Hello everyone, and welcome to another of my reviews. In this article, I’ll be reviewing my experience at local eyewear label sightonomy.
A bevvy of independent eyewear retailers has burst onto the scene recently, offering trendy yet affordable spectacles that are better made than mass-market options. Curiously, many seem to be located in Chinatown including Foptics, the recently reviewed Otago Optical, and now the latest kid on the block (quite literally) is sightonomy. I paid a visit to its showroom and got a pair of spectacles done – let’s see how my experience went.
sightonomy – the Brand
sightonomy is co-founded by Shane, and launched just late last year. The name is a portmanteau of the words “sight” and “autonomy”, with the brand stating that its mission is to enable “the freedom of an individual to express one’s self through eyewear and the ability to act in the best interests of their vision”. In other words, sightonomy seeks to empower people to make thoughtful and well-informed decisions for their style and vision needs through its professional expertise.
Despite being just a few months old, sightonomy is actually helmed by decades of experience. Shane has been in the eyewear industry for over a decade, and is a certified optometrist. He first cut his teeth in an eyewear shop, before swapping over to working for one of the largest lens manufacturers in the industry. After a brief break from the industry due to the pandemic, Shane decided to return to the customer-facing side of the business by striking it out on his own with sightonomy.
Without further ado, let’s see if sightonomy is any good.
sightonomy – the Experience
sightonomy is located on Smith Street (the same stretch as the air-conditioned Hawker Chan), on the third story of a shophouse. The door can be easy to miss, so you’ll need to keep a keen eye out for the number 60B. Once there, you will need to ring the intercom, whereby Shane will buzz you in.
Upon setting foot into the shop, you will be greeted by warm earth tones, courtesy of the store’s wooden furniture.
The walls are decked in white, while white fluorescent lights drape from the ceiling to provide clear lighting. I particularly like the high ceiling, which not only gives the sightonomy showroom a semblance of spaciousness but also accentuates the sloping roof. Shane relayed to me that the unit used to be an interior designer’s office – and it shows. It’s easily one of the most aesthetic showrooms that I’ve been to.
There’s even a cute sightonomy bearbrick, which was a nice touch.
Despite being only a few weeks old, sightonomy has an impressive amount of frames to offer. Shane tells me that these frames are “in-house” – in other words, they can’t be found at other spectacle shops. I counted over 200 different frames being displayed on the wall-mounted shelves, so lack of variety certainly won’t be an issue here.
Like its fellow Chinatown eyewear counterparts, sightonomy’s frames are pretty affordable. Prices start at a mere $75 (including basic lenses), with the top-of-the-range models costing just $125.
To differentiate itself from its competitors, sightonomy stocks specialised frames and lenses. For example, it has quite a few children’s frames available, as well as lenses that are specifically designed for developing myopia care. The same goes for progressive lenses as well – sightonomy has quite a few “branded’ options available to cater for differing needs.
Loyal readers may know that I’ve covered quite a few eyewear shops to date – 5, in fact. That also means that I’ve quite a few spectacles in my collection, so I relayed to Shane that I wanted something different. After surveying his wares, I realise that sightonomy offers quite a variety of transparent frames, which was a design that I did not have.
Shane promptly handed me a few different options to try on. I was quite surprised at the number of transparent frames available – there were multiple options at each price point, from $75 to $105. I had a fun time trying on the myriad of frames, which to use a local proverb were all “same same but different”.
The transparent frame certainly offers a different look than before. As compared to the previous frames that I’ve gotten, the transparent frames are definitely more youthful, and simply make me look younger. Of course, it’s not a frame for all occasions – there are times when one wants to look more mature and formal. But for casual days, the transparent frame is a nice option to have, injecting a trendy “Kpop” look to the outfit. I won’t wear one with a suit, but with Uniqlo clothing (as pictured above)? Definitely.
However, if you prefer something more “sensible”, then sightonomy also offers a wide selection of acetate frames (Shane’s wearing one himself). I actually really liked some of them – in fact, I may return for the Wendall, which looked absolutely beautiful.
After 30 minutes of browsing, I managed to narrow down my choices to four frames.
As I couldn’t make up my mind, Shane kindly offered his opinion and advice, and elaborated on the different traits of each frame. After further deliberation, I eventually decided upon the Kieran as I found it eminently striking. Made from clear hand-polished acetate and stainless steel, the hybrid frame features a golden wire that runs around the circumference of the frame – a fascinating detail that set it apart from the other frames.
