Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Gift of vision given to those in need

Giving to someone in need could be the greatest gift of all. They feel good, so do you. But it feels even better to give while also making a purchase.

When you get that nice pair of Toms, someone else will receive one on your behalf, leaving their bare feet and toes real grateful. Well, there’s another brand sharing the wealth — Warby Parker.

For every pair of Warby Parker glasses sold, the company pays for the production of a frame for the non-profit organization VisionSpring, a benefit corporation that makes decisions to positively impact society and the environment rather than only for profit, which explains the donation program. In addition to its generosity, Warby Parker is 100 percent carbon neutral.

Founded in 2010 by Neil Blumenthal, Andrew Hunt, David Gilboa and Jeffrey Raider, Warby Parker will give to someone else in need when you purchase one of their frames. Imagine that: better eyesight for those in need. Those who require a prescription know the curse of not being able to look into the distance and even vice versa.

I had a few moments without my glasses. The worst would have been hearing my name being called from the distance. So from that moment, I pretended I didn’t hear anyone and slightly walked faster. I either ignore or I wave to someone walking toward me. “Oh, hey. Yeah, I didn’t see you.” It’s funny, but sometimes painful.

With so many things out there like vibrant facial expressions and the vivid spectrum of colors to see, I can’t imagine how it feels to put on frames after years of blindness. Yeah, I probably made someone really happy through my purchase. Pat on my back and a round of applause for Warby Parker.

This summer I visited Warby Parker in Manhattan and tried on all the prescription frames. I browsed even though I made a specific list to save time — curiosity maybe. The glasses are trendy and cheap compared to other brands. Prices start at $95 for most models with the option of progressive lenses. High-index lenses are one option that I chose. If your lens looks bulky, this option will give you thinner and thicker materials for an extra fee.

Upon selecting a frame online, you see information including measurements, materials used and a short description that gives the frames character. “Arthur’s bold browline, keyhole bridge and slim temple arms ensure that no encounter leaves him unnoticed.”

I’ve been receiving some attention for my Warby Parkers, and I could see every smile. It would force smiles out of me when I didn’t expect any.

The frame I chose is named Arthur. Its measurements are 49-18-140: That’s lens width, temple arm length and bridge width. It comes in three colors: green spruce, sugar maple and Gimlet tortoise. I chose sugar maple, a simple brown tone mixed with black textures. Green Spruce resembles something like emerald and the Gimlet tortoise is a smoky mixture of black and yellow. Every other frame had its selling points, but Arthur was the one for me.

You may be wondering why they’re so cheap. Warby Parker actually designs their glasses in-house, eliminating any licensing fees. Their frames have been praised by ELLE Magazine, Esquire, Vogue and GQ. Warby Parker can hang — always.

Not to mention they have an online virtual try-on feature. But if that doesn’t work for you, you can request five frames to conveniently try on in your home. Just in time for the selfies.

Warby Parker is a great brand. I had asked some people for their opinions, and they agreed they would rock Warby Parker as their next pair of glasses. I felt like I was seeing with a new set of eyes when I made my purchase because, at that moment, I became part of a huge movement trying to make a change in the world.

Email Stephen Nguyen at

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