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Help with Bifocals


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72 replies to this topic

#1 of 73 ONLINE   Mike Frezon

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Posted July 18 2007 - 06:53 AM

Yup. I'm old. 48 to be exact.

I've worn glasses since I was about 10 years old (for being nearsighted). A couple of years ago my ability to see things close-up deteriorated quickly and my optometrist prescribed bifocals.

Not knowing much about bifocals, I opted for progressive lenses. I got them at a chain called Empire Vision (might only be a northeast chain, I don't know).

The change from single-vision lenses to the progressive bifocals was drastic...and difficult at the start. But, like most things, I got used to them...but still maintained that certain activities (like watching TV/movies on my HDTV!) were sometimes a challenge. Mostly, because I needed to be looking directly at my focal point or else the image was blurred. Anything that wasn't "straight in front of me" was not in focus. I could compare it to the "sweet spot" on a baseball bat.

I recently slipped on my last pair of single-vision lenses and was stunned by how clear everything (at a distance) was! It was visually exciting! All the sudden everything within my main field of vision was clear (except, of course) for what's up-close.

It struck me today that it's almost like the difference between pan-and-scan & widescreen. With the progressive lenses, I can only focus on one part of the entire image at a time. But, with the single-vision lenses I have opened up a beautiful 2.40:1 Cinescope epic extravaganza!

My question for anyone-who-can-help is: Can you make any recommendations for how to improve my current situation?

As I see it, my choices are:

1.) Stay with progressive lenses.

2.) Try traditional bifocals.

3.) Get a pair of single-vision lenses and a pair of reading glasses or bifocals for reading, etc. And swap them out as needed.

Option #3 seems like a pain. Option #2 seems like a pain as well (the idea of having a visible line horizontally cutting across your field of vision doesn't thrill me).

So, if I'm left with Option #1 do you have any recommendations for on how to improve my situation?

An Empire Vision employee once told me (after I was grumbling about my peripheral vision) that maybe a different brand of progressive lens would suit me better. They explained that just like Ford & Chevy each make cars that are the same basic things, but different...the same is true of progressive lenses.

My place of employment has a vision plan...which has just changed. So, I won't be going back to Empire Vision...but likely to a similar operation. Among the places on the available list are: Lenscrafters, Pearle Vision and various optical departments at department stores like Sears, Penneys, Boscov, Target & Wal-Mart. There are also some smaller shops located near me thrown into the mix.

Any advice would be hugely appreciated. I am eligible under my insurance plan to get something done now.

There's Jessie the yodeling cowgirl. Bullseye, he's Woody's horse. Pete the old prospector. And, Woody, the man himself.Of course, it's time for Woody's RoundUp. He's the very best! He's the rootinest, tootinest cowboy in the wild, wild west!


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#2 of 73 OFFLINE   Michael Harris

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Posted July 18 2007 - 06:59 AM

I'm in the same boat as you in that I'll be 48 this weekend and currently wear progressives, which I bought from Lens Crafters. It took me a while to get used to them but come this fall, when I'm due for an exam, I'll get them again. My mother likes progressives but my father hates them so he goes for option 3. My mother actually has three pairs for a combination of option 1 and 3. I'll most like end up buying three pairs too: one pair of single vision sun, single vision normal, and a pair of progressives. Fortunately I have a pretty good vision plan.

#3 of 73 OFFLINE   Mort Corey

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Posted July 18 2007 - 07:24 AM

I tried the progressive lenses for a couple of weeks and couldn't get used to them at all. It was also the first time I'd worn glasses of any kind so maybe it was a bad place to start. I went with option three. One pair for driving and one for reading. Walking around I use neither. I end up just leaving one pair in the car and take along the others if I'm going somewhere that requires seeing....restaurant menus, etc. I don't have any vision insurance so it was a costly adventure to find what suited my lifestyle.

Mort

#4 of 73 OFFLINE   RobertR

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Posted July 18 2007 - 07:44 AM

I use a fourth option: I wear contacts, and slip on reading glasses when needed.

