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I'm afraid of my new glasses.
April 10, 2007 7:31 PM   Subscribe

I have one eye with great vision and one with extremely poor vision. I see fine with both eyes together. If I start wearing glasses now, will I have to depend on them forever?

I have had really poor vision (in the 20/200’s) in my right eye since I was a kid. I can see fine with both eyes together and I haven’t needed to wear glasses at all. A downside to this is that my eyes get really strained, tired, and dry by the end of the day, and my distance perception is shot (no tennis for me). I went in to get my eyes checked to possibly get glasses that I could wear when my eyes get tired, and the first eye doctor I visited said something to the effect that my eyes are used to working together my whole life, and that if I wear glasses now the frames will either just confuse them or my eyes will become accustomed to the glasses and then I won’t be able to see like I used to without them.

I went to another eye doctor and he said that it’s not a problem and I can wear glasses, and my eyes will still see like I used to when I take them off. So I got my new glasses and when I put them on everything is distorted and I still can’t immediately see clearly through the right lense. They said I have to wait for my eyes to adjust to the glasses for a few days or so. This made me think that if my eyes will have to take that long to adjust to the glasses, what if they can’t adjust back when I take them off? I’m not dependent on glasses now and I really don’t want to be if I don’t have to. I have two doctors telling me different things so I’m confused.

Has anyone else experienced this with having one good eye and one bad? Do your eyes adjust back easily after you take the glasses off?

Thanks in advance.
posted by koshka to Health & Fitness (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Yes, I have the same problem. I'd suggest doing eye exercizes in your poor eye, but there is no reason to not see well now with both eyes. I don't always wear my glasses-- i don't take them to the gym, I don't use them to read, and I don't wear them when I go camping. It does take a while adjust, but but as a non-doctor, I find that the adjustment period between wearing glasses and not (generally a few minutes) , is definitely worth the clear vision and lack of eye strain.

Wearing glasses isn't going to weaken either eye, and it's not like blood pressure medication that is a life-time commitment.
I am a little suspicious that there is something wrong with your new glasses. It takes some time for them to be comfortable, but it's not usually that terrible an adjustment.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 7:57 PM on April 10, 2007


disclaimer. I am a person who really enjoys being able to see well (I love art, photography, and sight-seeing), and I don't mind wearing glasses in the least. There is corrective surgery which could solve my problems, but to be honest, for me wearing glasses was easy to get used to. I got them when I was 35, and I really don't mind wearing them at all.

Have you talked to your doctor about surgery? It's pretty safe, and works very well for some conditions.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 8:04 PM on April 10, 2007


I am a little suspicious that there is something wrong with your new glasses. It takes some time for them to be comfortable, but it's not usually that terrible an adjustment.

When I look through the glasses everything slopes to the side, for example if I look at a square object, through the glasses one side of the square is shorter than the other. I asked my father how long it took for his eyes to adjust to his glasses and he said a couple of months.

I forgot to mention that after I wore my new glasses for about an hour, my eyesight was sloped and strange like it was looking through the glasses for a few minutes. So that scared me into thinking it would last longer if I wore the glasses more often.

My sister has had successful lasik surgery, but I don't know if it's for me. I've heard good and bad things.
posted by koshka at 8:10 PM on April 10, 2007


I have similar eyesight to yours: 0 in one eye -5.50 in the other. I was told that with glasses the difference in image size between my eyes would be dramatic enough to give me double vision while wearing them.

I see quite well with both eyes, but I've worn one contact for the past year and the difference in image quality is noticeable. You'd be surprised to know how much stereoscopic vision you may be missing.

It is a little disorienting when I take my contact out at night, but I'm usually fine the next morning.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 8:48 PM on April 10, 2007


I have two not-so-great eyes, but they're different degrees of bad. My eyes don't need to adjust when I switch between corrected and uncorrected vision, but they do when I go between glasses and contacts (I have both). It's something about the way I perceive dimensions that needs to adapt depending on which I'm wearing.

It takes me about thirty seconds of blinking or of things looking funny before my brain clicks into the other preset. It's not a big deal at all. The more frequently I alternate, the faster my brain adjusts; it's a matter of getting used to two specific situations.

The eye-brain connection seems to adapt very easily -- I've often heard that if you taped inverting lenses over someone's eyes, after a week, he'd be "seeing normally" despite the lenses. Take off the lenses, and within a week, his brain would be working just like it originally did and giving him normal vision again.

