New glasses wearer with questions about second prescription
January 26, 2017 4:17 PM   Subscribe

I started wearing glasses a year ago. I just got an updated prescription, and the glasses filled from them, and the change isn't going as smoothly as expected. I have questions if this is a transition thing, or a problem with the glasses, or what.

For background, I have astigmatism, much worse in my right eye than my left. My first prescription barely had any correction for the left eye, but the doctor thought it best not to write the "full" prescription for my right eye because it would be too big a change to make the adjustment. He gave me just enough to renew my driver's license, basically. This year he noticed a little more astigmatism in my left eye, so he gave me a slightly stronger prescription for that, plus full correction for my right eye.

I never had any questions or concerns about my first pair of glasses. Sometimes I got annoyed having them on my face, but that's it. The improvement was obvious and there were no visual side effects. The transition to my new prescription isn't going quite as smoothly, so I don't know if I was lucky the first time or what. I should probably also mention I got my new glasses from Zenni Optical, and I measured my PD myself, so it's possible I made a mistake there.

First question: I've noticed that I can see "ghost images" of lights with my new glasses. The same kind of effect you get when looking at lights through multiple panes of glass. I was just walking downtown in the dark and it was very noticeable with all the headlights and streetlights. I never noticed this with my previous prescription. Is this expected with certain kinds of prescriptions or glasses styles? Or does this mean the lenses aren't quite right?

Second question: My optometrist suggested getting my new prescription in my first pair of frames, which sounds like a great idea because I love them. Unfortunately I changed jobs last year and my new insurance won't cover lenses from there anymore. Can I go to any eyeglass store and expect them to offer this service? Even if they don't carry the frames themselves? Or is there some other way I should go about this?

Thanks in advance for your help.
posted by brett to Health & Fitness (18 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Are the ghost images worse in one eye than the other? I see those in both eyes, and I have very bad astigmatism; I'm inclined to think it might be because your prescription is strong.

Sorry, I don't know the answer to your second question.
posted by gideonfrog at 4:23 PM on January 26, 2017

Second question: It can definitely be done, but some places won't do it. They will claim that your frames are damaged and that they can't do it. I don't know if this is a scam to sell you new frames or not.

Your optometrist's office can probably measure your PD for you. Ask them to do it and see if it's the same as when you measured it.

You should ask your optometrist about the ghost issue. I have fairly bad astigmatism and although I have a lot of other issues and see light halos, I don't know what you're describing. Just go back and ask them to check your vision with your new glasses.
posted by radioamy at 5:04 PM on January 26, 2017

I get the ghost lights and I have astigmatism. I've just gotten used to it. I just got a new pair of glasses last week, and I sprung for the anti-glare, which has helped immensely. Also, I measured my PD wrong when I bought from Zenni a few years back and got horrible headaches from it.
posted by Ruki at 5:27 PM on January 26, 2017 [3 favorites]

Call your eye doc and ask. I had a more difficult transition than usual with my current pair of glasses when I first got them - also went to eye doc and then ordered online. At my follow-up discussing all of this with the eye doc it turned out that I could have called and they would have helped me out (or let me know if the online store could help).
posted by bunderful at 5:38 PM on January 26, 2017

I can't answer the ghost light question, but I recently had new lenses put in old frames. They made me sign a waiver that they wouldn't be responsible if the frames broke in the process, but everything went smoothly.
posted by elphaba at 5:50 PM on January 26, 2017

Have you had the new lenses checked against the prescription to make sure they were made correctly? Sometimes mistakes happen. I've had new lenses remade due to mistakes in the past.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:33 PM on January 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

How long have you been wearing the new lenses? I find that sometimes it takes me up to a week to get used to them.
posted by greta simone at 7:58 PM on January 26, 2017

Regarding your second question, some places will do this. I had it done on my last pair of glasses when I couldn't find frames that I liked. Not all places will, however, so it's probably a good idea to call a few places to find out their policy.
posted by SpacemanStix at 8:01 PM on January 26, 2017

"I just got an updated prescription, and the glasses filled from them, and the change isn't going as smoothly as expected."

Like Thorzdad said, take the time to go back to your eye doctor and they can check them to make sure they are correct. They can do that on a machine.

Longer story short, I recently got new glasses with bifocals and they DID NOT WORK. I felt like Mr. Magoo when trying to work on the computer or read a newspaper. Today I went back the the eye doc, he checked the glasses and they were made to half of the bifocal strength I needed. Factory error. New glasses ordered.
posted by ITravelMontana at 8:07 PM on January 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

A comment on zenni... I too bought my first ever reading glasses through zenni (also for astigmatism) and they were fine... or so I thought. After the hinge wore out after a year of very light use, I got a new pair through Warby Parker... and the difference in quality of both the frames and lenses is substantial compared to zenni.

This is not necessarily a recommendation for WP in particular, but more a statement that sometimes a $20 pair of glasses gets you exactly a pair of glasses worth twenty bucks. I would probably still get zenni glasses again, but only for back-up or disposable purposes.

