Author Topic: Switching between reading and distance glasses  (Read 9237 times)

dodojojo

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Switching between reading and distance glasses
« on: May 16, 2014, 03:13:47 PM »
Summary: I am nearsighted in my right eye and farsighted in my left eye.  I've been wearing glasses since the fourth grade.  For 30 years, I've been able to get by with only needing one prescription wherein a compromise was reached to accommodate seeing distance and reading up close pretty well.

Alas time has caught up with me.  A couple of years ago, my distance got worse and to improve the distance prescription, the doc had to compromise the reading prescription a bit.  I could see distance better but reading wasn't so great but still tolerable.  Well fast forward 18 months or so and my distance got a little worse again and reading seem to be more difficult.  Okay, the perils of incipient middle age.  Having a single prescription was no longer optimal.  The doc gave me two prescriptions and recommended having two frames made instead of going with progressives.

Long story short, the reading glasses give me terrible headaches.  I had one prescription made and then another, but the headaches still persist.  The doc is working with me...but it seems like we can't pinpoint the issue.  Luckily the store where my glasses were made allows for free re-makes due to doctor changes.  But the headaches are really affecting my ability to work.

Anyone here who switches between different prescriptions/frames (not progressives or bifocals)?  Did you encounter this problem?  Or is it seamless for you?  My distance glasses work fine and I don't have any issues with them.  But when I put on my reading glasses, the headaches start.  They work, I see better with them....but they cause so much pain. Unfortunately, I can't bin them and just use my distance glasses.  Now that my distance glasses are made purely for distance they also give me a headache if I use them for anything up close.

I'm going to call the doc for another appointment, but I was wondering if there's something the doc or I'm missing? 

deborah

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Re: Switching between reading and distance glasses
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2014, 04:10:34 PM »
Check what you are actually doing.

I was actually getting headaches with my reading glasses too. I found that the glasses I was being given for reading were actually not at the right distance for most of what I was doing at short distances - computing, sewing... These all have you at arms distance (or slightly more) from the object you are viewing, whereas reading is within an arms length.

We need 2 pairs of glasses as we get older because the distance actually in focus changes. This has become very small for me, and I need 3 pairs of glasses although I am only in my 50's.

To fix the problem, I measured the actual distances involved, and the optometrist adjusted his gear to prescribe for this distance.

dodojojo

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Re: Switching between reading and distance glasses
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2014, 06:00:27 PM »
Deborah, thank you for your tip.  It's one area I've focused on, though my optician seemed to be more blase about it.  I've been using a tape measure, even bringing it to work so I can measure where to sit (in relation to my laptop).  The doc insist I should be fine a couple of inches on either side of 18.

So when you switch between your 3 glasses, you're not having any problems at all?  Are there moments where you have to adjust?

deborah

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Re: Switching between reading and distance glasses
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2014, 07:07:37 PM »
It has been hard and very frustrating at times.

I got glasses in grade 3. Where I lived we had tests each week, and where you sat for the next week depended on the results. I alternated between the back row of the class (top 8 in the test), and the front row (bottom 8). My teacher and parents were sure I spent one week talking to my friends and not concentrating on what was being taught, and the next trying to catch up. Turned out, I could only see the board from the front row.

I had an accident 15 years ago. After the accident, I found that I wasn't seeing everything when I was driving. I had a few tests, and everything was OK. However, my length of vision had decreased, so I needed reading glasses, and my glasses were not strong enough for driving. So I got bifocals. These fixed my problems.

A few years later (maybe less), I needed multifocals, as I had started having headaches - I guess from the computer. These worked. The next time I had new glasses the multifocals didn't work - I kept on having problems driving (looking into the side mirror means you are using a different part of the lens for a second, and it was blurry). So the optometrist insisted on 2 pairs of normal glasses - one for reading, and one for driving. I then started to have headaches when I was sewing (sewing machine) and using the computer (I was a computer person before I retired). So I ended up with 3 pairs of single vision glasses.

Then I was accepted into a degree in Fashion Design. I started to have real problems. I could just see the whiteboard with my computer glasses, and just see what I was writing (but only just, and I was getting headaches - both were blurred). Often in class, we needed to do something on a mannequin (close work) then look at everyone's (far), and change ours to match (close), and continue to do this. I was having difficulty doing the course, and lots of headaches.

