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Do You Have to Be a ‘Progressive’ to Wear Progressive Lenses?

From the minute I put those wretched glasses on my face, I knew something was wrong...

by
Paula Bolyard

Bio

October 10, 2013 - 1:00 pm
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M13-12 Progressive Lenses(1)

“Failure to adjust.” That’s what Becky, the cheerful optician, said my problem was with the new progressive lenses. “Failure to adjust” sounds like it should be in the same category as “doesn’t play well with others,” or “runs with scissors,” so her words stung a little and I inwardly berated myself for not making more of an effort to make the new glasses work.

For the last few years I have been getting by with dollar store reading glasses as my near vision deteriorated, apparently in anticipation of my 50th birthday.Β Twenty years ago I had surgery to correct my distance vision and had enjoyed a blissful, lens-free life until about five years ago, when I began to squint when reading small print. Then came the embarrassing stage of holding everything at arm’s length. I avoided reading glasses as long as possible, but eventually, my arms became too short and I could no longer read anything smaller than a STOP sign without glasses.

My dollar store reading glasses, if not fashionable, were cheap enough that I could have a pair handy at all times. Well, at least, I owned enough glasses that I should have had a pair handy at all times. I had a pair in my purse, my car, the living room, the kitchen — even the bathroom. Nevertheless, I could never seem to locate a pair when I needed them. It seemed I had a pair for every room except for the room I was in. I’d find myself at Walmart, unable to read any of the prices and straining to find the English print sandwiched between the French and Spanish warnings. I’d fumble around in my purse looking for the reading glasses, only to remember that I had taken them out of my purse at home because I couldn’t find the pair that had somehow migrated from the living room to who-knows-where.

It could be worse. Recently my husband and I we were at a restaurant with friends — Bob Evans, where people my age are supposed to eat, I’m told — and my friend’s husband had to borrow my reading glasses because he didn’t have his handy. Right there in Bob Evans! At least I haven’t sunk that low yet.

I mean, not completely. I recently returned home from a trip to Kohl’s (Kohl’s is where almost-50-year-old women like to shop because they jigger the sizes so that it looks like you wear a size 4 when you really wear a size 6) and told my husband about how much trouble I had trouble shopping without my glasses, which had mysteriously disappeared from my purse. Again. His eyes widened as he contemplated the prospect of his wife loose at that store with a Kohl’s charge, oblivious to the price tags she was unable to read. But I had a 20% off coupon! (Or maybe it was 10%. It was a little blurry.)

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All Comments   (10)
All Comments   (10)
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My optician offered a thirty-day guarantee, so I gave those progressives a full month. Those blasted progressives required me to change, so I got rid of them. They had their chance.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm 64 and have worn glasses since I was 9, though I got by without them through most of my teens and into my late 20s; vanity and all that. My job put me in front of a computer for 8-12 hours a day, sometimes more and that wreaks havoc with eyes. When I became a supervisor, I used to lean hard on the ever vain women who worked for me that they should get reading glasses that they only had to wear in their cubby. Went to progressive bifocals in my late 40s. I think I've given blood at every prescription change since then; things just aren't where your eyes tell you they are and it takes a little time for your eyes and brain to negotiate an understanding. In a PC move to save energy, they put some dim, sickly yellow lights in the stairwells in my building. That setup may have been OK for eagle-eyed 20-somethings, but for bifocalled 50-somethings it was a deathtrap. I was far enough up the food chain that my screaming b*tch fit got those stairwells lit up like the surface of the Sun.

Cataracts led to a lens implant to correct the astigmatism in my left eye, and after a few hours of double and confused vision, I could see better without glasses than I'd been able to see with them in 20 years. I still wear glasses, mostly because as you all know, I spend several hours a day in front of a computer, but I can function without them. For many years the very first thing I did when I woke up was reach for those glasses and if they weren't where they were supposed to be, I had to wake my wife up to find them for me. Anymore, I rarely even put them on until I've had my shower and my coffee.

Modern eye surgery is little short of miraculous and uneventful if you don't think about what they're doing; ask them to turn the music up loud so you can't hear the wierd sounds the lasers and other "stuff" make. It isn't an unmixed blessing; you will carry artificial tears or one of the "dry eye" remedies with you for the rest of your life, and you'll have the same trouble keeping up with your Systane or whatever as Paula describes about keeping up with reading glasses. To Paula's main theme, I had trouble adapting to every prescription change and I have scars to prove it, but I did eventually adapt. It's just a fact of life and ageing that your eyes will begin to fail and going down stairs will become the central challenge of your life, but getting old beats the alternative.
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
I had RK surgery -- what they used to do before there was laser surgery. They actually made little incisions in your eyes. It was a little awful to have them coming at you with the scalpel, but the next day I was free from glasses and remained that way -- with a little better than 20/20 vision -- for 15 years. One of the best investments I've ever made.

I gave those blasted progressive lenses three weeks. In that time I could not read a computer screen without eye strain. My patience ran out.
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
Paula,

I'm 54. I wore glasses for about 40 years, all told (from 3rd grade through my late 40s). Early on it was all for distances, eventually I had a pretty good astigmatism, but it corrected itself after awhile, mostly. Meanwhile I began to develop problems close up also, so I went to progressive lenses. Had a serious problem with them for the six months or a year I wore them, in that if I was looking at something where I needed to incline my head to see it properly, the change in angle would cause the view (what I saw) to shimmer or waver, as I changed the part of the lens I was looking through. This gave me vertigo, badly enough that I went and got lasik. When they did it, they corrected one eye for distance and the other for proximity. The idea is that you change which eye is dominant, when you look at something close or far away. It worked pretty well for several years, and even now things have to be pretty small for me to be unable to read them. However, I have adopted the cheapie reader thing, because of course the close-up vision continues to deteriorate as time goes on. When I discover I can't find a pair, I just remind myself to buy more the next time I'm out. I've got probably a dozen pair around the house, lost somewhere, but I don't care. They're cheap, and occasionally I can even find a pair.
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
They're hanging out with the orphan socks.
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
I helped a friend move to an assisted living facility several years ago and thought it was funny that we found reading glasses all over her apartment. They were in drawers, in coffee mugs, under the couch, in the bathroom. We probably found two dozen pairs of glasses. I don't think it's so funny anymore. Thank goodness for the dollar stores!!
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
Monocle necklace.
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
Funny :)

But you're fortunate. I got my first "progressives" at age 38. Yes, it took some adjustment, but then I was already adjusted to wearing glasses whenever I was awake since age 7. That might be part of your "adjustment problem." And the moving the head thing ... is so true. That and re-learning how to read in bed were the hardest part for me.

I envy you your glasses-free years.

48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
Love the progressive lenses I got this summer (turn 49 on Sunday.) Eye doctor's place had mock up progressive lenses and mock up tri/bifocals. Progressive lenses were a no doubter. Did take a day or two to adjust, especially going down stairs (ever since an old Chihuahua tripped me on the stairs, I, um, have "healthy respect" for stairs.)
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
I respectfully question your conservative credentials, then. :)
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
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