Eyeglass woes; options?
August 2, 2021 12:59 PM   Subscribe

I have been wearing glasses for 50 years. I never had trouble with a new pair until now. What next?

I had recently developed two problems: 1) Previous glasses weren’t good for reading. 2) Eyestrain, in that I felt like my eyes weren’t working together. It seemed like my left eye was looking where it should but right eye was looking to the left of where it should.

I was able to get an appointment with an optometrist (Dr. A) before an ophthalmologist (Dr. B).

I was not satisfied with Dr. A: 1) He paid no attention when I told him that I was seeing double during the exam. 2) He didn’t speak to me about what I told him about feeling like my eyes weren’t working together. 3) He said my vision was now correctable to only 20/40 or 20/50. Before, it had always been correctable to 20/20 or 20/25. 4) He didn’t communicate clearly about some other stuff.

Then I went to see Dr. B. He said my vision is correctable to the same level as always, and new glasses should take care of all my vision problems. Dr. B. gave me a different prescription than Dr. A, different by a few numbers.

The optical shop is not attached to either Dr. A or Dr. B.

I picked up the new glasses four days ago. I have been having trouble much of the time since then. Mainly, my vision is blurry.

Distance vision is fine, but I have intermittent trouble with middle distance (using computer) and near distance (reading). Sometimes, it helps if I physically move the lens, so my eye is looking through a different part. But that isn’t always practical. I am trying to move my eye around the lens, to find the “sweet spot,” but that works only sometimes.

These are progressive lenses, but my previous pair were progressives, and I have had both progressives and bifocals in the past, with no rouble.

These lenses are shorter than I usually wear.

I just came from the optical shop. The lab checked the lenses and said the lenses are what the doctor ordered.

I asked if the shop could make any adjustment. The shop said all they could do is regrind the lenses. I figured that would be almost starting over, with the requisite cost, and no idea of whether that would help.

Do you have any suggestions?
posted by NotLost to Health & Fitness (14 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Response by poster: I forgot to mention, Dr. B actually had someone else (an optometrist, I hope) conduct part of his exam.
posted by NotLost at 1:00 PM on August 2, 2021


I am assuming you gave the shop the prescription from Dr B?
You should verify that you would need to pay for the new glasses - is there no guarantee offered by the shop?
Also, did the shop measure your pupilary distance when ordering the glasses and recheck it when you came back?
posted by soelo at 1:11 PM on August 2, 2021 [1 favorite]


Best answer: It's possible for the prescription to be right and the fit to be wrong. Progressive lenses are sensitive to seg [-mentation] height (where distance and reading areas are, vertically) and pupillary distance (where the center of each eye is, relative to the center of the frame). If either of those is off, the glasses won't work well. When I got my last new prescription I threw my eye doctor a little extra profit and had his office put new lenses in one frame for me. The fit was terrible and I had to go back to the office to get them remade. They rechecked my pupillary distance (I don't know if they changed it) and my doctor lowered the seg height for the remade lenses. The new ones are fine.

The fancy place where I buy frames has a really low tech way to fit lenses: they have you put the frames on with dummy lenses in place and use a fine point felt tip pen to mark where the lenses should be centered. It always makes me laugh that the place with such premium frames has such a low tech method, but my glasses always fit. I got new frames this year with the same prescription as my doctor put in my old frames, and the new ones fit perfectly from the start.

Also, it's only been four days? If they had to go to a "short" progressive lens to fit your prescription in a shorter frame, this could still just be adaptation and in another week you won't notice. I kind of hated the short lenses I had so I now only shop for frames that are tall enough to fit the regular sorts of progressives.

If it still sucks after a full week I'd ask if they can double check the fit for PD and height (or have your doctor do it). If they need to remake the lenses it probably won't cost you anything because it's usually priced in to what the lab charges them in the first place. This is something I wish I'd known when I first got progressives that didn't fit as well as they should have due to a sloppy PD measurement. I lived with a bad fit for a year.
posted by fedward at 1:36 PM on August 2, 2021 [3 favorites]


If your older glasses are working fine, then go back to the old ones.

Progressive lenses are made for a particular distance, usually far (for driving), not medium distance (TV watching or closer, like reading your phone). Zenni can let you pick which distance to focus for, as an example.

And as @fedward said, the fitment itself could be wrong. Wrong PD could lead to your eyes in the wrong position to take advantage of the lenses.
posted by kschang at 2:28 PM on August 2, 2021


There are a lot of different brands of progressive lenses, and then different product lines within each brand. Your new ones might not be as good for your RX as your previous ones were.

Also there are different lens materials. High index lenses don't have as good optics as regular plastic.
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 3:21 PM on August 2, 2021


FWIW, if you cannot make it to optometrist for PD re-measurement, you can buy devices that will measure PD for you off Amazon, should be like $15 or so. Basically it's like a weird pair of glasses. Wear it and stand in front of mirror, adjust until the lines are centered on your pupils, take off and read the distance off.
posted by kschang at 3:32 PM on August 2, 2021


Best answer: The last time I got progressives with a slightly shorter opening for the lenses, I was dismayed that the reading part was blurry. I took the glasses back to the optical shop, wanting them remade, but it turned out that the frames just needed a quick adjustment, done right there in the shop, and now they’re fine for reading.
posted by elphaba at 3:42 PM on August 2, 2021


I have progressives, but also have specific glasses made JUST for distance, reading, and computer /“office” use. I found that helped a LOT with my aging eyes
posted by saucysault at 4:29 PM on August 2, 2021


I could be all about the way your progressives are ground.

