There are two varieties of individuals on the planet: these below 50 and people over 50. By the point you learn this, I’ll have crossed into the latter cohort. And for the ultimate yr of my forties, I’ve been coping with a gradual deterioration in visible efficiency…specifically, an incapability to see issues clearly in shut proximity, additionally know as farsightedness.
This occurs with age. However for somebody who’s at all times had good imaginative and prescient, it may well come as a shock. It begins with small diversifications like holding studying materials farther from my eyes. And it finally results in prescription glasses. Nevertheless, should you’re approaching 50 and lead an energetic way of life—should you’re a bicycle owner, runner, skier, climber, golfer, triathlete—permit me to share my story of visible discovery.
This eyesight deterioration might be so sluggish that, at first, you get accustomed to a specific amount of blur. You don’t even notice phrases are blurry till you lastly capitulate and purchase studying glasses. After all, you don’t want a prescription for these. I took a guess at 1.5x magnification and purchased 5 pairs of primary studying glasses from Amazon for $15. The primary time I put them on, it was revelatory. The phrases had been so crisp and clear. I might spot the distinction between serif and sans serif fonts. My eyes might calm down. So I stashed a pair of those low cost readers in all places I may wish them: my desk, the kitchen, the automotive, the workshop, my journey backpack. I solely wore them after I wanted them and infrequently needed to carry them round. My children poked enjoyable of me, in fact, saying I seemed like an previous man. And it definitely wasn’t a very good search for Zoom calls.
After a number of months of this, I seen my situation was getting worse. It appeared my eyes had been giving up. I turned utterly depending on magnification to learn my telephone and pc display screen. At this level, my spouse satisfied me to get my eyes checked, which led to a prescription for progressive lenses i.e. the underside portion of the lens is magnified for studying, however the prime will not be as a result of I nonetheless have 20/20 imaginative and prescient. I let my spouse pick the frames. One week and roughly $700 later, I walked out of the optometrist’s workplace carrying fancy glasses with David Beckham’s title on them.
The lenses had been OK, however the frames had been a complete fail. They simply wouldn’t keep on my head. I used to be consistently pushing them up my nostril, particularly if I used to be sweating. I’d bend over whereas engaged on a motorbike, they usually’d fly off my face. Once I’d go mountain biking, I needed to swap out for non-prescription Oakleys or Smiths. These labored as they at all times had for distance imaginative and prescient, but it was more and more tough to learn my bike pc. Plus, the David Beckhams didn’t work for my pc setup. Since I exploit two 27-inch displays, I nonetheless needed to put on the Amazon readers. In different phrases, I nonetheless seemed like an previous man on Zoom calls.
I knew there needed to be a greater manner. I assumed somebody had solved these issues, and it was only a matter of discovering the corporate.
I’d heard about ROKA eyewear on Lance Armstrong’s “TheMove” podcast through the 2021 Tour de France. We’re about the identical age, and he appeared legitimately psyched in regards to the product. Once I checked the web site, it turned instantly clear that I’d discovered the answer to my issues. As an entrepreneur, although, I needed to study extra in regards to the ROKA story. So I reached out to co-founders Rob Canales (CEO) and Kurt Spenser (Chief Inventive Officer) to raised perceive how they discovered a lot whitespace in a market that seemingly had none.
Canales and Spenser based ROKA in a storage in Austin, Texas. As former Stanford All-American swimmers, they had been on a mission to redefine the usual for efficiency design. This was 2013, and the primary product they developed was really a wetsuit. As large as triathlons had change into, nobody was designing wetsuits particularly for swimming. They had been primarily for browsing, diving, and different water sports activities. They weren’t optimized for effectivity or a swimmer’s vary of movement. The ROKA wetsuit was an immediate hit. And although this solely focused a distinct segment market, it created a course of for the way Canales and Spenser would proceed to discover, innovate, and remedy issues for athletes and the athletically inclined.
The subsequent design problem they tackled was swimming goggles. Since typical goggles had been designed for lane swimming in a pool, the optics favored side-to-side visibility versus seeing out in entrance of you. However in open water, it’s all about seeing what’s forward. This led to improvements in tinting and a complete line of goggles for various environments. It additionally constructed a bridge from triathlons to the broader eyewear market.
