My New Favorite Visual Lifestyle Accessory

A Useful Visual Lifestyle Product From a Unique Company

As an optometrist, I enjoy access to a lot of visual lifestyle products and services.  So it’s not often I’m head over heels for one particular company or their products.  That is, until I found Declan.  Check out the video and then read on below:

A Sunwear Surprise

If you follow The Visual Lifestyle, you’ll know my favorite sunglasses come from Maui Jim.  And, you might know I passed them up for a long time.

When I first tried them, however, I was astonished.  So much so that I was disappointed I hadn’t tried them earlier.  Check out this post to find out more about that story.

Don’t Call It a Lens Cloth

The same thing happened when I received my first product from Declan.  I was immediately impressed with both the utility and style of their upscale textiles.  And, I was kicking myself for not trying them sooner.

According to their website, Declan is more than a lens cleaning cloth, it’s a lifestyle accessory.  In their own words, it is “Engineered to effectively and sartorially clean your eyewear, touch screens, camera, etc.”

I was immediately impressed with both the utility and style of their upscale textiles.  Soon after, I had my own little collection of Declan products.  Now, I carry one with me every day.

The video above includes this line: “Use Declan, and you’ll discover an unexpected essential for your everyday life.”  I have found that to be true, and I think you might too.

Here are four reasons I carry Declan products with me everywhere I go:

  • Form: The Declan square I have with me as I write is both larger and thicker than traditional lens cloths.
  • Function: The added size and heft makes it a lot easier to clean larger surfaces, such as tablets and even my computer monitor.
  • Style: I have used Declan products both casually (tucked into the back of my jeans) and formally (as a pocket square).  They always get noticed, and trigger frequent comments.  I even had another eye doctor swoon over one.
  • Variety: Declan offers two sizes and two materials.  And, they offer other products with unfinished edges if it’s truly just a lens cloth you’re after.

As you can imagine, I have the opportunity to use a lot of different visual lifestyle accessories, many of them for free.  Yet I still choose to buy Declan products, and I use them daily.

I hope you’ll try them and enjoy them as much as I do.

Question: If you’ve tried Declan, what do you think?  If not, what is your favorite visual lifestyle accessory?  Please let me know in the comments below.


Author’s note: I do not receive financial or other compensation from Declan.  I simply write about their products because I use them, believe they work, and think you’ll benefit from them too.

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How Much Is Your Vision Worth?

You Just Might Be Asking the Wrong Question About Your Eyes

The high cost of health care is a common topic these days.  But what about the higher cost of not caring for yourself?

What Should You Really Ask?

Years ago I bought a motorcycle on a whim.  Another doctor at LaFollette Eye Clinic rode one, and I thought it might be fun to have one myself.

But I did not ride on a whim.  As soon as I got it, I enrolled in a motorcycle training academy.  I wanted to learn the rules of the road and more importantly, how to ride safely.

During a classroom session, the instructor reviewed different types of helmets.  After discussing the pros and cons of each type, he finished the lesson.  He never mentioned how much any of them cost.  After class, a man wanted to know how much he should spend on a helmet.

Immediately, the instructor asked, “How much is your head worth?”

A Different Approach

The instructor had a good point.  The man asked the wrong question.  He wasn’t concerned with what the helmet did (protect his head from injury) as much as wondered how much it would cost.

Now, I can be frugal.  I don’t like to spend unnecessarily.  But I’m rarely in search of the cheapest option.  What I prefer is value.  There’s a difference.

Cheap = I spend as little as possible.

Value = I get the best for the most reasonable cost.

Many people make the same mistake as my classmate when they ask about the cost of eye care and eyewear.  Instead of considering what eye care actually is (and what their eyes do for them), they seek cheaper options.

And yes, cheaper options exist.  Free eye exams, free glasses, cheap products and services have flooded the market.  Now ask yourself: Is this really what you want for life’s most precious sense?

