Local eye clinics are providing clarity during the pandemic

After the pandemic hit Spokane, GARLAND VISION SOURCE was closed for two months. But Brett Hagen, eye doctor and owner of the eye clinic, says that once they officially opened their doors back up, business started booming.

It wasn’t just that they had a backlog of appointments to get through. Hagen says the number of people who ended their appointment wanting to buy glasses after their exam had increased, too.

“I don’t know if there’s a need out there, or if people are wanting something that’s functional for them but also a bit fashionable,” Hagen says.

Maybe it’s that, with so many of our social interactions consigned to faces over video chat, the traditional ways we show off our flair for fashion has been effectively cropped out of the picture. But glasses remain an exception — the front and center fashion accessory in every Zoom chat.

In fact, with people spending so much time staring at the screen, Hagen says, they’re “being a lot more specific about their vision demands.” They’re seeking specific computer glasses, or lenses that filter out blue light.

Staring at a screen for a long time, he says, can cause eye strain, a symptom of looking at the same distance without mixing it up.

“Every 20 minutes, you should look up and look 20 feet away for 20 seconds,” Hagen says.

The clinic has taken a wide variety of measures to ensure patient safety.

Masks are required for everybody. They ask that friends and family of patients wait in the car, and that only one guardian accompanies any minor. Every pair of display glasses that are tried on are cleaned with UV sterilizers designed to zap the virus.

Even visiting to browse the specs in the retail space now requires an appointment, which customers have had mixed reactions to.

“Some people really like a time reserved,” Hagen says. “It’s been frustrating for others who want to pop in and shop.”

Not every glasses retailer has been as lucky during the pandemic. Longtime family-owned downtown business COZZA OPTICAL is shutting down and is currently in the process of liquidating its inventory. Swing by now and you may be able to get a good deal on their remaining stock.

And check out some of the local eyeglass shops. BLINK EYECARE, on the South Hill, boasts over 800 pairs of frames. And EVERYTHING IN SIGHT OPTICAL BOUTIQUE promises personalized style advice as well as some tres chic European brands.

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