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Subject: Advice needed about bifocals rss

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Through The Ages
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I've had reading glasses for a few years, but after a recent eye exam I just moved to "computer" (or "interview") bifocals. I sit in front of a computer most of the day, my mid-range vision isn't as sharp as it could be, and I'm tired of taking my reading glasses on and off.

The glasses do improve the clarity of anything mid-range, and I'm fine looking down with my eyes to read. So the glasses "work" in the prescription sense.

However, is it typical with these glasses that

1) you need to align your head towards what you want to look at--that is, anything peripheral will be out of focus? With my old reading glasses I could look at any angle and the focus was equally good. I feel like I'm wearing 3-D glasses or kind of looking through a jeweler's loupe (of sorts-the range is much broader than that!)

2) your eyes are tired and somewhat watery at the end of the day? I would have thought they'd be less tired. However, maybe there's an adjustment period.

If the above two items are relatively normal, I'll wait it out longer. Otherwise it's time to call the shop.

Thanks.
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Hammock Backpacker
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I've worn progressive bifocals for several years and it took a while to get used to them. There is a lot of distortion at the periphery but I don't notice it any more. I remember when I first got them it was annoying to have to move my head around to find that sweet spot across the face of the lens. But, again, I don't notice it any more and have gotten used to it.

Now, having more tired eyes at the end of the days seems a bit off in my opinion.

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David Debien
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I switched to progressives earlier this year. It was very distracting for a few days and mildly annoying for about a month. I don't notice them at all any more and I can read all the text on those crazy tiny game cards now!
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Isaac Citrom
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I purchased progressives as well by I regret them. I'm thinking of buying multiple dedicated glasses; I dunno.

I know they're called progressive but they're really not. For each distance you look at, your eyes, and the corrective lenses if needed, focus based on a single focal length. The shape of the lens determines that (in part).

Your eyes' actually are progressive in the sense that the human eye can change the shape of its lenses variably, like dialing a knob. There is no corrective device today that can do that. Maybe one day in the future we'll have glasses made of soft malleable lenses, whose shape can be changed by a micro-mechanical (or other means) method.

For now, we choose one or more common distances we look at, and the corrective lens is ground to produce exactly the required focal length. Until recently, we could cut the top half of one lens and glue it to the bottom half of a different lens, hence "bifocals". We even had trifocals.

With the advent of computer aided manufacture, now they have grinding machines that can grind a single lens with different thicknesses on various spots on the lens, so that the lens acts like a bi-, tri-, multi-focal lens, without the apparent lines created by the sharp jump from one lens thickness to another of traditional multifocal lenses.

But, with each piece of real estate on the corrective lens that they grab to grind to a specific focal length, each individual spot becomes smaller, and thus harder to quickly zero-in on. Moreover, each smaller zone is also less versatile, as the user must be looking in that one narrow and unnatural way.
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Rich Shipley
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isaacc wrote:
Your eyes' actually are progressive in the sense that the human eye can change the shape of its lenses variably, like dialing a knob. There is no corrective device today that can do that. Maybe one day in the future we'll have glasses made of soft malleable lenses, whose shape can be changed by a micro-mechanical (or other means) method.


Superfocus glasses work like that:

Quote:
Each "lens" is actually a set of two lenses, one flexible and one firm. The flexible lens (near the eye) has a transparent distensible membrane attached to a clear rigid surface. The pocket between them holds a small quantity of crystal clear fluid. As you move the slider or wheel on the bridge, it pushes the fluid and alters the shape of the flexible lens. Changing the shape changes the correction. This mimics the way the lenses in your eyes used to perform when you were younger.


I've reached the limit of my regular glasses and I've looked at them, but they are pricey (>$600).
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Walt
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jdberry wrote:
However, is it typical with these glasses that

1) you need to align your head towards what you want to look at--that is, anything peripheral will be out of focus? ...

That's typical for normally ground glasses, which are spherically ground. If you know anything about optics, you know that lenses aren't supposed to be spherical, but spherical is cheaper. Ask for aspheric lenses. They're specially ground, so you'll pay extra for them.

FWIW, maybe you just need some mid-focus glasses for work. Bifocals are good when you have to change focus fast, like between the road and your instruments while driving. If you spend most of your time staring at a display, glasses just for that distance might be the way to go. Of course, if you're switching between that and reading documents, you have a good reason to go for bifocals. You may need to get pretty assertive with the optometrist: sometimes they get overly attached to reading at 18" and distance at 20'; I switched optometrists because the one just wouldn't give me a prescription for 3' (big display).

