Friday, March 20, 2009

Finding the Right Optician To Make Your Lenses

If you want to wear pince-nez, they should be on your face and not sitting in a drawer as pictured here. Once you find a suitable mounting, you still need to have lenses made for it.

The Renaissance receives many questions from readers asking about referrals to opticians who specialize in pince-nez so that they can have lenses made. To our knowledge, we do not know of any optical store which has expertise with pince-nez. This is not surprising since this style of eyewear left the mainstream optical arena in the 1930's. Sadly, we also no longer have experts who are trained in pince-nez fitting as these men would be over a hundred years old now.

Now for the good news. You do not need an optician with expertise in this eyewear to make your lenses. Any competent and motivated optician can do it.

Finding a competent and motivated optician, while seemingly very easy to do, can actually be a challenge for the pince-nez enthusiast in the real world. Competency is not usually a major concern. It is easy to determine if an optical store does good work by reading online reviews and listening to referrals from friends. The hard part is finding someone who is motivated to work with pince-nez. I was shocked by the difficulty in finding an optician to make lenses for my pince-nez here in San Francisco.

Why do I stress an optician's motivation? Because your purchase extends beyond the manufacture and mounting of lenses on your eyeglasses. You will also need fitting adjustments made to your mounting. I learned this lesson the hard way after having my first set of lenses made by a boutique optician (Eyegotcha) in the Castro. After the sale, they did not make a good faith attempt to work with me on adjustments to my fingerpiece. Unless you feel totally confident in your abilities, I suggest leaving fitting adjustments to a professional.

I strongly urge you to do some investigative work in finding an optician to make your lenses. It is an investment which will pay off in having a wearable pince-nez. Otherwise, at best your eyeglasses will sit in a drawer awaiting a new set of lenses. In the worst case, an incompetent optician can ruin your pince-nez.

Exercise your due diligence in finding an optician. Read reviews and get referrals from friends. Then you can make phone calls to see if they will work with pince-nez. Of those who do, I suggest visiting the store and interviewing the optician or staff to see if they will accommodate your needs. For those of you who will not do your own adjustments, ask if they will work with you on fitting after the sale. Here you will need to use your intuition as well.

My learned friend put together a list of practices for opticians to use when working with pince-nez. It is an excellent guide to take with you. For convenience, you can read it here as an Adobe pdf file.


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