Jun. 14th, 2011

kuangning: (pureglasscup fuck it)
Irritation of the day: I am shopping for goggles. I wear prescription eyeglasses, and since I have only one pair, I'd rather not lose them to wind the first time I turn my head to look at traffic while going 30mph. Since I expect to do a little night-time riding, but not nearly half and half, I do not want to buy two pairs of goggles. Photochromic ("night-to-day" or "transition") lenses have been around forever; it's easy to find a pair of regular sunglasses or goggles with that feature for $30-$40. Goggles that fit over prescription eyewear (but are not photochromic) are also ubiquitous, and around the same price.

Try to find a pair that combines the two features, however, and the options narrow to two offerings, both put out by the same company ... and the price inexplicably jumps to $100.

Why $100, you wonder? I did too, and then I did some math. As you know, Bob, disposable contact lenses are definitely an option for many people. In fact, they're an option for me. If you switch to contact lenses, you are then able to use regular photochromic goggles, for the aforementioned low price of about $30 ... but the six-month supply of contact lenses that is the usual unit for such contact lenses wil run you ... can you guess? Yep, about $70. And in 6 months, you'd have to order more contact lenses. Hmm.

Another option is goggles that are, themselves, prescription lenses. This might appeal -- especially if, like me, you have only one pair of eyeglasses and you'd rather not risk them to the road. (My spare very emergency pair are my last prescription eyeglasses, fairly battered and about five years old.) Prescription goggles, however, even without the photochromic lenses, will cost you $175 -- the equivalent of those non-photochromic goggles and a year's supply of contacts. (You do change your prescription every year, don't you?) Adding on the photochromic option to your prescription lenses will, ooh, add another $100 to the price. Just in case you don't change your prescription every year, you perceive, since you're now signaling that you plan to keep these things awhile!

I am thoroughly disgusted. And yet, pretty much out of options. There is no affordable photochromic alternative that doesn't mean risking my independence, since without my eyeglasses I can't see far enough in front of me to make it home from the corner store -- and my current prescription is rather more than a year old, so of course replacing the glasses would have to wait until I could afford a new eye exam as well as new glasses. The final decision? I'll be getting clear, non-photochromic goggles that will work both day and night, and hoping the two-inch visor on my helmet is really enough to let me handle the daytime glare. Less safe for everyone I share a road with, less comfortable for me, but then, if you can't afford to pay prices set arbitrarily high for technology available (in plastic lenses; glass ones are even older!) since the 90's, do you really deserve safety or comfort? Clearly not.

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