Check out the following examples where cheap actually meant worthless:

  • Roofing: I knew a man who bought the cheapest of everything.  When he needed a new roof, he only considered price when he decided who would get the job.  You can guess what happened next: the roofer didn’t install flashing, and his new roof leaked terribly.  It caused thousands of dollars of damage to the interior of his home.
  • Accessories: Rather than save up for a luxury handbag she wanted, a friend decided to buy a knockoff.  She found a man willing to sell her a fake bag for a cheap price, but when she took her money out, he grabbed it and ran.
  • Air travel: Some airlines charge lower fares yet still provide value.  Others, not so much.  Once, I decided to fly a bargain airline that promised lower fares.  They delivered, but only on the fare.  Additional “service fees” quickly added up.  And, I had the worst flying experience of my life.
  • Eyewear: I know a lady who hates her eyewear.  This is something she wears on her face every day!  I noticed she had chosen a basic frame and lens set.  But when I suggested she buy a new (and better) pair, she refused on the grounds that her vision plan wouldn’t pay for it.  See this post to find out what happened next.

I understand the need to save on costs.  But I also know the pitfalls of choosing low cost over value.  So the next time you wonder about the cost of eye care and glasses, ask instead: How much are your eyes worth?

If you’re living the visual lifestyle, you already know: bargain basement prices are great if you’re buying a pair of pants.  But not so much if you’re talking about clear vision and healthy eyes for a lifetime.

Question: When did you choose cheap and regret it?  Please tell me about it in the comments below.


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They're Opening Real Stores at Record Pace

Glasses websites often suggest buying your eyewear online is the way to go.  But many of these same companies are opening physical store locations so people can shop in person.  What’s going on here?

Starting From Scratch

I have a friend who is a housing contractor.  Yesterday he told me he bought a house and tore it down, only to begin building a new one.


He said he’s rather start from the beginning than fix someone else’s mistakes.  If the walls aren’t square or the drywall is incorrect, it might cost him more to renovate.

To be fair, a house can settle over time.  But as often as not, it’s just poor craftsmanship.

How About Your Eyes?

The same can be true for eyewear.  It’s often difficult to fix problems caused by online glasses without starting over with a completely new pair.

That’s one reason why several online glasses retailers are adding physical locations where people can walk in and buy glasses.  Warby Parker Co-CEO Neil Blumenthal sums it up this way: “I don’t think retail is dead.”

What an understatement!  And while online companies would like you to think their physical locations are just their way of bringing you more of their online goodness, what’s being left unsaid?  There are other reasons online companies want physical stores, and they’d rather keep those a secret.  Because of course, they also sell glasses online.

Here are 4 reasons online retailers are really adding physical locations:

  • Fit.  Lets’ face it.  Online shopping isn’t known for precision, especially when it’s something you wear.  It’s common for people to order several outfits or pairs of shoes, only to keep one (if they keep any at all) and send the rest back.  And how many of those “keepers” quickly lose their appeal?  In a physical store, you can trust an eye care professional to get the fit right.
  • Finish.  A digital photo isn’t going to tell you anything about texture, flex, or feel.  It doesn’t matter how sophisticated the software, it won’t replace holding nice glasses in your hands or feeling them on your face.  Is that beautiful tortoise frame matte or glossy?  Is that sleek metal heavy or light?  And more importantly, which one will work better with your particular prescription?  These are questions a good optician can answer for you in person.
  • Style.  Have you ever bought a piece of art or decor that looked great by itself but just didn’t work in your home?  Chances are high this will happen with eyewear.  Even if it fits you, that gorgeous frame in the photo still has a high probability of not looking right.  Eyewear is meant to frame the face.  Which is wonderful if it emphasizes your positive features.  Not so much if it brings attention to ones you’d rather minimize.  A professional can help you find the best styles for your taste, your fashion sense, and even your face shape and features.
  • Vision.  Many patient surveys verify what your eye doctor already suspects: the most important part of eye care is clear vision.  And if vision is most important, then you need to be more concerned about the lenses than the frame.  There are dozens of companies that make lenses, and hundreds of lens brands you can choose.  And, some are much clearer than others.  Good ones offer clear, comfortable vision, and others are unwearable.  When you order glasses online, your lens choice is limited (if you get to choose at all).  On the other hand, ordering glasses from an experienced professional is the best way to know which lenses will give you the clearest most comfortable vision.

These are just a few reasons I’m not a fan of online glasses.  But then, if you’re living the visual lifestyle, you probably already knew that, didn’t you?

Question: Have you ever ordered something online that just didn’t live up to the hype?  Please tell me about it in the comments below.


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