New glasses aren't all that they're cracked up to be. Thoughts?
August 14, 2014 6:40 PM   Subscribe

I've recently got new prescription eyeglasses. Unfortunately, the new eyeglasses aren't feeling right, and I'm not sure if this is part of the normal adjustment process or if something went wrong. Details under the fold.

So, I'm myopic, but not sure about astigmatic. I'm a bit unsure of exactly what's wrong with my vision, other than the fact that I'm nearsighted and need glasses at all times to function. Been that way since I was about 10, and I got my glasses replaced every year, or every other year. I can't see at all (as in, everything is a blur except whatever's maybe 2 or 3 inches away from my eyes), so glasses are a necessity.

The last time I got my prescription changed was in May 2012. I didn't have time to renew the prescription last year due to timing. My eyesight has been fine lately; just seeing a bit of degradation with my vision due to the prescription becoming older/outdated. Nothing unusual.

Recently, I went to the eye doctor and an eyeglasses store, to finally take the exam and get a new prescription, and therefore new eyeglasses (stylish frames for the win). My new eyeglasses were picked up today.

The employees at the store (which is a private, local store, not a chain such as Lenscrafters, and has great reviews on Yelp) adjusted my eyeglasses, and in the process, adjusted the actual "size" of the eyeglasses. I'm not sure exactly how to describe it, but they brought the two sides a bit closer/further together (can't tell).

What makes this so complicated is that I have an half-grown right ear, so they have to adjust it specifically to make sure it fits/is on properly. That always takes a bit longer, but it always works out in the end.

After leaving the eyeglasses store, everything felt a bit funny... slant-ey. Not exactly unusual for new glasses, but things felt a bit too slant-ey, and the ground didn't seem stable/straight like it did with my old glasses. Also, I felt like some very small areas were "pinched", and when I looked upwards, with my eyes on the bottom area of my glasses, everything seemed to kind of "lift" up, if that makes sense. I'm sorry, I know I suck at explaining this. It was kind of hard to be able to walk properly, so I swapped to my old glasses, where everything suddenly felt familiar again. When I arrived home, I tried using my laptop with my new glasses. No go. The laptop screen literally looked kind of... abstract. Again, hard to explain - kind of "oval" in a very slight way, and some areas just looked... weird. I don't know how to explain it. I'm now wearing my old eyeglasses.

What's also making this more complicated is that I'm Deaf. I'm afraid somehow the exam kind of was 'messed up' or that they took down the wrong information/wrote down the wrong old prescription. I'm not sure if this is the normal adjustment process, because when I replaced my eyeglasses in 2012, my prescription was unchanged from 2009, but I had no problems at all viewing my computer screen, and everything was somewhat slant-ey at the beginning, but not as bad. I think.

I know you aren't my doctor, and the best step is to talk to the staff there. However, I'm also not wanting to go through all that hassle, especially given the communication barriers and all, and I'm not sure if this is the normal adjustment process. Everything through my new eyeglasses are crystal clear, just slant-ey and a bit 'pinched'/weird looking in some areas. My old eyeglasses was more wide/square, while the new ones are more round - but I don't think that makes a difference now, does it?

Sorry for the convoluted, scattered explanation. This has been so stressful for me. Being Deaf, eyesight is of utter importance to me, and I am not sure what's going on. I'm just a bit lost with the whole process - I had a hard enough time understanding the differences between myopic/astigmatism.

Thanks for any help!
posted by dubious_dude to Health & Fitness (26 answers total)
Are they progressive addition ("no-line bifocals")? If the new lenses are both rounder and significantly smaller, then you might very well have this experience at first. If you don't adjust to them within a few days, go back for a refit or change of lens shape.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 6:50 PM on August 14, 2014

Response by poster: I don't think so. The only addons I had were:

-Crizal anti-glare/scratch
-Hi index 1.67

The 'no-line bifocals' were an option, but didn't get them, because I don't wear bifocals - I'm 28, so not at that point yet.

