by February 18, 2013 at 9:00 am 2 Comments

From Mike Kohn. Find Mike on Twitter at @mike_kohn or email him at mike[AT] You can get more style tips at Parenthetical Style (where style is just a series of details).

Both of my parenthetical partners in crime, Nick and Alex, shared some great stuff about picking the right glasses. Let me add something different to the mix on the same topic.

I am legitimately blind. When I take off my glasses, the world becomes a giant blur to me.

To put things in perspective, when I looked up degree of nearsightedness (or myopia) on Wikipedia, it told me that the low range is 0 to -3.00, the medium range is -3.00 to -6.00 and the high range is -6.00 or above.

Approximately 30 percent of nearsighted people fall into the high category. My prescription is -8.75 in one eye, -9.00 in the other, so let’s just go ahead and call that very high. And in case those numbers mean nothing to you, I once asked my eye doctor what my vision would qualify as in the realm of 20/20 or 20/30, since that idea is much more commonly discussed. He laughed, told me it was near impossible to put an exact number to it and then told me that by that scale, my number would exceed 20/5000.

This makes it incredibly difficult to go buy a pair of glasses. I mean, how are you supposed to see what you look like in a pair of glasses when you literally can’t see anything?

Normally, I get someone to go with me. Generally speaking, I fly solo on things like that because then I can be on my own time – it’s not that I don’t want someone to offer an opinion, it’s really just that shopping takes up a lot of energy, so I get what I want and then I get out of there to do what I actually want to do with the rest of my day. However, on my last glasses-purchasing experience, I had to go at a time when it was just me, so I found a creative solution.

Below is one of my favorite series of photos, mostly because of the shear ridiculousness.


Mike Kohn for Parenthetical Style. (Courtesy of Mike Kohn)

Without an alternative, I snapped a photo of me in the mirror in each different pair of glasses and then put my prescription pair back on to view the photos. I also may or may not have shared them with a couple of people by text message to get some feedback. I only asked people who both knew me and had reasonable things to say that wasn’t just, “Yeah, great!” because that’s not helpful.

Ultimately, it comes down to this: Practically speaking, you know yourself the best, but when what you’re looking at is a little blurry — whether literally or metaphorically — it’s good to get some input from people who you trust. (Element of Style: It doesn’t hurt to get a second (or third) opinion on your style.)

This post appeared first at Parenthetical Style.

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