#5 of 73 ONLINE   Mike Frezon

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Posted July 18 2007 - 07:53 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by RobertR
I use a fourth option: I wear contacts, and slip on reading glasses when needed.

Robert: In an ideal world, that would be a great option. But contacts are not for me, unfortunately.

There's Jessie the yodeling cowgirl. Bullseye, he's Woody's horse. Pete the old prospector. And, Woody, the man himself.Of course, it's time for Woody's RoundUp. He's the very best! He's the rootinest, tootinest cowboy in the wild, wild west!


HTF Rules | HTF Mission Statement | Father of the Bride

Dieting with my Dog & Heart to Heart/Hand in Paw by Peggy Frezon


#6 of 73 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

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Posted July 18 2007 - 07:58 AM

Here's a fifth option: Ask your optometrist about bifocals with no visible line. That's what I did after becoming increasingly disenchanted with progressive lenses. It turns out such things exist, and I find them very convenient. Instead of having to find the appropriate sliver of the progressive lenses for viewing this or that, I just choose between option A (for distance) and option B (for close). Simpler and I get fewer headaches.

I've also done RobertR's option 4, and it has a lot to recommend it.

M.
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#7 of 73 ONLINE   Mike Frezon

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Posted July 18 2007 - 08:28 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Reuben
Here's a fifth option: Ask your optometrist about bifocals with no visible line. That's what I did after becoming increasingly disenchanted with progressive lenses. It turns out such things exist, and I find them very convenient. Instead of having to find the appropriate sliver of the progressive lenses for viewing this or that, I just choose between option A (for distance) and option B (for close). Simpler and I get fewer headaches.


I have NEVER heard of such a thing. Hmmm. Sounds good. I would imagine that the top section (above the line) would be like a single-vision lens (with full focus side-to-side)? Same with the reading glasses portion on the bottom?

There's Jessie the yodeling cowgirl. Bullseye, he's Woody's horse. Pete the old prospector. And, Woody, the man himself.Of course, it's time for Woody's RoundUp. He's the very best! He's the rootinest, tootinest cowboy in the wild, wild west!


HTF Rules | HTF Mission Statement | Father of the Bride

Dieting with my Dog & Heart to Heart/Hand in Paw by Peggy Frezon


#8 of 73 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

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Posted July 18 2007 - 09:07 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Frezon
Sounds good. I would imagine that the top section (above the line) would be like a single-vision lens (with full focus side-to-side)? Same with the reading glasses portion on the bottom?
That's what I get. Of course, results may vary depending on the prescription.

M.
COMPLETE list of my disc reviews.       HTF Rules / 200920102011 Film Lists

#9 of 73 OFFLINE   Dick

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Posted July 18 2007 - 10:02 AM

The sixth option, albeit the most expensive one and with no absolute guarantee of success, is laser surgery. I hear they're pretty damn good with this procedure now, and those with about $2500.00 feel it was well worth the investment. I can't say from experience. I am 57 with bifocals and am also considering progressives.

#10 of 73 OFFLINE   Jordan_E

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Posted July 18 2007 - 10:02 AM

I switch back and forth between my regular and reading glasses. A pain? Yes. But do NOT want to wear bifocals.
And you believe, at heart, everyone's a killer...

#11 of 73 OFFLINE   BrianW

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Posted July 18 2007 - 10:19 AM

Mike, did someone put the glasses frames on you and carefully mark the lenses to determine the correct location of the focal-length transition? If not, then you got something "off the rack", and it may just be that the "bifocal" part covers more of the lens than necessary.

I've got progressive bifocals, and the "bifocal" part occupies a small semi-circular region at the bottom of the lens, and I have clear vision throughout the rest of the lens for distant objects (no "sweep spot). I absolutely love them. I've known others who had bifocals (progressive or otherwise) wherein the "bifocal" part occupied the entire bottom half of the lens, and they swore they'd never go back to bifocals again. I think it has more to do with the shape and location of the transition than the simple fact that they are bifocals.

