"But I don't want to be ugly!"

It was the cry of a despondent six-year old, recently diagnosed as a relatively high-minus myope. She'd been complaining to her mother of headaches and stared with glee through a pair of trial frames; yet when her mother told her it was time to pick out a pair of glasses, the hesitant smile became a brave front became a trembling fear. As her mother explained, most of the children at her school wore a particular type of glasses—glasses designed with all thought directed towards function and none towards form. Glasses designed to stay on the wearer's head and take the maximum amount of abuse, with little to no consideration given to cosmetics.

All Pez frame styles shown are available through A&A Optical.

There's a lot to be said for those sort of frames, especially for the very young or particularly rambunctious children. But as kids grow up, they begin to mature in their sensibilities; and as the adult world has shown us, "mature" sensibilities are often anything but. Although we'd like to think the stigma has been lifted from wearing glasses, the reality is that it's shifted. Sure, most kids probably won't tease other kids just for wearing glasses now; but they sure will give them grief for the kind of glasses they wear. Being a kid is, quite possibly, one of the most difficult periods in the human life; and while we, as "grownups," would like to think we have it harder in the business and the adult world, at no other point besides childhood will individuality, uniqueness, creativity, and just plain deviation from the norm be so aggressively suppressed and ostracized. Being the office eccentric might mean weird glances at meetings and some difficulty getting a promotion (or, depending on your workplace, it may be a one-way ticket to the corner office). Being the class weirdo might mean daily beatings, constant harassment, and social stigmatization that will follow the individual for years to come, or until he/she changes schools and takes another go-round at things. The point? Elementary and kindergarten aged children do not need to be stuck in frames designed for infants and preschoolers. Unfortunately, while many frame manufacturers have recognized the needs of infants, tweens, teens, young adults with large heads and young adults with narrow heads, few have jumped onto the bandwagon of providing average looking eyeglass frames for children. (Having done work with the special needs community, I can also vouch for a disappointing dearth of frames for individuals requiring sturdy, damage resistant glasses that don't look like they belong at a preschool, but there's a topic for another column). In an age when every kid's trying to be more mature than they really are—or at least pretending to be—the worst thing one can do is look too much like a...well...kid. What's a parent to do when their child is too young for "junior" frames, but too old to face the potential stigma of the tot equivalent of military BCGs? Pop the dispenser and go for Pez.

Pez frames are the perfect choice for those who are 'tween baby and tween, too old for utilitarian frames and old enough to know they're too old for utilitarian frames. Coming in miniaturized versions of contemporary teen styles, Pez are starter frames—optical training pants to help the wee visually impaired make the transition to big kid glasses. From a construction standpoint, the frames are just like mom and dad's, brother and sister's; aesthetically, they're available in either traditional blacks, tortoises, and metal tones, or for the kid who's still a kid at heart, vibrant colors that play up the frames while keeping them grounded in the grownup world of big kid glasses. Pez also uniquely offers classic cable temples, for those kids who require an extra bit of grip but whose parents don't want to saddle them with a conspicuous strap...or worse.

Being a kid's tough enough already. Get them a frame that's tough enough for the job: Pez. Because kids shouldn't just act their age: They should look it, too.

Preston Fassel was born in Houston, Texas and grew up between St. Charles, Missouri and Broken Arrow, OK.

In 2009, Preston graduated Summa Cum Laude with a degree in Liberal Arts. In 2011, he graduated Cum Laude from Sam Houston State University with a Bachelor's of Science.

Preston currently works as an Optician in the Houston area. His interest in the history of eyewear goes back to his time in high school, when he developed an interest in all things vintage.

In addition to his writing for The 20/20 Opticians Handbook and 20/20 Magazine, Preston has also been featured in Rue Morgue magazine, where he is a recurrent reviewer of horror and science-fiction DVDs. His fiction writing has been featured three times in Swirl magazine, the literary arts journal of Lone Star College and Montgomery County. An essay on the life and death of British horror actress Vanessa Howard is scheduled to appear in the Spring issue of the quarterly horror journal, Screem.

Preston lives in Conroe, Texas with his wife, Kayleigh, and his ego, Ted.


This content is sponsored by A&A Optical.