Problem with new progressive bifocals
January 6, 2019 5:19 PM   Subscribe

A couple of weeks ago, I got a new pair of progressive bifocals. I have had bifocals, and progressive bifocals, before and have not had trouble, but now I do.

It seems like the reading area of the lens is not big enough. The top of it is too low. Much of the time when I am reading (not using the computer or a screen), I cannot use it without trouble. I either take my glasses off, or push the glasses higher (higher than they can sit on my face), or I must put the book in some unnatural position in order to direct my eye low enough to read through the proper portion of the lens.

I have no idea whether the optical shop would have helped me with the problem if I had taken the glasses back right away. But now that it has been a couple of weeks, I am more doubtful. I think the glasses do come with a warranty against manufacturing problems.

When I picked up the glasses, the optical shop just gave them to me, and did not do any checking whatsoever. For multiple reasons, I don't plan to buy from there again.

Do you have any advice?
posted by maurreen to Health & Fitness (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I’d go back right away and assume they will help, as they should. The worst they can do is say no. But do insist. Glasses are expensive and you should be able to see! You’ve given it a generous adjustment period.
posted by warriorqueen at 5:36 PM on January 6, 2019

This happened to me recently and I brought them back and explained the problem. They did a quick test against the measurements they originally took and admitted the focal area (called 'segment height' I think?) for reading was off in one of the lenses by a millimeter or two, which makes a difference. It's pretty tricky to measure and may be different for each eye. They sent out for new lenses with the correct measurement. You can also go to an optometrist and ask them to measure (which is what I did because I trusted a doc more than a glasses place.) Now, if they've measured wrong that's a different story and a good reason not to return, but the two times I've gotten progressives they've told me it may take a week or two to adjust, so I think two weeks isn't a staggering amount of time in which to return and tell them they're not working.
posted by cocoagirl at 5:39 PM on January 6, 2019

Two weeks is not too long. I'm sure you have at least thirty days. Go back this week!
posted by chromium at 5:52 PM on January 6, 2019

I agree with the other posts. I got glasses and sunglasses last year, both with progressive lenses. After three tries, they couldn't get the reading area on the glasses in the right place and I got my money back. Weirdly, the sunglasses were perfect. Go back!
posted by XtineHutch at 6:57 PM on January 6, 2019 [1 favorite]

I love my progressive lenses, but out of the four pairs I've purchased only two have really worked for me. Definitely go back to your optical shop and talk to them about it. It is possible that the shop made a mistake and/or that the glasses can be adjusted to fit your eyes better.

It's also possible that you'd benefit from a different shape/configuration progressive lens. There are many options for shaping the two focal areas and the transitions between them. Some are more expensive than others. I don't know that they'd give you something else for free, but they might offer you a discount if you wanted to try a different option.
posted by Winnie the Proust at 7:45 PM on January 6, 2019

It seems like the reading area of the lens is not big enough. The top of it is too low.

I have progressives and I'm about to get new lenses. One of the things I was going to request was that the line between close and far be moved up. Reading books and magazines and such I have to use something like only the bottom quarter of the lens, which is a drag. So, you're not alone. Not sure how this request will be received, though.
posted by rhizome at 8:21 PM on January 6, 2019

Yes, definitely go back. I took a pair of progressive lens sunglasses back to Costco optical three times before I just asked for my money back. Am now doing the same with another optical shop--the issue isn't the prescription placement, but the way the tint is on the lenses. I returned the second pair for the tint issue and the fit; they are being replaced. In both cases, there was no question about trying to make it right. The second shop offered a 90 day return, no questions asked, so 2 weeks is well within reasonable range. Yes, I am picky, but I need my glasses to be right!
posted by Nosey Mrs. Rat at 8:51 PM on January 6, 2019

Go back to the shop! I agree, it sounds like the segmentation height is not where it should be. They should remake the glasses.
posted by leahwrenn at 8:58 PM on January 6, 2019

The phrase "task specific progressive lenses" carries weight with some optometrists for getting glasses that work well at monitor distance. Otherwise, some optometrists follow their training, which seems to assume that you're either going to be staring off into the distance through the top of the lenses, or reading a book held a foot away through the bottom of the lenses.

I've had better luck by finding an single correction that works at monitor length, and keeping a pair at home and at work near the keyboard. Fortunately, they were available as inexpensive readers.
posted by dws at 11:17 PM on January 6, 2019

Compare the new glasses to your old glasses for the same tasks and make notes about where/how the difference happens, if you can. This could be helpful for you to understand how to explain the problem, and it could be helpful for the shop if they can check out your old glasses.

I had the opposite problem - the reading lens was too high and I couldn't drive because all the street signs were blurry. Shop replaced them no problem.
posted by CathyG at 9:45 AM on January 7, 2019

Thanks for your encouragement to go back to the optical shop. I went back yesterday evening. The shop adjusted my glasses, and I can see clearly now.
posted by maurreen at 7:41 PM on January 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

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