I have received several emails from readers who have taken me to task for my June column, “Common Sense Dispensing.” They objected to the advice I gave a mature presbyope that she would be better off wearing a plastic or lightweight metal frame with her progressive lenses rather then the rimless, three-piece mount that she had complained were “too flimsy.”
“I have many times successfully fitted elderly people with PAL lenses in a rimless mounting,” writes Irwin Goldberg, an optician from Rochester, N.Y. “Frankly, the issue is not necessarily age but total well being. An active teenager may not be a good candidate for rimless mountings. You correctly stated ‘lifestyle’ is the key, not necessarily age. I am cognizant of what I fit to whom. Age may be a factor but very rarely.”
Optician Bill Curran of William J. Curran Guild Opticians in Drexel Hill, Pa., says he fits customers from two years-old all the way up to 102 years-old with rimless eyewear. “As people get older their skin becomes more sensitive and any weight on their nose can cause soreness, making a lightweight rimless the perfect solution,” notes Curran. He adds, “The advice that you should have given to the woman would be to wear the progressive eyewear rather than keeping them in her pocketbook! She would see better and the frame would stay in adjustment longer if it was on her nose and not crammed in her pocketbook.”
Both Mr. Goldberg and Mr. Curran raise important points. I’ll respond by saying I did not mean to infer that dispensers should make assumptions about a patient’s eyewear needs based upon their age. Nor should dispensers make generalizations that could limit them from dispensing certain types of products—in this case rimless eyewear—to certain types of patients, i.e. seniors. To clarify my main point, with which I think Mr. Goldberg and Mr. Curran would agree, is that each patient is different and their eyewear needs deserve to be evaluated individually.