Wether no-line or progressive, if half the lens is dedicated to near viewing, I think you'll be disappointed. Talk to your eyewear provider next time to determine the choices you have with regard to the shape of the bifocal part of the lens. If you can get progressive (or line, or no-line) lenses with much smaller half-moon near-vision area, then I think you'll be very happy with them. Also, be sure that someone marks a set of mock lenses with the trahsition locations that fit your face.

I used to wear contacts, but having to keep a pair of reading glasses always on my person was a hassle, so Robert's Option 4 didn't work for me. It's much easier for me to keep track of my glasses if they're always on my face Posted Image, so it's bifocals for me.

And I'm 48 as well. I'd suggest we form a club, but I have serious doubts about whether we could find the clubhouse. Posted Image
-Brian
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#12 of 73 OFFLINE   BrianW

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Posted July 18 2007 - 10:31 AM

Quote:
The sixth option, albeit the most expensive one and with no absolute guarantee of success, is laser surgery.
I'm no expert or authority, but I'm pretty sure laser surgery can't correct presbyopia. However, laser surgery can correct your near-sightedness so you can see far-away objects unaided. Then all you have to do is carry a pair of reading glasses when you need to see close-up. It's like Robert's Option 4, but without the contacts.

I have heard of a procedure that corrects presbyopia that involves inserting little plastic "expanders" the size of rice grains into the eyeball around the lens. The procedure expands the area around the lens, giving the 48-year-old, tired muscles more room to do their job (in a more relaxed fashion -- or at least that's the theory) of changing the focal point of the lens behind the cornea. It's worked very well in trials, but I don't know if it's been approved for prime time.
-Brian
Come, Rubidia. Let's blow this epoch.

#13 of 73 ONLINE   Mike Frezon

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Posted July 18 2007 - 11:54 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianW
And I'm 48 as well. I'd suggest we form a club, but I have serious doubts about whether we could find the clubhouse. Posted Image

Even if we could find it, I doubt we could climb into it! Posted Image

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianW
Mike, did someone put the glasses frames on you and carefully mark the lenses to determine the correct location of the focal-length transition? If not, then you got something "off the rack", and it may just be that the "bifocal" part covers more of the lens than necessary.

Noone did that. The opticians measured, of course, and all...but no marking of the lenses that I remember.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianW
I've got progressive bifocals, and the "bifocal" part occupies a small semi-circular region at the bottom of the lens, and I have clear vision throughout the rest of the lens for distant objects (no "sweet" spot). I absolutely love them.

The clear vision on the top part is what's key. I hate having to move my head side-to-side to find the spot where the object-I'm-looking-at is in focus, Posted Image

======================

What I think I'll do is take my current bifocals and my last single visions lenses and ask about the difference in materials and ask a ton of other questions based upon what I've read here. You guys have already been very helpful.

Option #6 (laser surgery, if you're keeping score at home) is also not an option for me right now.

======================

My wife (who is just to the point of needing reading glasses) cannot understand my frustration with this issue. But, for me, it's along the lines of "we can put a man on the moon but we can't make eyeglasses that work the way the customer would like?

All the advances in medicine and science & technology and yet I wonder how many advancements there have been in the field of eyeglasses since Ben Franklin invented bifocals in the 18th century.

Please keep the ideas coming! Posted Image

There's Jessie the yodeling cowgirl. Bullseye, he's Woody's horse. Pete the old prospector. And, Woody, the man himself.Of course, it's time for Woody's RoundUp. He's the very best! He's the rootinest, tootinest cowboy in the wild, wild west!


HTF Rules | HTF Mission Statement | Father of the Bride

Dieting with my Dog & Heart to Heart/Hand in Paw by Peggy Frezon


#14 of 73 OFFLINE   Greg_S_H

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Posted July 18 2007 - 02:07 PM

The best way to get information about bifocals is through your local paper. Place an ad in the classifieds that says:

Mike Frezon, MWM, 48, Bi-curious

You'll be surprised by the responses you get.

