Pushing the boat out
Senior lecturer at City, University of London, Byki Huntjens (pictured), tells OT about being prescribed her first pair of spectacles during a university clinic
21 January 2020
How many pairs of spectacles and sunglasses do you own?
I own seven pairs of spectacles and I am only counting the ones with an updated prescription. Plus, I have about six pair of sunglasses, which are a mix of prescription and non-prescription, as I do wear contact lenses occasionally.
Can you describe your favourite pair?
There are two. The first is a neon pink pair from Theo, which makes people turn their head and some even stop me in the street to comment or ask where I got them. The second pair is also from Theo; they are grey with an orange top, which is also quite striking.
What styles do you usually go for?
As outrageous as possible, for British standards. I do think I am still holding back a bit. I would probably go for more impact if I was still living in the Netherlands.
Who would you pick as your style icon of glasses wearers and why?
Iris Apfel, who is the perfect example of how spectacles can be part of jewellery.
How long have you worn spectacles for, and what prompted you to go for your first sight test?
As a 19-year-old optometry student I was prescribed my first pair of spectacles by the university optometry clinic because of a lack of binocularity during my practical exams with the binocular indirect ophthalmoscopy headset as well as Volk. One cycloplegic refraction later, I walked out with a bright blue pair of specs, which were impossible to get used to as a latent hyperope. I remember taking the lenses out at some point and just walking around like that for a while because I loved the frame as an accessory. I was hooked.
I own seven pairs of spectacles and I am only counting the ones with an updated prescription
Do you wear contact lenses?
Only to the gym and during holidays because I suffer from dry eye. However, I really like wearing spectacles, so I don’t mind.
How important is eyewear to reflecting your personality?
Very important. I think most people know me because of my eyewear. My frames seem to define my mood; the colour reflects how I’m feeling that day. And most days I decide what to wear after I choose my spectacles.
What are your top three tips for selecting the right pair of frames?
- Try different shapes and colours and shop around. You may think you know what suits you, but you will be surprised about the varieties available in different shapes and sizes, materials and shades. Try everything on. And I always visit multiple opticians when I am abroad
- Take a friend with you; someone you trust who is honest but dares to push the boat out a bit. This can be really useful particularly if you start doubting halfway through the process
- And lastly, surrender. Let the staff do their thing. They do this for a living and know what fits and suits you.