Not sure how to upload/share pictures here with the visual differences between the new glasses and the old. The actual size isn't THAT significantly different. If it helps, the old frames are Bourbon Joe4003 135, the new is Dtort 48 20-140 mod.3032

Here's the information about the prescription:

OD - sphere, -6.00; cylinder, -0.75; axis, 096; dist PD, 35.5; near PD, 0
OS - sphere, -7.75; cylinder, -0.75; axis 065; dist PD, 32; near PD, 0

No idea what those mean, but here you go
posted by dubious_dude at 6:56 PM on August 14, 2014

I had a Lenscrafters screw up the optical center of my lenses once (not sure whether it was the measurement or the lens making) and it had an effect similar to what you're describing - clear, but just not quite right, and very distracting and not at all okay for regular use. It maybe worth asking there, or at your eye doctor, if they can re-measure your eyes and compare to how the lenses are made to see if that's the issue. If it is, perhaps they can remake them for you.
posted by olinerd at 6:57 PM on August 14, 2014

Ok, looking at your prescription, you've got pretty bad vision, and a little astigmatism on top of that. This sounds like it might be an issue with distortion. I think this could probably be caused by incorrect pupil location. Do those gridline distortions in the link resemble what you're seeing at all?
posted by Maecenas at 7:01 PM on August 14, 2014

Response by poster: Maecenas - I'm not clear with what you mean. With my old eyeglasses (the one I'm wearing now, not the new ones from today), I can see just fine. Am just nearsighted, is all. I don't see any distortion or anything weird, if that makes sense. Can you clarify a bit?
posted by dubious_dude at 7:05 PM on August 14, 2014

I'm astigmatic and if my glasses aren't aligned right I get the kind of distortion you're describing. I think you need to go back and have them check the prescription and tweak the fit. I know the communication part is a headache but if the glasses aren't usable you're entitled to get them fixed. It's not an uncommon thing to need to have them checked.
posted by leslies at 7:06 PM on August 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

I've returned glasses when the prescription didn't seem right. The optician didn't act like this was an unusual thing. I would go back. Maybe you could print off the salient points of this AskMe, since you've explained it well here.
posted by The corpse in the library at 7:19 PM on August 14, 2014 [3 favorites]

You definitely want to check the pupil location and other adjustments, like people have been saying (they screwed the pupil-centering up on my glasses the first time around and I actually saw double). It might also take time. My prescription is -9.5 and -11 - I'm VERY nearsighted, with a bit of astigmatism. When I got my new glasses, simply because their shape was different from my old ones, they had different distortion on the edges. It was very hard to get used to - I think a couple of months. I was very disappointed too - I paid extra for the special super thin digital technology which is supposedly amazing ("is it amazing??" they kept asking me) and for me they were just regular glasses that cost an arm and a leg and that made the ground wobbly. I'm so nearsighted that I cannot escape major distortion on the sides of the lenses, even now, but your brain (well, my brain) does adjust. Ask your doctor, but he/she might suggest wearing the new ones for small periods of time, and then increasing.

You don't mention this, but is it financially/medically feasible to get contacts? Alternating between my contacts and my new glasses tremendously helped the adjustment process because I didn't have to wear them all the time.
posted by microcarpetus at 7:23 PM on August 14, 2014

I have astigmatism and the first little bit with a new prescription is often a bit weird-feeling, but if it persists more than a couple of days, I nth the advice to go back in and get them to figure out what got screwed up.
posted by Aleyn at 7:52 PM on August 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

Was there a substantial change in the prescription? When I first got glasses, everything looked as though it was leaning away at a 45 degree angle for the first couple of days, until my brain got used to it.

If it lasts longer than that, definitely go back though! The prescription could have been written down wrong, or the person in the lab read it wrong when they made the lenses, etc. etc.
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 7:57 PM on August 14, 2014

Not an optical professional, just a glasses wearer with lots of time and sensitive vision.

Sphere is the magnification (nearsighted/farsighted) correction, cylinder is for astigmatism. Axis is the angle of the cyl correction.

Unfortunately, when the lenses are cut to the frames sometimes they don't get the position just right. Most people won't notice or will adjust to this so there is a "tolerance" that they can allow by law. Up to 7 degrees of axis in low prescriptions, if the numbers I saw were right. That is not ok in my case, as I have mostly astigmatism, so I have "no tolerance" put on my prescriptions. That has helped.