In your case, you're used to having bad depth perception. What you're noticing with glasses on is probably good depth perception. At first, it might take a little while for your brain to learn how to process the increase of information coming from your eyes. I think if you give glasses a fair shot, though, your brain will get used to the two different settings. It should be able to switch back and forth without more than a slight hitch, like mine has learned to do.
posted by booksandlibretti at 8:54 PM on April 10, 2007


When you are not used to wearing glasses your eyes will still overcompensate for your normal sight problem when you put on your glasses. it takes the brain a while to realise that this is no longer required and then to tell your body not to do this any more...second the opinion that it is well worth persevering with this adjustment process though!

I had to build up to wearing my glasses all day for a week or so. Just put them on for however long is comfortable and then take them off again, wait a while and put them back on. Now I can still see without my glasses but it does not take long at all for my eyes to get tired this way. When I take my glasses off it takes a few minutes for my vision to adjust again, too, and yes, this does include looking at funny looking objects...
posted by koahiatamadl at 9:16 PM on April 10, 2007


So I got my new glasses and when I put them on everything is distorted and I still can’t immediately see clearly through the right lense. They said I have to wait for my eyes to adjust to the glasses for a few days or so.

I think this is definitely true -- I got new glasses recently after several years and a fair amount of vision degradation and it took at least a full day to adjust to the new glasses, and things were strange for several days. Your change sounds much bigger than mine. After the adjustment I was certainly able to wear my old glasses, though it then became pretty clear to me how terrible my vision had been with the old ones (and how scratched they are). So I suspect if you do let yourself adjust to them you will start becoming aware of how terrible your vision is without them. (But I'm not convinced that your vision without them will necessarily get worse in any sense.)

How your asymmetrical vision fits in to this I don't know anything about though.
posted by advil at 9:30 PM on April 10, 2007


Can you not just wear a contact lens in the bad eye?

I notice a subtle difference in depth perception and peripheral vision when I switch between contacts and glasses, and have worn corrective lenses for over twenty years, so I don't think there's really any harm in having that "adjustment period" when you switch between lenses and no lenses.
posted by padraigin at 10:18 PM on April 10, 2007


I can see fine with both eyes together and I haven’t needed to wear glasses at all.

Well, strictly speaking I would bet that you're actually just functionally monocular.

When I look through the glasses everything slopes to the side, for example if I look at a square object, through the glasses one side of the square is shorter than the other.

This sort of visual distortion is a normal part of wearing glasses; you're just not used to it. Put on your specs and close your good eye, and look at the tv. If you move your head around so you're looking through different parts of the lens, the shape of the tv will change. You can minimize this effect, I think, by choosing expensive high-index plastics.

Or you can essentially eliminate the effect by wearing a contact lens in your bad eye. Is there some reason you've ruled this out?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:23 PM on April 10, 2007


Well, strictly speaking I would bet that you're actually just functionally monocular.

Is that good or bad? My other eye does have perfect vision. The doctor was surprised that my bad eye didn't become lazy or wander.

The only contact lense that would fit my prescription is a hard contact and I tried wearing one, but it was too uncomfortable.
posted by koshka at 10:47 PM on April 10, 2007


It's not fabulous. It means you have really bad depth perception, which you already know. It also means that a large part of your visual field is a vague blur. You don't notice this because your brain sort of ignores the blur [NOT NEUROLOGIST] and probably because you've built coping behaviors that you're not fully aware of, but I'm still not thrilled to share the road with you.

RGP lenses take time to get used to. A week or two of increasing use until it feels vaguely normal. Of course, some people just can't tolerate them. But they're supposed to be uncomfortable when you put them in.

Different people feel differently, but me, I really hate the spatial distortions. My vision is about -4.5, or 20/500, so my glasses are thick and full of optical might... and so are the distortions. Back in the day, they'd be strong enough in hallways or stairwells to make me feel slightly barfy. This is less true now with the high-index stuff, at least in my experience, but for me the decision to go (primarily) to contacts was dead fucking easy even if the first few times I put them in made my skin crawl.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:53 PM on April 10, 2007


I have mild farsightedness in both eyes, and some astigmatism in my left eye. Even so, I was shocked at how blurry things were through that eye when I had my eye exam. So I got glasses. This was almost 4 years ago (I'm 37 and had always had perfect vision). I can certainly get by without them, but I'm much happier wearing them and don't hate being "stuck" with glasses.

I agree with comments that say that your eyes aren't "working together fine" - the good one is doing all the work.

As for the distortion issue, you get used to it, just like you get used to moving your head to look at things instead of moving your eyes.
posted by O9scar at 11:55 PM on April 10, 2007


I have one really bad eye too, and (sounds like you too) only use my good eye. I have glasses which I almost never wear, because my brain is trained to use one eye and it makes no difference.

If you're sure your prescription's right, your brain is probably so trained in using the good eye it might take a while to get used to using both and that might be why it's blurry, I'd try wearing your glasses for longer when you're not too busy.
posted by piper4 at 3:21 PM on April 11, 2007


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