It serves eyeglass wearers of all types, but especially those whose tastes run toward the more exotic, colorful or international.
And it’s the job of Minnesota native David Dumangas-Klehr, optician and owner of Be Seen Optics at 5702 La Jolla Blvd., Suite 102, to help customers find just the right pair of glasses for them.
Dumangas-Klehr noted eyeglasses are timeless, having survived both the advent of contact lenses and LASIK eye surgery.
“Every time something new happens, like when contact lenses became big, disposable and really inexpensive, the optical world freaks out a little bit thinking, ‘This is the end of glasses,’ ” he said. “But that never happened. When LASIK surgery came, that was going to be the end. And that never happened.”
The optician said there is a new eyewear renaissance.
“Glasses are interesting again,” Dumangas-Klehr said. “They’re well made, lightweight and colorful. Glasses look good. You wanna look good, feel confident.”
Interestingly enough, Dumangas-Klehr never intended to be an optician. His career started in 1992 when he walked into a high-end eyeglass store to get two new pairs and they offered him a job. He then went from optician to store manager to a representative for a couple of eyewear lines (one he still carries).
Is it tough helping people find just the right style of glasses?
Noting you can’t type people walking through the door, Dumangas-Klehr answered that he first asks, “What are you looking for? Something more traditional? More interesting? Then we kind of go from there.”
Do people know what they want in eyeglass styling?
“Some know exactly what they want which makes it really difficult,” said Dumangas-Klehr adding what customers think they want, and what is actually available, can differ greatly.
For example, somebody might want a certain shade of purple he doesn’t have, or people want rounds. “And the rounds I have are not round enough,” chuckled Dumangas-Klehr. “It’s always easier with someone who walks through the door and says, ‘Make me look good.’ ”
Then the optician breaks out his alternative stock, more funky frames, or calming it down a bit with more traditional offerings. “You can gauge where they want to go by the first couple pairs of glasses,” he said.
What’s trending in eyewear style now?
“Plastic is huge. Colors, reds, purples, bright pinks, yellow, rounds are big,” Dumangas-Klehr said.
Prices at Be Seen Optics start at $175 a pair and go up to $700. Most of the frames carried by the optical business are manufactured overseas in Japan, Italy, Germany and France.
“We do small, independent companies,” said Dumangas-Klehr. “The majority of them are based out of Orange County where they are designed, but they are made in Japan (or elsewhere),” the optician said adding, where eyewear style goes, there are six or seven basic shapes that opticians work from and with.
An art lover, Dumangas-Klehr has lots of colorful paintings adorning his walls. He’s open to showcasing local artists in his eyewear shop.
An optometrist, Dr. Jesse A. Camen, is available twice weekly at Be Seen Optics for those desiring eye exams.