Anyway, if after wearing only the new glasses for at least two days you still have the slant or get headaches or just can't get comfortable, take them back. The adjustment might be wrong, the lenses might be faulty or put in wrong (I've had them be put in on the wrong sides before!) or cut badly.
posted by monopas at 8:04 PM on August 14, 2014

A new correct prescription can cause weird effects like this. Give it another day or two. If it's still not right, then yeah, they screwed up.
posted by J. Wilson at 8:06 PM on August 14, 2014

Response by poster: Contacts aren't possible - my eyes are very sensitive when it comes to anything coming in close contact with them (no pun intended) so that's out. Glasses also match my face better.

As for the difference with prescription, I'm not sure of the exact amount, as I don't have the original prescription for the older eyeglasses, unfortunately, with me, but it was most likely a small amount, as 2012 to now isn't that long, and the vision in terms of clarity wasn't that big of a difference from my current eyeglasses (I can see clearly, just have to squint a bit) - just more 'crisp.' So, I would have to guess that the jump in prescription was small, minor. Going off the top of my head with this, though. I hope that made sense.

The thing with this situation is, I remember very clearly feeling a bit of a slant-ey effect in 2012 with the new eyeglasses then, but when I looked at my iPhone/computer, it was still normal. When I looked at both screens today, they both looked 'oval'/curvy/just... weird? Not sure how to describe it. I also don't remember as intense of a slant as in 2012. That's why I'm not sure if it's an adjustment. In fact, looking at the computer screen was so hard that I couldn't bear it. I've never had this problem when getting new glasses in the past.

I'm not sure how to best frame this. I know opticians are there to make a business, and while the reviews are positive on Yelp, I'm not sure if they're knowledgeable enough to understand my situation, which may (or may not?) be somewhat unique. I'm afraid they'll try to 'brush me off' by insisting that it's normal, etc. I'm also not sure if the adjusting of my glasses/moving of the lenses a bit was what threw this off. I honestly don't know. I'm just completely at a loss. I'm not sure if I have 'football' vision or not. Seriously, I'm just at a loss of how to handle this. That's why I'm chiming in here for help.

I guess I'm just sensitive to changes, but I was in 2012 too, and I definitely don't remember the change being such as jarring.
posted by dubious_dude at 8:22 PM on August 14, 2014

I have contacts and glasses in the same prescription. Whenever I don't wear the glasses for a long time, and then wear them, I get the same "bowl" effect, where straight lines like doorways etc are curved strangely. It goes away after a couple of days.

If it doesn't go away after a couple of days, something is wrong and you should head back to the optometrist.
posted by zug at 9:25 PM on August 14, 2014

Response by poster: At the danger of threadsitting, zug, my situation is different because the prescription is new, and I've been wearing eyeglasses before the 'upgrade' today. Also, I was trying to explain that I've never had such a problem adjusting before, in the past.
posted by dubious_dude at 9:32 PM on August 14, 2014

I've had eyeglasses that took some adjusting to but it was always just a little fuzzy, like I was wearing an old prescription; not that things seemed off-kilter themselves. So i would also agree with people who are talking about the positioning. In my case I have really brutal astigmatism (my eyeballs are basically football shaped) so when I got new glasses a few months ago they spent nearly 30 minutes checking and measuring and measuring and marking up the fake lenses in the test frames and marking and... it was endless. Because it's very important that where my glasses sit on my face is directly in line with how the lens is shaped out from where my pupils are. I suspect that in adjusting the glasses by bringing the two sides together they messed with this alignment. When you go back they can check and re-measure. They may need to remake the lenses for the new measurements, but they should be willing to do that for free (mine does).
posted by marylynn at 9:59 PM on August 14, 2014

I have worse vision than you and it's not uncommon for something to be off and I have to return for an adjustment. I'm a difficult case and even opticians usually drop their jaws when they see how high my prescription is. My point is, your typical optometrist or optician may not have a lot of experience with those of us with higher power prescriptions. I get my prescriptions done now by an optremist who specializes in less typical cases like mine. Just go back and tell them something isn't right. Yeah it sucks with the miscommunication that can happen when you're deaf but that's how these things get resolved.
posted by Aranquis at 11:14 PM on August 14, 2014

My last pair of glasses just weren't right- I gave it a few days as I knew the optometrist had made a minor change to my prescription, but in the end I took them back. Turned out the lab had made an error grinding the lenses. Regardless of what has caused the discomfort, I'd go back and have them checked, they want you to be able to wear their glasses comfortably.
posted by k_tron at 1:54 AM on August 15, 2014

I have a prescription that's about two thirds as strong as yours must be, and every time I get a new pair of glasses I experience the world curving away from me at the edges. A lot like what I think you mean by "the ground didn't seem stable/straight" (I almost fell off the curb in front of the Lenscrafters when I got a new pair at 19) and "'oval'/curvy/just... weird".

