While some dread the dentist chair, for me, it’s a visit to the optometrist that I loathe. Sure, there’s no drilling involved at the optometrist, but after the eye exam is all said and done, it starts — the anxiety-inducing process of choosing frames. Frames you’ll be wearing every day for the next 2 years. Just thinking about it is enough to make me break into a cold sweat. Staring at row after row of frames, each more expensive than the next, being asked to make a choice that you’ll be happy with for months to come, isn’t my idea of a good time.
I’m a researcher at heart and rarely make a purchasing decision without weighing up various options at different price points. But, when it comes to choosing frames for your corrective lenses, you’re rarely giving the opportunity to assess your selections and budget. Instead, you’re left in this awkward stand-off with the optometrist as they show you a wealth of frames based on their quick review of styles that ‘best suit’ your face.
I’ve always left feeling dissatisfied after these quick consultations and anxious at the thought that I’ve chosen frames that I won’t like a few months down the line, or worse, that don’t really suit my features, style, or personality. And, don’t even get me started on the price. Eyewear frames are notoriously expensive, which only serves to increase the pressure of choosing frames you’ll be happy with and proud to wear. Paying through the neck for frames you’re not even sure you really like is the real kicker of the process for me.
A new way of choosing frames
Luckily, one optometrist in Cape Town is looking to change all that by turning the process of choosing eyewear frames for your corrective lenses or prescription sunglasses into an enjoyable, fun experience. Located at N1 Value Centre in Cape Town’s northern suburbs, Spectacle World (also known as Camarena Porter Optometrist), is the first company in South Africa to obtain a certificate in The Art of Eyewear Styling course with Eva Davé, presented by the Eyewear Styling Academy. Having completed this course, the team at Spectacle World is now well-equipped to make frame selection easier and fun for clients, ensuring clients are satisfied when they leave the practice with their new frames.
“As an independent optometrist for more than 30 years in practice, it has always been of paramount importance to me that we offer excellent clinical care, customer service, optical lens and frame styling,” says Adele Camarena, owner and director at Spectacle World. “Poor sight is a disability that can have an enormous effect on your success and security. Eyewear enables you to see well and at the same time look great. It’s wonderful if the frame lets the client feel confident and attractive.”
Spectacle World now has an established styling consultation process and Camarena says her team feels confident to suggest and select eyewear that complements their clients’ features, colouring and unique style.
Experiencing the styling consultation
I paid a visit to Spectacle World to try out the styling consultation process for myself, and for the first time, I actually enjoyed picking out frames. The process starts in Spectacle World’s styling consultation room, a chic dedicated space that feels more like a fitting room in a stylish fashion boutique than an optometrist room. The first step is all about figuring out your style personality through the help of some useful multiple choice quizzes (who doesn’t love a good quiz?). The quiz helps the team identify your unique style personality and the types of frames you might lean towards. The Art of Eyewear Styling process identifies six different style types and matching options of eyewear for each. Through answering some easy questions, the team can figure out if you love bold and daring styles, romantic styles, or lean towards a more subtle look. Your lifestyle is also considered to help pick frames that will fit in with your daily life and activities.
Next, they analyse your dominant colour type by draping colour swatches across your shoulders to determine which shades and colours will best suit your skin tone, hair, and eye colour. The psychology of colour is also explored through the personality quiz, helping the team to figure out which hues will make your personality shine through best as well. Finally, your face and features are considered to help you pick a frame that will flatter what you’ve already got going on for you.
According to the team, colour plays an enormous role when selecting frames as it enhances appearance including eye, hair and skin colour. Although many of us favour neutral frames such as black or brown, these aren’t always the most flattering, and The Art of Eyewear Styling process can help guide you to making a choice that you feel comfortable with and confident wearing.
Once the team has narrowed down what to look for in frames, you’re presented with a few options to try on in the privacy of the styling room. The room is well lit with a ring light and a professional makeup mirror with lights to ensure you take in the full effect of the frames. I spent ages trying on the different spectacle and sunglasses frame options that were presented to me, and even took a few snaps to get my boyfriend’s opinion. Spectacle World team member Ryno, who was helping me with my frame consultation, even went so far as to let me try out the different lens tint options (for sunglasses) outside to ensure that I wouldn’t experience added glare when wearing them. He also mentioned that many clients take photos during the styling sessions and take a week to mull it over at home before making a decision on a pair of frames.
I’ve never felt so excited and engaged in the process of selecting frames for my eyeglasses. I’ve regretted most frames I’ve chosen at other optometrist branches over the years because the whole process felt so rushed and, of course, there’s the added pressure of everyone in the store watching you try on frames. The process at Spectacle World felt relaxed, personal, and akin to a proper fashion consultation. I confidently decided on a pair of oversized gold Bolon frames with a beautifully soft pink accent around the lenses for my spectacles and a pair of light brown tortoise-shell frames with orange-red tinted lenses for my sunglasses.
A new outlook on life
After my visit to Spectacle World, I feel like I have a new outlook on life. I absolutely love both styles that I chose and really feel like they suit my facial features and my personality. I’ve been rocking them for 3 weeks now and have been loving every minute of enjoying my new frames. But it’s not just the look of the frames that have made a difference in my daily life. The lenses fitted by the team after my comprehensive eye test with optometrist Adele Camarena have made a huge difference as well!
