The passage into reading magnifiers is especially traumatic for people who have never needed glasses or those who wear contact lenses. All of a sudden there are those things on the face on occasion.
But one thing that may soften the blow is that such spectacles are now available in the highest fashion looks, says Tom Appler, of Clark-Appler-Loeber Opticians in Towson.
"It's important to have a doctor check for any eye problems, then you can turn to the designers."
The names in frames today read like a glossy fashion magazine -- Gucci, Ralph Lauren, Christian Dior, Benetton, Mikli, Christian Lacroix -- all the big fashion guns.
"Any designer frame can be filled with a reading prescription. Full-frame designs can be crafted with progressive lenses, that is, clear glass at the top and magnification on the bottom with no trace of the bifocal line," he said.
"In the Cartier line, custom reading glasses can run into the thousands, for jewelry lovers who want gold and diamonds incorporated into the frame. But a more reasonable range is $250 to $300. People who have never worn glasses may be willing to splurge on something special to help them feel good about their age."
What about an eyeglass wardrobe? The problem with reading glasses is that they often are left behind in stores, phone booths and restaurants. The over-the-counter funkier styles can expand a fashion statement with aviator, retro, or just plain gaudy frames.
Can ready-mades ruin the eyes? "No," says Appler, "but they may feel uncomfortable and cause some strain."
For the fashion-conscious who want tips on putting their best faces forward, "Color Me Beautiful" maven Carole Jackson will come to Clark-Appler-Loeber Opticians on Dec. 12 to talk about how to create the perfect look. For information call 825-4454.