Posted Image


#15 of 73 OFFLINE   ChristopherG

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Posted July 18 2007 - 02:20 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg_S_H
The best way to get information about bifocals is through your local paper. Place an ad in the classifieds that says:

Mike Frezon, MWM, 48, Bi-curious

You'll be surprised by the responses you get.

Posted Image

That's some funny shizzle there, mate Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image !!!
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#16 of 73 OFFLINE   DaveF

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Posted July 18 2007 - 02:57 PM

Progressives have two broad classes:
1) sharp transitions with more narrow regions of great correction surrounded by more blurry regions
2) broader transitions with larger regions of less-great correction surrounded by milder blurry regions

Depending on one's temperment, one or the other can be preferable.

Laser surgery cannot correct Presbyopia (loss of accomodation). Afterwards you'll still need reading or driving glasses. Laser surgery is quite good now, from what I hear.

#17 of 73 OFFLINE   RobertR

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Posted July 19 2007 - 01:59 AM

Quote:
I used to wear contacts, but having to keep a pair of reading glasses always on my person was a hassle, so Robert's Option 4 didn't work for me.
What I've resorted to is buying inexpensive reading glasses and putting them all over the place (car, work, bedroom, living room, etc.). Posted Image

#18 of 73 OFFLINE   Eric Samonte

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Posted July 19 2007 - 03:15 AM

Mike...can u still read without glasses on? If u r nearsighted enuff, removing ur distance glasses should work very well. I've got friends, family and patients doing just that. Slip on during normal activities and slip off when reading. If ur in a situation where that is no longer possible, try the no line lenses Like Michael says. No intermediate lenses but u get optimal distance correction as well as reading..and u will also look younger with them glasses as they don't have the telltale "bifocal" line.
Another option is actually contact lenses. Now I know u said NO but how about only on one eye? This is called monovision and I actually use it now (I'm 43 now..). I put on a lens on my left non-dominant eye for near correction( I got good distance vision). It took me a few days to adjusts but its safe and quite effective. Makes u look younger even huh? Something just coming out r contacts which r multifocal. I would bet a lot of testing has to be done but it addresses the distance, intermediate and near vision. B&L is producing this right now and they're trying to shove it into the prescribing docs.
At 48, u should also have ur eyes checked for cataracts. I say this because, we will all have cataracts, its just not the same age. Some have them as early as 40, some even die without even making a complaint. Removal of said cataract is quite routine but u get to choose the best lens to put in there. Restor is currently out and making waves. I myself will probably avail of this when its my turn. Its basically new eyes again. This is also the reason why u should not opt for laser surgery. Yeah they say they have them new multifocal lasik procedures but if u develop cataratcs, u still gotta get them out..and as I said before, correction can be done there.

Lots of options, Mike...but only u have power to choose...

#19 of 73 ONLINE   Mike Frezon

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Posted July 19 2007 - 08:04 AM

Here's what I'm told by people I've talked to at two of my bigger local chains (Lenscrafter & Pearle Vision). The "no line" bifocals which are not progressive...but have clear fields of vision either:

1.) Don't exist, or

2.) Don't exist anymore.

One guy called 'em "blended bifocals". He knew exactly what I was talking about but said they are no longer available. He said they became "old news" after the development of progressive lenses. He then launched into a spiel trying to convince me that I'll be a happy guy with Varilux progressive lenses. Posted Image

This sucks.

There's Jessie the yodeling cowgirl. Bullseye, he's Woody's horse. Pete the old prospector. And, Woody, the man himself.Of course, it's time for Woody's RoundUp. He's the very best! He's the rootinest, tootinest cowboy in the wild, wild west!


HTF Rules | HTF Mission Statement | Father of the Bride

Dieting with my Dog & Heart to Heart/Hand in Paw by Peggy Frezon


#20 of 73 OFFLINE   Eric Samonte

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Posted July 19 2007 - 08:52 AM

Hmm...guess they're not making as much as they make out of the progressive ones. Maybe try the smaller local ones?


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