Some lens materials cause more distortion or chromatic aberration. I can't stand polycarbonate lenses, for example.
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Through The Ages
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Thanks, all. Some good information!
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Richard Hedke
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jdberry wrote:

1) you need to align your head towards what you want to look at--that is, anything peripheral will be out of focus? With my old reading glasses I could look at any angle and the focus was equally good. I feel like I'm wearing 3-D glasses or kind of looking through a jeweler's loupe (of sorts-the range is much broader than that!)


This is the default with bifocals, a lens grind about the size of a thumbnail. You can get a larger and/or wider lens on the bottom, but you have to order the lens that way and pay extra for it.
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Bat Profile
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Same boat. Needed readers about 4 years ago because everything til about 16" is total mush. Anything after is fine without glasses and total mush with them.

I have been putting off getting real glasses for too long.

I wear them up on my head when not reading and have to explain why about 10 times a day....I want a heavy duty glasses chain but finding one that doesn't look like it came straight from the Quilting Expo is nigh impossible.
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1 Lucky Texan
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you could get a pair of dedicated computer glasses. Of course, going back -and-forth a lot would be inconvenient but, if you are camped out for more than - what? - 20-40 minutes ata time, it might not be so bad. I think there's even a special light tint for extended computer users.

I have tri-focals now. They are OK in general. I have never tried vari-focals bur, my wife wasted a lot of money on hers. She now has bi and trifocals.

You should also investigate the settings on your computer, you can default to larger icons and text. I sometimes don't use any glasses and boost the font size for simple reading.
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Dave, or "Phineas" or "Tolstoy" or,
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I have just gone through this myself. My first pair of progressive lenses a few years ago were intolerable. I could not even read a 15 inch computer screen from side to side without turning my head. Unacceptable. I went back, and they ordered me a different kind of lens. I wish I could remember what kind. If I remember, I will post it. In any case, it was a huge improvement, like magic.

This year, I tried to keep the same frames. I found out that is not a good choice, as it is extremely hard to get the lenses correct when they don't have the actual frame to work with. Plus my strong prescription does not help. 3 times I went back, because one eye would be looking through the focused zone, but the other was not. Invokes vertigo.

This time, a wonderful optician named Juli ordered me a different type of lens, and new frames. I was told that the closer the frames are to squarish shape (as opposed to the aviator style or round or rectangle or oval) the better it works. And, the higher they are from top to bottom, the better. And she was right. Another pair of "miracle" progressives are on my face now. (Remind me to get Juli a Christmas present!)

Also, a trick I tried was to focus on something far away, while covering one eye at a time (not closing one eye at a time... that messes up your vision). Watch to make sure that the focus for each eye is the same, and that the image doesn't "shift" up/down or left/right. Then do the same for something held as if you are reading it. That will tell you if your lenses are centered on your eyeball. If not it can cause discomfort. Sometimes, if you notice one eye is unclear compared to the other, you can adjust your head so you can tell the optician where the clear spot is, to help them adjust the frames, if possible.

Here is some info from Consumer Reports:
CR.org wrote:
If you have a strong prescription, you may see more comfortably (and stylishly) with high-index lenses, which are made of thin, lightweight glass or plastic. They can cost a bit more than regular plastic lenses, though.

If you have progressive lenses—which provide a gradual change in power for different viewing distances and are an alternative to bifocals and trifocals—it may be worth springing for the precision diamond-cut high-definition (digital) lenses. A newer option, they are made using computerized surfacing equipment that results in superior visual performance. But they can cost at least 30 percent more, our investigation found.


And here's something about those adjustable glasses someone mentioned:
Electronic eyeglasses
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Scott Russell
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After using contacts and reading glasses for a while, I now use two contacts one to read and one to see far, works great for me, didn't work for my wife. (I guess ~80% can adapt). My prescriptions are down to 6.0 for far and 4.25 for near.

When I can't wear contacts for whatever reason, I have progressives. My last pair didn't have a lot of peripheral distortion, but my current pair does. Not nearly as bad as having to turn head for computer screen, but anything more than ~45 degrees gets real fuzzy.

Just this morning I was talking to a guy that sells glasses to optometrists and he mentioned a special grind that reduces the peripheral blur. Probably the aspherical mentioned above, but I always had associated that with astigmatism. I will be sure and be specific for my next pair.

It sounds like you could get some improvement, hope it works out well.
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Dave, or "Phineas" or "Tolstoy" or,
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I just remembered the type of lenses I got with my 2nd pair a few years ago that made all the difference: Physio, by Varilux. I think there are a few different Physio types. My current lenses are still unknown to my memory. I would have to call the office to get the info, I guess.
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