With regards to your question, the "ghosting" and other distortions that I experienced with zenni lenses disappeared with the new glasses (using the same prescription)... So the advice given above to perhaps have your lenses checked for correctness might be a good idea.
posted by jimmereeno at 8:21 PM on January 26, 2017

I've only been wearing glasses since November 2015, but my experience has been somewhat similar to yours. Certainly the rough transition to new lenses -- when I got my new glasses a couple months ago, I actually spent a few weeks feeling mildly seasick all the time, even though it wasn't a huge change. It wasn't fun, but it did work out.

Also, I have astigmatism, and I've had my own issues with ghosting, although it was on more than just lights in my case. I'm still working on resolving it, but I was told that it is probably an issue with my prescription -- but it may be different in your case, and I don't want to give medical advice I'm not qualified to give. Anyway, whatever it is, I would second any advice to have the lenses checked. You might see if your optometrist offers follow-up "prescription check" appointments.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 8:51 PM on January 26, 2017

Personally I think Zenni is just garbage. I bought one pair of glasses from there and they have never been right even after trying to wear them for months. I copied the PD and everything from the paperwork my doctor gave me and it's like they just did something else entirely. Used the same exact numbers for a pair from Warby Parker and those came out perfectly.

So yeah, Zenni sucks IMO.

As for using your existing frames, yes, I've done that and a good eyeglasses shop will be able to do it.
posted by joan_holloway at 9:27 PM on January 26, 2017

I've never had any ghosting issues with my warby parkers (I've had 3 pair) - I got an eyeglass-specific checkup and prescription at my eye doc, only to find out they left my PD off, so I measured mine myself, as well. I also have astigmatism (which makes the lenses a fair amount more expensive at WP, but they do anti-glare coating at no extra charge).
posted by destructive cactus at 11:22 PM on January 26, 2017

Zenni sucks IMO.

Well, this is definitely a YMMV thing, I've gotten about 5 pairs from there and been really pleasantly surprised by them. No ghosting, no scratching (despite how rough I am with them), only one of those pairs have broken and that was after about a year and a half of every-weekday wear, around the same lifespan that most of my pricey eye-doctor ones had. (The many pairs are a fashion thing, not a replacement thing.)

I don't know if the ghosting is PD related but it might be - when I was a child I had ghosting with every pair of glasses, I thought it was just something I had to put up with, I didn't realize it wasn't normal. Sometime in my late teens or early 20's it stopped, and I'm guessing something about my face size or shape might have settled into place or become easier to measure? Just a theory, though.
posted by gloriouslyincandescent at 12:43 AM on January 27, 2017

I've been wearing glasses for years and the last pair I got before my current ones, I had a horrible issue with ghosting in my eye with astigmatism, and headaches. It was my very first pair of rimless glasses. After 2 tries, the doctor threw up his hands and suggested I go back to wearing a full rimmed pair. I got the new pair back, same prescription, and it was perfect. I just wanted to mention that in case you bought rimless -- it's possible that's a factor. He said something about how the missing edges don't prevent reflection in the same way that full rims do.
posted by possibilityleft at 4:37 AM on January 27, 2017

I make and sell glasses, but not yours.

So, on the ghosting.

This is a problem sometimes with Anti-Reflective coatings, adjusting to the differences in what light is reaching your eyes. If you had an AR coated lens before, I'd stick to that. Going back to plain plastic or poly can be an adjustment. If this is your first AR pair, it's just something you adjust to.

PD is almost certainly a factor in this, as is the OC of the lens, as is a wide spectrum of measurements. The average person can handle these measurements being off by about a millimeter, and some people absolutely need them dead on. No offense, but almost everyone who does it themselves does it wrong, and if they think it works it's because they are lucky enough to fall into the tolerant end of the bell curve. Have an optometrist or someone with the proper tools take that measurement.

Second question: My optometrist suggested getting my new prescription in my first pair of frames, which sounds like a great idea because I love them. Unfortunately I changed jobs last year and my new insurance won't cover lenses from there anymore. Can I go to any eyeglass store and expect them to offer this service? Even if they don't carry the frames themselves? Or is there some other way I should go about this?

It really depends on the eyeglass store, most of them make their profits in selling frames and will want to push you to buy new, but as far as I know most locations of the top 3 optical chains can make lenses to fit old frames. You might need to push a little bit, salespeople often have quotas and sales incentives, but there is no reason that a lab would be unable to. However, if you have semi-rimless glasses, very old or damaged frames, or very expensive frames they are far more likely to refuse, as these are harder and riskier to work on.

All of this assumes single vision, if this is a bifocal or progressive, there could be other problems.
posted by neonrev at 7:27 AM on January 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

I get the ghost images only when my glasses are dirty, so it might be something to do with a different kind of material/coating?
posted by easternblot at 7:33 AM on January 27, 2017

I'm not clear on whether you got your prescription update from an ophthalmologist or an optometrist, but I will tell you that if your prescribing doc is an MD, this is one of the few areas where a non-MD seems to do better. No one can beat a ophthalmologist for giving you solid care for eye health, but glasses prescriptions are something that optometrists, who figure them out far more often, do much better. So what MAY be going on if you got an M.D's prescription is that you should spring for one of those cheapie exams at, for example, Lens Crafters, so they can find the problem causing the ghosting effect.

Second, it will be difficult for a glasses shop to update your prescription in your old frames if said shop does not carry those frames. But lots do carry the same frames, so all is not lost. Just show the glasses shop your current frames and ask.
posted by bearwife at 9:13 AM on January 27, 2017

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