See and Be Seen
Putting Optical Care in Perspective with Joe Reganato
You are a professional, licensed optician. What’s your favorite part about your profession?
I’ve been a professional optician for 25 years. I love to share what I know to help people look good and see well. When people have problems with their vision or their vision changes, that really impacts their life. Being able to help someone when they are experiencing those kinds of issues is very gratifying—like when I see a patient in their mid-forties who suddenly can’t read the menu, or their eyes are really tired and teary at the end of the day. When I collaborate with the optometrist, we can help restore comfortable, clear vision to them and really improve their quality of life.
What do you think is the most exciting thing to happen in eye care in the last 10 years?
There have been so many developments. Digital lens technology has made progressive lenses much easier to adapt to than in years past, so if folks are wearing a bifocal and think that they can’t make the switch to progressives, I would encourage them to give it another try. The other major improvement is the ability to capture what we call “position of wear” measurements through a program that’s installed on a tablet computer here in the office. This technology is far more sophisticated than the measuring sticks we used to use, creating more optimal fit and customization.
What would you say is patients’ biggest eye-care challenge?
Hands down, it’s overexposure to screen time, something we call “Computer Vision Syndrome”. It results in dry eyes, blurriness, headaches and neck strain, and it’s what happens to people when they are spending 10 to 15 hours a day looking at tablets, computers and smartphones. And in this day and age, that’s more and more of us.
What can be done about it?
The best way to help prevent it is to get a pair of computer glasses—these are glasses that are specifically designed to see between 8 and 15 inches away from your eyes, which is where we hold our phones and our computers. They also have a special antiglare coating that mitigates the blue light. Another alternative is to have an additional premium anti-glare coating put on top of the lenses of your regular glasses.
Why is there such a wide range of costs associated with buying glasses?
Much of the variation depends on the type of lenses needed. Single-vision lenses to correct nearsightedness or farsightedness are less expensive, while material and production costs can go up significantly for progressive lenses, bifocals or other multifocal lenses that correct for presbyopia, which occurs in over 90 percent of people once they reach late middle age. People who have astigmatism of the cornea will need special lenses as well, even if they are young and require only a single-vision lens. So the cost is quite variable, and it’s very personal.
No matter what, glasses are such an important part of people’s everyday lives, and it’s a shame they are often overlooked—no pun intended. Your eyewear is very much like a car—an investment that needs ongoing upkeep and care. That’s why it’s important to work with a reputable office or boutique with experienced, skilled professionals and reliable warranties that handle issues like a broken wire or a lost lens. It should be somewhere that has a strong reputation for providing the highest quality of care.
What tips would you give people when they are going to purchase eyeglasses?
People spend a lot of time considering the look and the cost of their frames, but relatively little time on understanding their lenses and what’s available in terms of appearance, comfort, vision and safety. It’s one thing to look good, but quite another to look good and see well. Our goal with our patients is to do both.
Joe Reganato is a licensed optician and store manager at Wink Optical. Wink offers eye exams, glasses and contact lenses in a relaxed, personalized atmosphere and is located at 1649 The Fairway in Baederwood Shopping Center, Rydal. For more information, call 215-935-6320 or visit Wink-Optical.com.