Following an intensive R&D course of that examined unmet wants throughout the operating, biking, swimming, cross coaching, and health classes, Canales and Spenser realized in 2015 that the efficiency eyewear market had change into complacent. It hadn’t stored tempo with the evolving wants of athletes and people in pursuit of an energetic way of life—particularly these of us approaching life’s half-century mark. What’s extra, Warby Parker, the in any other case disruptive direct-to-consumer eyewear play, wasn’t pursuing the efficiency market.
ROKA’s first eyewear inspiration got here from Jesse Thomas, the champion triathlete from Bend, Oregon, who forgot his sport shades and gained the Wildflower triathlon utilizing a pair of $10 gasoline station aviators. So Canales and Spenser questioned why the basic aviator design couldn’t even be excessive efficiency? Alas, the aviator-inspired Phantom turned ROKA’s debut mannequin and is now supplied in a spread of various body colours, supplies, sizes, and lens sorts…together with prescriptions.
My private ROKA journey began with the in depth Progressive section on the corporate’s web site. First, I selected the Barton body design as the correct one for me. ROKA presents a try-at-home program, in addition to a digital tryout program with a ROKA rep through Zoom name, however I knew sufficient about my most well-liked fashion and face form to make this a fast determination.
Selecting a body color and style is definitely the straightforward half. Subsequent, it’s a must to choose from three varieties of progressive lenses—normal, final and pc particular—and three lens supplies—polycarbonate, trivex and excessive index—and three colours—clear, photochromic and blue gentle safety. There’s a spread of various advantages for every selection, that are completely defined on the web site. Lastly, you add your prescription and place your order.
This course of may appear overwhelming, but it surely’s actually about providing totally different options, applied sciences and value factors. For instance, the Barton can vary from $195 to virtually $700 with the entire premium upgrades. Once more, the digital tryout program might be very useful in navigating ROKA’s universe of high-performance prescription eyewear choices.
Initially, I ordered two units of fairly normal progressive Bartons: one set of clear and one pair of sun shades. I instantly realized, although, that I couldn’t use the progressive lenses at my pc, so I used to be again to the Amazon readers. This meant I had at the very least three units of glasses to handle for my day-to-day, and probably another alt-brand efficiency sorts for biking. So for my subsequent two units of Bartons, I selected one set with photochromic lenses and one other set with mounted magnification lenses and blue gentle safety completely for pc use. This turned out to be every thing I wanted.
ROKA has developed its personal, proprietary photochromic know-how, which darkens the lens in sunny situations. It turns clear lenses into sun shades and vice versa. The primary time this occurred, the transition was so seamless that I didn’t discover it till I took a selfie. Whoa! The clear lenses had been utterly darkish. They will take a second to go clear whenever you return inside, in order that’s the place the transition is noticeable. However the vary from crystal clear to darkish may be very spectacular. The truth is, I additionally discover the visible readability of the photochromic lens to be superior to the usual clear lens.
One of many key options for all ROKA glasses is the Hydrophilic GEKO™ grip on the temples and nosepads. If you happen to’ve worn high-performance eyewear for biking and so forth, you’re accustomed to this characteristic. They actually persist with your face. However ROKA has developed its personal tech, and it really works flawlessly. It’s a kind of options that makes you surprise why each glasses body, it doesn’t matter what its intent, doesn’t have it.
The most important profit for me, personally, is that the Barton body with photochromic lenses is now my do-everything eyewear. I transition seamlessly from driving to highway using and mountain biking—in sunny or overcast situations—to wrenching on bikes and going out to dinner. I even put on them on my indoor coach. I now not want separate pairs of high-performance shades for biking, although I’ll sometimes put on the Matador if I need a protect design with extra protection. And after I ski or snowboard, I stash the Bartons within the chest pocket of my jacket when carrying non-prescription goggles and simply entry them when wanted.
After all, I nonetheless must swap out for the Barton pc glasses in my workplace, and I’ve already gotten compliments from colleagues on the opposite finish of my Zoom calls. As a result of I’ll have crossed the 50-year-old threshold, however I definitely don’t must promote it.