For my everyday corrective eyewear lenses, Spectacle World fitted Zeiss DuraVision BlueProtect lenses. Zeiss is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of spectacle lenses is known for delivering maximum precision and comfort for wearers. The DuraVision BlueProtect lenses are Zeiss’ answer to blue-violet light blocking lense solutions.
Zeiss DuraVision BlueProtect lenses
The Zeiss BlueProtect coating was specially developed for people who spend a lot of their time indoors and who are exposed to blue-violet light from LEDs as well as TV, computer or tablet screens on a regular basis. The lenses work by reflecting parts of the blue-violet light emitted by these sources, preventing light from entering the eye. But it’s not just useful for indoor uses, blue-violet light is everywhere, although its intensity varies greatly. For example, while a typical LCD computer monitor produces a brightness of 250 cd/m2, a clear blue sky at midday is 32 times as bright and direct sunlight can be thousands of times as bright. It’s important to ensure your lenses protect your eyes and offer comfortable vision no matter the conditions. Zeiss BlueProtect lenses offer this supreme comfort by filtering different amounts of blue-violet light depending on the activity.
What’s more, to offer patients true protection, Zeiss has developed an additional anti-reflective layer on the back of the lens, reducing the indirect light reflected into the eye and complementing the protection offered by Zeiss UVProtect Technology in all clear plastic lenses which block direct UV rays from the front. This means Zeiss lenses offer true UV protection from all sides, even when you’re not wearing sunglasses.
Not only have these blue light protective lenses been a game-changer when working on the computer, helping to reduce eye fatigue and headaches, but I can also drive comfortably with just my glasses during the day if need be. There have been many occasions when I’ve forgotten my sunglasses at home or just can’t take them with me, and it’s been such a relief knowing I won’t struggle with glare or sensitive eyes when driving during the day.
Mr Lenses Sun Lenses
For my prescription sunglasses, Spectacle World fitted mirror tinted and polarised lenses. These super fun colour tinted lenses offer protection from sunlight and UV rays as well as harmful blue light from digital devices. They also help to offer improved contrast to see things more clearly and reduce glare. Polarised lenses are ideal for helping to reduce glare, improve visual comfort and clarity during the day, reduce eye strain, and improve contrast with a great perception of colour.
The lenses fitted to my sunglasses work to absorb 85% of visible light while also minimising distracting glare from the lens backside. Even better news, taking care of them is easier than ever before as the lenses also boast a hard-coat scratch-resistant layer to help reduce surface damage to the lens and adds scratch resistance. This helps to protect the lens from common damages that may usually cramp your style when it comes to sunglasses.
The lenses are available in a wide range of colour tinted and mirror coatings to help you add functional benefits and a snazzy look to your sunglasses. I opted for a red-orange mirror tint as it helped to reduce glare and increase contrast the best for my eyes. Testing out the various colour tints, it was amazing to see the difference they could make to my eyesight. Other colour options include blue, green, gold, and silver tinted lenses.
These sunglasses lenses have made an incredible difference in my life. Especially when driving. My eyes have never felt more comfortable when driving and they even help to greatly reduce glare reflecting from the windows of other cars on the road as well as that blinding late afternoon sun that has you reaching for the sun visor. I tested out my new sunglasses on a long drive 3-hour drive and was amazed at the difference. My eyes would usually feel tired, sensitised, and dry after such a long drive but with my new sunglasses they felt rested and comfortable upon my arrival.
Contact Spectacle World
If you’re in the market for new frames or just need an eye test, then I would highly recommend visiting Adele Camarena and her team at Spectacle World in Cape Town. From the eye test to the frame consultation, it was the most incredible experience. The team at Spectacle World is so friendly and they make you feel welcome and special from start to finish.
During my eye exam, Adele Camarena made me feel so comfortable and she’s by far my favourite optometrist I’ve ever been examined by. She is knowledgeable, caring, and offers great practical advice for patients during the checkup. You truly feel like you’re in good hands and that she is looking out for you to help you make the best decision for your eye health and lifestyle.
Spectacle World is all about offering tailor-made eyewear solutions to everyone, from the economically challenged to the well-heeled. As an eyewear stylist optometrist, the team empowers their clients to always see well, look fabulous and feel good! “It’s one of our greatest joys,” Camarena concludes.
For more information visit the Spectacle World website. Find them at Shop 50/51 , N1 Value Centre, Solly Smiedt St, Goodwood, Cape Town. You can also check them out on Facebook or Instagram to see their latest styles worn by happy clients, including a few local celebrities like Zoë Brown and Jenny Morris! Or click here for Spectacle World’s digital business card.
After years of working as an Editor and writer for popular websites like Joburg’s Darling, Cape Town’s Darling and Joburg.co.za, Crystal left her sanity and an established career in lifestyle journalism behind to follow her dream of creating a website for the intellectual and discerning woman. Today she spends her time chasing the thrill of being the first to know about ‘the next big thing’. She’ll try anything once and has been known to put her body, hair and health on the line – all in the name of research.