I’ve worn progressives for years and never had a problem until four years ago, when I ordered a pair on a new prescription from Zenni. They were awful, even after a few weeks. Since they were inexpensive, I paid for them out of pocket, not using my annual glasses benefit. I went to Sears (where I’d been buying my glasses for years) and got a proper pair. In the meantime I got a pair of bifocals and “computer” glasses from Zenni that serve as my backup glasses.

Now, before anyone thinks I’m slamming Zenni, I’m not. Apparently there are different kinds of progressive lenses, and Zenni (at that time) ground theirs in a different way than Sears (or Luxottica or whoever really owned Sears optical when it was still a thing). Zenni’s method just didn’t work for me. I recently heard that Zenni now offers several different “patterns” for grinding their progressives, and when I next need new glasses I’ll probably give them another try.
posted by lhauser at 5:20 PM on August 2, 2021


As I first began to age into presbyopia, I started using cheap-ass reading glasses acquired randomly from corner shops, eBay, gas stations or wherever just so I could read again without needing to stretch stuff out to arm's length. Eventually I got fed up with needing to keep several strengths of these about my person and switch between them for various tasks, and went to an optometrist to get a set of "proper" glasses I could just leave on my face and use for everything. Ended up spending about AU$700 on that exercise.

And despite several trips back for adjustment, and despite following the advice to wear them consistently for several weeks to let my brain get used to how they worked, they continued to give me all of the problems you describe in your question.

I have come to the conclusion that progressive lenses are simply not for me. I cannot deal with their narrow vertical angle of workable central vision, which turns reading anything wider than a bus ticket into some kind of neck workout. I've resigned myself to relying forever on an assortment of cheap-ass reading glasses in various strengths (some of which I occasionally even wear stacked, for close fine work) because although they're kind of fiddly they just work so. much. better.

If your own eyes are now drifting into a range of required correction where progressives are no longer working well for you either, perhaps this is an option you could explore too.
posted by flabdablet at 6:22 PM on August 2, 2021


Response by poster: Thanks for all your input. Here's hoping this is just an adjustment period. ... Yes, I did give the shop the prescription from Dr. B. ... The shop did measure the PD when I ordered the glasses. But an optician didn't double-check it when I picked up the glasses or when I went back today and reported a problem. ... Also, I forgot to mention this in my original post, but today, at least, it helps to close one eye.
posted by NotLost at 8:09 PM on August 2, 2021


Best answer: Seeing double smacks of a terrible PD. Check your past prescriptions to see if it's consistent. I've been going to the same optician for years, and yet the PD is all over the place despite the prescription changing only very slightly (which, given it isn't trending in any particular direction, I would say is just a random variation on the day). For me, the latest PD is in the boundaries of what my eyes will deal with, but it feels weird to use old glasses until my eyes adapt - the latest PD measurement is an outlier and I think it's smaller than anything previously. In your case they may have pushed it too far, and double vision - specifically, images side by side - will be the result.

Seconding the thing with progressives - if they take the measurement of the height of your pupils are with the shop frames, and if the nose pads are off, your ears are not the same height, or no doubt a number of other things, it can be in the wrong place. I spent two years wearing my glasses down my nose to correct for a dubious measurement (pupils too high on both lenses, I suspect, which is probably because my nose is not a normal shape). If only one eye is off then that would probably get you some sort insane making blur in one eye.

Get your glasses shop to check they gave you the right thing, because this sort of mistake happens. If they did, go talk to your optometrist about the prescription. You could even do both at the same time and see if either one of them can work out where the error lies. Typically corrections are free, because they made the mistake, not you.
posted by How much is that froggie in the window at 11:33 PM on August 2, 2021


Best answer: Seconding everyone saying it may be the fit of the frame, not the prescription or lenses themselves.

I have a tricky, high prescription and will soon need progressives. I had very expensive glasses (typical for me) made last year before COVID by the lab my eye doc uses. When I put them on, they literally gave me motion sickness and I couldn’t use them. When I brought them back, it turned out to be a quick fix: the frames were not curved enough; they were flat across my face. The optician adjusted the curve and fit of the frames themselves, and they were perfect after that. Like, she heated them up and gently curved them to fit the curve of my face—nothing I’d want to try at home. It had zero to do with the lenses, which were correctly made and the precise prescription my eye doc had given.

A good optical shop should have someone who knows how to adjust the fit of the frame and should do this for you. Not everyone will know how to do this; my optical shop has only one person who does. Hopefully your shop will, too.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 11:51 PM on August 2, 2021


Best answer: Do you have a prism in your glasses? Have they checked for that need? That is what my glasses need to avoid seeing double.

For some reason it took me multiple eye docs before one thought of it.
posted by aetg at 5:47 AM on August 3, 2021 [2 favorites]


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