Prior to leaving for BMT, I received the "Non-Prior Service Information Guide," dated December 2008, from my [Reserve] recruiter, that contained the following information about glasses:
220.127.116.11 If you wear eyeglasses be sure to bring them with you. Although you will be issued the standard military glasses, it takes a few days to fabricate them and provide the eyewear. Therefore, in order to prevent being "set back"; please bring your prescription eyeglasses. (If you wear contact lenses DO NOT bring them to basic training, wear your eyeglasses.)
After reading that, I knew I was going to have to bite the bullet and update my glasses. I probably paid upwards of $100, and that was just to get new lenses - no special coating, no fancy material, nothing. I paid out the nose and got an inferior product than I'd had before.
You'll wear your civilian glasses at BMT for the first three weeks, until your issued glasses arrive. With the military's plans to phase out the BCGs (Birth Control Glasses), I can't tell you with certainty what you'll receive now. Me, I ended up with this sexy pair of industrial strength frames, complete with a black elastic strap. Contain yourselves, readers.
You'll also receive a "Frame of Choice," to wear with your blues. You'll select these eyeglasses frames from a poster board with deceiving images of your future specs. Nope, you won't be trying these babies on, so it's a crapshoot as to whether or not they'll look good on you. [You can knock my BCGs all you want, but I prefer them to my frame of choice, which has a much narrower field of vision and slides off my face.]
When you graduate and go off to tech school, you've got options again, and don't have to stick with the BCGs or the frame of choice. You do have to follow regulations however. AFI 36-2903 states:
18.104.22.168. Eyeglasses and sunglasses may have conservative ornamentation on non- prescription sunglasses or eyeglasses, frames may be black or brown material or gold or silver wire. Brand name glasses may be worn with small logo on frames or lenses. Logo must be same color as frames or lenses. Conservative wrap-around sunglasses may be worn. Conservative, clear, slightly tinted or photosensitive lenses are authorized. Faddish styles and mirrored lenses are prohibited.
Before I left for BMT, I never even considered buying glasses online. What was I thinking?! I do everything else online, why not glasses too? Instead, I overpayed in the effort to get my glasses ready for training. Don't make my mistake - you've got options!
GlassesUSA.com offers affordable, high-quality lenses and frames, with intuitive search options and tons of options for complete frame and lens packages for under $100. Unlike at BMT, you can use their Virtual Mirror function to upload a picture of yourself to "try" on glasses and see what works best for you before you buy. The savings is even better right now - take 50% off your first pair of prescription eyeglasses with code EASTERSAVINGS. After that, use code Blog10 to take 10% off any order of prescription eyeglasses. You just can't beat the savings and the ease of use. I love the vintage-inspired section!
Ready to see what you'd look like with a new pair of glasses? Check out the Virtual Mirror for yourself!
[Disclosure: The following post was sponsored by GlassesUSA.com, who compensated me in return. Experiences and opinions described are my own. Discussion of Air Force Instructions does not imply support or endorsement by the United States Air Force, Air Force Reserve, Air National Guard, or the Department of Defense.]