It's certainly true that glasses available on the NHS have taken an upturn in the fashion stakes. When I first started wearing glasses the only choice was to pay out an extortionate amount for designer glasses (which my parents were not about to do) or have some of those hideous NHS glasses that came in an abundant array of colours - pink, blue or brown.
All looked equally silly and you could tell the poor kids a mile off by the fact that they were all wearing these silly glasses. In those days, designer glasses were only for the wealthy. But does that still hold true today or have manufacturers and designers decided to bring us all up to date with designer glasses that don't cost an arm and a leg to pay for?
It's quite easy to spend 400 pounds on a pair of designer glasses that are going to do the same job as a normal pair with the exception that if you look really, really closely, you might see a designer inscription on the side. And who bothers to look that closely at other peoples face furniture? My son had terrible eyesight when he was young and, feeling sorry for him, I invested in a mega expensive pair of flashy designer glasses for him which lasted all of one week before he lost them!
And what about the agonising trips to the opticians to find the right glasses for you. You spend half an hour sat in a room similar to a surgery waiting room, you spend an equal amount of time sat behind those ridiculous mad professor frames while the optician decided on the state of your eyes and a further half an hour mulling over the myriad of different glasses frames to find a pair that you don't feel daft in.
Unless, that is, you're like my grandmother and pop into the nearest chemist and find a pair of magnifying glasses that 'will do'. These may help in the short term but are not specifically made for your eyes and can do more harm than good in the long run.
All that can now be a thing of the past. Once you have your prescription you can buy designer glasses over the internet at a very reasonable cost. They will be made specifically to suit your eyes and will come at a fraction of the cost of high street opticians. Designer frames from Gucci and Hugo Boss among others can be bought over the internet at a quarter of high street prices so, at last, function does not have to come before fashion.
There are several things you do have to ensure to make sure you get your designer glasses to fit properly when you purchase them from the internet. Firstly, you have to know the distance between your pupils to the millimetre, this is not rocket science and can be done by an inexperienced friend or relative. Next, you choose your frames. But how will you know whether or not they're going to suit you?
Some sites provide a service where you can load in a photo of yourself then superimpose the glasses frames onto that photo and see how they look. If you're not happy that this is accurate enough, some sites will let you borrow frames to decide which ones you want before you go ahead with your prescription order.
If you're overwhelmed by the choice of frames, you could always be a bit cheeky and try some on in your local opticians, then search the internet for the same pair. This is best done on a Saturday morning when they are too busy to notice you! For the ultimate fit, be prepared to take your internet glasses to an optician to have them moulded to fit your head properly.
So, the upshot, it would seem, is that you can have designer glasses at a reasonable cost if you are prepared to shop around on the internet and are prepared for a few visits to the opticians anyway.
Optical expert Catherine Harvey looks at the sense of buying designer glasses as opposd to state health ones.