Geek-Chic Eyewear

Retro-inspired eyewear is especially hot right now, and Lucky Brand specs like these are at the forefront of the craze.

Retro-inspired eyewear is especially hot right now, and Lucky Brand specs like these are at the forefront of the craze.

Whether you opt for the naughty librarian look or prefer cool retro frames, check out the geek-chic eyewear that’s making an out-of-sight style statement this season.

It’s the nerdy hipster look and it’s red-hot—think Tina Fey, Clark Kent, Buddy Holly, and the cast of AMC’s runaway hit, Mad Men. In fact, for an authentic retro look, some fashion-forward shoppers are even scouring thrift stores for vintage frames that can be filled with prescription lenses.

Anyone can look like a hipster bookworm in these cool black frames by Lucky Brand.

Anyone can look like a hipster bookworm in these cool black frames by Lucky Brand.

But this trend isn’t limited to individuals with vision problems. In fact, even those who have had Lasik eye surgery find themselves shopping for this funky eyewear—not to enhance their eyesight, just their vibe.
Eyeglasses for the perfectly sighted? You bet.

Admittedly, some folks are a little confused by the notion of wearing frames that contain non-prescription lenses, particularly vision-impaired women who grew up hearing taunts of “Boys don’t make passes at girls who wear glasses.”

No matter if you’re near-sighted, far-sighted, or perfectly sighted, thick black zyl (plastic) frames are especially in vogue right now, as popularized by heartthrob actor Simon Baker of The Mentalist. Ever since he made a splash on the red carpet in his horn-rimmed Oliver Peoples frames, Baker has been an ambassador of the geek-chic trend.

Other style blazers influencing eyewear sales across the country include Sarah Palin. “When the governor of Alaska first came on the scene in her almost-invisible rimless Kawasaki frames, we couldn’t keep them in stock. We were getting a lot of calls every week, and even the manufacturer was backlogged,” says Thomas Harrigan, optician and owner of J.C. Reiss (973-538-5287) in Morristown—one of the state’s oldest eyewear establishments.

A skilled optician will help you select the perfect frames to suit your personality and the shape of your face. If you can afford it, consider buying two pairs so that if you misplace one, you’ll always have a backup. (And it’s the perfect excuse to have one pair of serious frames and another purely for the fun of it.)

See the Light. Get an Exam.
Before you even think about frames, your first step is a comprehensive eye examination by a licensed ophthalmologist. “A healthy adult should have a thorough vision check every two to three years,” says Dr. Jonathan W. Ditkoff of the Eyecare Center of New Jersey in Bloomfield (973-743-1331; “Dilation is extremely important because it’s the only way for us to see the retina up close. Only a thorough exam will uncover vision issues, as well as high blood pressure, glaucoma, cataracts, and melanoma,” he says.

Remember, your eyesight deserves more than those two-dollar reader glasses from the drug store. “The trouble with reader glasses is that people think they’re a substitute for a visit to the eye doctor,” Ditkoff adds. “That can be a dangerous assumption because a seemingly healthy person with no vision problems could actually have end-stage glaucoma and lose their vision altogether. When diagnosed early, glaucoma is absolutely preventable.”

Two of the most dramatic advancements in vision correction are Lasik surgery—which Ditkoff credits for creating “amazingly happy patients”—and progressive lenses. He says bi-focals are quickly becoming a thing of the past, not only because progressive lenses are more aesthetically pleasing, but because they actually blend three lenses into one. This is especially effective for those who need help with distance (driving), intermediate (computer), and close-up (reading) activities.  See for yourself. —SB

Gold standard in eye care

As America’s top athletes prepare for the Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, one local ophthalmologist is doing his part to support the team.

Dr. Cary M. Silverman of EyeCare 20/20 (973-560-1500; in East Hanover offers complimentary Lasik vision correction surgery to U.S. Olympic athletes. Since establishing the Lasik for the Gold program ( in 2008, Silverman has performed the procedure on over a dozen contenders, including Chad Hedrick who won gold, silver, and bronze medals in speedskating at the Winter Olympics four years ago. The all-inclusive eyecare program flies athletes to New Jersey, corrects their vision, and then returns them to their training facility, all within 48 hours.

“Most of these kids make very little money doing what they love to do,” says Silverman, whose office is decorated with autographed sports jerseys and posters from his grateful Olympic patients. “Even if they’re the best bobsledder or luge contender in the world, these young people are in need of sponsorship and support. It’s our pleasure to offer this life-changing surgery at no out-of-pocket expense to our Olympians, and we look forward to Team USA bringing home the gold this winter.”

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