About six years ago, Renee Bachner, a New City optician, was at her wit’s end. The owner of Total Focus Eyewear on Main Street was working a full day, driving to the Bronx to care for her mother who had just begun to show the signs of Alzheimer’s, and then coming home to her three children.
She shared her experience (which she describes as “lonely” and “devastating”) with some of her customers who were also caregivers, and found they had similar feelings.
Bachner pondered how she could help. Having recently developed accessories for a new line of glasses she had designed — Renee’s Readers — she decided to donate a portion of their sales to the association. Should customers need their Readers repaired, their payment would instead be an additional donation. Bachner also hosts support meetings, and recently sponsored the Hudson Valley Walk to End Alzheimer’s.
Bachner describes Renee’s Readers as a modern twist on classic styles. The unique aspect of the glasses is that each style was designed and named after a specific customer of Bachner’s — “local people who were caregivers but who still followed their passion.”
Each style comes with a “personality card” that describes the reader’s namesake. Of course, there’s a “Sari” in honor of Bachner’s mom, who passed away three years ago.
“People get disgusted buying and replacing [drugstore] glasses within a year,” the optician says. “My glasses run from $45 to $95. They have prescription-quality optics and frames. In the long run, you’re saving money.” And helping a good cause.