This effect lasts at least two days for me, and I've noticed it for as long as four following a new pair. When it first started probably after eight years of wearing glasses and my eighth pair of frames I sat at that Lenscrafters I almost tumbled in front of (having turned around and marched back in) for probably half an hour having them recheck the prescription and reseat the glasses on my face. No amount of adjustment helped, I eventually got bored and decided to wait and see if it worked itself out, which it did. That's been my strategy since.

I saw a new optometrist nine months ago and she casually dropped that I might experience some distortion with a new pair of glasses after reading the results of my exam. She actually had a name for it but I was so excited about someone finally Officially Recognizing My Problem that I immediately forgot what it was. Mind like a tin sieve.
posted by books for weapons at 2:29 AM on August 15, 2014

High-index lenses can often cause the distortion effect you describe.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:14 AM on August 15, 2014

If it's any reassurance: I've had the odd slanty thing happen, too, and I also wear high index glasses. I don't think this will be anything your optician hasn't seen before.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:31 AM on August 15, 2014

According to your prescription above, you were given lenses that are corrective for astigmatism. That is something that can change over time. I'm mildly nearsighted, and used to have astigmatism in one eye. My eyes are changing as I age, and now I'm less nearsighted and the astigmatism is gone. I can't wear my old glasses at all now because there's a big swirly distortion in the middle of the lens where it is correcting for astigmatism that doesn't exist anymore.

So even if the power on the lenses aren't significantly different, the astigmatism correction may make them harder to adjust to. Give it a couple of days, and then go back to the optician if they still aren't right.
posted by jeoc at 3:15 PM on August 15, 2014

My understanding is that blood sugar variation can change how your eyes test. If you have any diabetes-type issues you may want to take that into consideration.
posted by cleroy at 9:04 PM on August 15, 2014

What type of lenses did you get? Some people have trouble adjusting to polycarbonate lenses. My wife went through several pairs of glasses until we figured this out (Thanks to a very old Ask Mefi question). Getting plastic lenses made a huge difference.
posted by nalyd at 6:56 PM on August 16, 2014

Response by poster: @nalyd; I'm not sure. I know for sure those were hi-index lenses, but I'm not sure if they were poly, glass, or plastic. How could I go about telling the difference?

I've been trying to use the glasses, and they work fine when I'm sitting and staying in one area, or being a passenger in a car, but when I'm walking or using the computer screen, forget it. Too uncomfortable.
posted by dubious_dude at 11:00 AM on August 17, 2014

I have no idea if you ever got your glasses fixed or not, dubious_dude, but I had the same issue recently and I thought I'd share the solution, in case it helped you or anyone else reading this post.

With my latest pair of glasses (I have a very high prescription plus astigmatism but they are not progressives) I was having a hell of a time and similar sensations to you. I wore them for a whole day and it gave me a terrible headache; I couldn't drive safely with them on. I knew this was beyond normal adjustment to a new prescription.

When I brought them back the next day for adjustment, the eye doctor and tech looked at how they were sitting, and both agreed they were too flat. The tech shaped them so there was more of a wrap around my face, bringing the outer edges of the lenses just a touch closer to my temples. (My frames are plastic, so she used slight heat and pressure to shape them. I would NOT try this myself.)

This completely cleared up the problem--my peripheral vision was completely screwy when the lenses were sitting too flat. The tech also adjusted the nosepads so they sat differently on the bridge of my nose, but the major problem was 99.9% fixed with the curving of the frames. If you haven't been able to get the glasses right yet, I encourage you to take them back and ask them to try putting a slight curve on them to see if it helps. Or, take them to another place if the original place isn't helpful. I can't emphasize enough how this turned my high prescription, very very necessary new glasses from literally unwearable to perfect. There was nothing wrong with the prescription itself; it was entirely on how the frames were positioned on my face.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 5:32 PM on December 19, 2014

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