I was eight years old when I put on my first pair of glasses. Dozens of colors all around me, plastic and square, metal and hexagonal. Except mine were metal and burgundy and I remember I hated wearing those round frames. When I look back at my frame choices over the past 15 years my first thought is, “who let me walk out of the optical shop like that?!” More and more questions surfaced once I started working in the optical field.
Before I started going to school to become an optician, I had no idea that choosing frames held tremendous value. It’s a lesson all on its own and it truly fascinates me every time I have a patient. Choosing the right frame is an art and takes experience to master. Although I am still learning, I’ve managed to tackle the basics of frame choice for a patient. Every step of the way since I’ve received my apprenticeship has been crucial to my learning process. I encounter numerous customers who adore a specific frame style or shape and set their hearts on it. But it’s not always the frame selection that comes first. It’s my job to inform and educate patients why we may have to opt for a different look without compromising fashion. Now that I have experience in obtaining measurements and doing adjustments, I feel much more confident dispensing a frame that is most appropriate for the patient’s needs. I’ve learned to provide the lens options first, then transition into choosing an appropriate frame shape, size, and color.
I believe frames are meant to be an accessory and should complement a person’s features including smile, cheeks, eyebrows and of course their eyes. Patients have always responded positively to my honesty about the appearance of their frame choices. I tend to use my ignorance from when I was a kid to fuel choosing the proper frame for my patients. It breaks my heart when someone walks in and I notice an oversized or undersized frame and wonder who allowed that person to walk out of their optical shop like that.
My job has become more than just working and bonding with an optician. I’ve come to love my job when I realize I’m not only helping people with their vision, I’m allowing them to be the best and most stylish version of themselves every day. I strive for my patients to walk in and pick up their glasses and love them more than the moment we initially picked them out. Studying and working in the field changed my perception of eyeglasses. Every time I look at someone wearing glasses, my first instinct is to observe and wonder, “are they straight?” or “those cat-eye frames look fabulous!” After a year of working in an optical shop, helping a patient select frames has now become one of the most rewarding tasks. There’s a frame out there for everyone and 15 years later, I’ve finally learned that.