impaired by the progression of cataracts.”

The eventual development of cataracts is a good reason to see your eye doctor regularly. “Cataracts are diagnosed by your eye doctor during a complete eye exam,” says Blecher. “When they cause blurred vision that is interfering with the patient’s ability to see clearly, we treat them by removing them.”

Today, the surgery has really come a long way. “It’s very technologically advanced,” says Girgis. “It’s done through a very small incision of the cornea and is what we call a ‘no needle, no stitch, no patch’ procedure. The recovery is very easy and quick. People are seeing out of the eye immediately and their vision improves progressively over several days to a week.”


Center for Eyecare
123 Egg Harbor Road, Suite 300, Sewell
(856) 290-4548

DiDonato Opticians
918 S. White Horse Pike
(856) 783-4545

Fortuna Optical
501 Route 73 S.
(856) 797-0600

Meserall Vision and Hearing
206 Kings Highway E. Haddonfield
(856) 429-6930

South Jersey Eye Physicians
Multiple South Jersey locations

Village Eyecare
120 Center Square Road
(856) 832-4950

Wills Eye Institute
840 Walnut St., Philadelphia, Pa.
1 (877) AT-WILLS

Published (and copyrighted) in the Art of Living Well pull-out section of Suburban Family Magazine, Volume 3, Issue 7 (September, 2012).
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