With the frame chosen, we moved on to checking my degree. The first step is the autorefractor machine, which Shane used to quickly obtain an estimate of one’s prescription before the eye test.
The second part of the visual test was fairly standard, and mainly consisted of reciting/guessing small letters on the Snellen Chart – nothing that you probably haven’t already done multiple times before.
Lastly, Shane also used a slit lamp to examine the anterior eye (front part of the eye) which includes the cornea, iris and crystalline lens. It is more commonly used in contact lens prescription, though one can still request for the slit lamp when making glasses just as an added precaution. It was clear to me that Shane knew his way around the different machines – I’ve gotten erroneous prescriptions before (at a mass market eyewear retailer whose name rhymes with pay), but I was confident that wouldn’t be the case here with sightonomy.
With the comprehensive eyecheck done, the last step was to choose my lens. At sightonomy, the price includes basic lenses, which feature anti-reflective and hydrophobic coating, scratch-resistance treatment, and UV protection. However, Shane recommended me a specialised lens by Hoya called the Sync III. Meant to relieve digital eye strain, the Hoya Sync III lenses feature distance power for everyday use and a ‘boost zone’ at the bottom of the lens. According to Hoya, this “…slightly increases lens power to support and relax the eye muscles so the eyes can focus more easily, relieving eye strain and enhancing visual comfort during up-close activities in a digital world”. As I do use digital devices rather frequently – like most Gen Z/Millenials – it was a no-brainer for me to opt for the Hoya Sync III lenses.
sightonomy Kieran – Review
After a week (the usual lead time is around 3 days, but my frame took longer due to the specialised Hoya lenses), I collected the Kieran from sightonomy.
First impressions were good, largely due to the faux leather case that the Kieran came in. The case has a luxe feel to it, and feels significantly more premium than the plastic cases that often accompany spectacles of this price point (<$100). There’s also a fairly thick sightonomy branded cleaning cloth, which is a nice touch.
The Kieran is well made too, with a reassuring heft to it that signals it’s made from acetate and not cheap plastic.
Even the temple tips (the ends of the “legs”) are made from hand-polished acetate – no cheapening out here.
Up close, the Kieran is strikingly detailed. I love how the thin golden wire surrounds its top half, giving it a pseudo-“half-frame” look. It’s an interesting design language that I’ve not seen before, and would certainly appeal to those looking for something different.
Being a combination frame, the sides of the Kieran are made from stainless steel, resulting in a less bulky frame as compared to full acetate options. The hinge feels robust too, and should stand the test of time. I also like the orange accents on the side, giving the frame a splash of youthful colour without being too ostentatious.
The Kieran also comes with silicone nosepads, which provide an adjustable fit. I personally prefer silicone nosepads to fixed ones – the former is often more comfortable due to its adjustability.
Stylistically, I found the Kieran to be eminently versatile. It works well with a casual T-shirt and shorts, but is also equally at home with smart casual outfits such as my recent Meiko Tailor ensemble. I wouldn’t wear it with a tuxedo, but unless it’s a formal occasion I found myself reaching for the Kieran more often than not.
Conclusion – so sightonomy “shiok” or not?
The Kieran is an affordable yet well-made pair of spectacles that possesses both style and substance. I should highlight that there are the Kieran comes in multiple colourways, but I find the transparent option (aptly named Morning Ray) to be the most unique. I also really enjoyed sightonomy’s aesthetic showroom, and appreciated the expertise of Shane which shone through during the eye test and lens recommendation. With most of its offerings being priced under $100 – but with “branded” lenses also available – sightonomy is a very viable option for both the budget conscious and those seeking better but pricier lenses.
Those interested in purchasing eyewear from sightonomy can quote “WAHSOSHIOK” in-store or when making your appointment to enjoy $10 off your purchase. After the discount, frame+lens from sightonomy start at a mere $65, while the Kieran would be just $85. That’s great value for money – I’m personally tempted to return for the more formal-looking Wendall.
View the full range of sightonomy’s offerings here.
sightonomy’s location: 60B Smith St, Singapore 058963
P.S: Check out The Shiok Store here – it serves as a curation of my favourite products from my favourite brands.
P.P.S: Do check out the new “Discounts!” page for exclusive discounts for Wah so Shiok readers! More brands will be added very soon – stay tuned!
P.P.P.P.S Shiok is a common word Singaporeans use to express admiration or approval. As of 2016, you can find the definition of the word in the Oxford English Dictionary.