I went to my optometrist, and he said there was nothing that could be done, I would just have to put up with it. This was a very low point. He wouldn't put this in writing, so I couldn't get special consideration in the course either. And I really didn't want to get special consideration - I was already a freak (just about 3 times the age of everyone else in the course), without this! Mind you, everyone treated me the same as they did others, but I didn't want to exacerbate things.

I told a friend about it, and she recommended her optometrist, who gave me 3 pairs of glasses - reading/computer multifocals, computer/whiteboard multifocals (which could also be used for driving), and plain driving glasses. It was wonderful! I could now do everything. I haven't been doing the course this year or last year because my father got cancer, and I needed to visit my parents 7.5 hours away every 2 weeks, and the course changed, and they couldn't figure out what classes I needed to do. So, I haven't used the middle set of glasses for a while. I am beginning not to see the dashboard of the car when I am driving, so I might start to use this pair of glasses again.

When I was working, I had my computer glasses at work, so I didn't need to carry a set. I also found that one of my old prescriptions matched my computer glasses, so I had a pair in both locations.

Because I am usually switching between multifocals and straight glasses, I do have moments when I need to adjust. Because I really cannot see things that are close at all with my driving glasses, I pretty much always have to carry both pairs with me.

Every so often I can't find the "other" pair. I recently drove to the supermarket, and while I was there I needed to read what was on a tin, so I changed my glasses in the store. Unfortunately, I left the driving glasses there. I realized when I went to the cash register, but someone had picked them up, so I hunted several stores, twice before I finally found them (when they didn't turn up at the supermarket, I thought I may have left them somewhere else). I assume the person who found them had a biggish load of shopping to do, so kept them for a rather long time. When these things happen, you begin to doubt your own sanity!

I occasionally dread what will happen to me. A great-aunt lived to 106. I am about half that age. What will have happened to my sight by that time?

dodojojo

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Re: Switching between reading and distance glasses
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2014, 08:36:25 AM »
That's really tough Deborah.  Let's hope science will give us more options in the near future.

I have an appointment today.  I just wished there was more I could say to the doc other than this is giving me a headache.  I'm not sure what exactly is causing it other than wearing the glasses. 

Nords

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Re: Switching between reading and distance glasses
« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2014, 10:52:25 AM »
That's really tough Deborah.  Let's hope science will give us more options in the near future.

I have an appointment today.  I just wished there was more I could say to the doc other than this is giving me a headache.  I'm not sure what exactly is causing it other than wearing the glasses.
I feel the same as Deborah-- different prescriptions for reading on a computer monitor and reading a paperback book.  My eyes are nearly 20/20, too, just presbyopic, but there's a huge difference between the two reading distances unless I use two different pairs of reading glasses.

Your symptoms might be reading fatigue, not the glasses.  You could tinker with more frequent breaks and better lighting (or brighter backlighting) or larger fonts.  For example, in the evening I do almost all of my reading on an iPad or a computer monitor, with bright backlighting and larger fonts.  There's just not enough contrast (let alone daylight) on a printed page to make it worth the effort.  You might also try multi-focal semi-permeable contact lenses.  Over an adaptation period they reshape the surface of your eye to the prescription, and this might help your strained vision.  They're not for everyone (and they were certainly not for me) but my very-nearsighted spouse swears by them.

Frankly I'm eagerly anticipating another decade or two of improvements in medical lens technology by the time I need cataract surgery.


dodojojo

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Re: Switching between reading and distance glasses
« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2014, 12:41:49 PM »
Your symptoms might be reading fatigue, not the glasses. 

No, because the pain and headache starts right after I switch to the reading glasses.  I wonder if there isn't a prescription that is going to work for me because my eyes can't adjust from my distance to my reading glasses? 

My prescription was tweaked yet again this week--the third one.  Frustratingly, the headaches are still here.  Darnit.  If there is a bright side, the pain isn't as severe as before.  So perhaps we're moving in the right direction.  My optometrist has seen me 3 times since my initial visit and hasn't charged me for the followup.  Poor guy is really working hard for that $60.  I waver between feeling sorry for him and myself.

I wonder if I should ask him to think outside the box or if I should go see someone else.  The problem is I don't have enough of an understanding of optometry and my prescription to know if another solution is even in the realm of reality.  All I know is my prescription isn't bad, it's just complicated because of the divergent prescriptions of each eye.

Joggernot

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Re: Switching between reading and distance glasses
« Reply #7 on: May 24, 2014, 05:30:55 PM »
It might not work for you, but my wife has one eye fitted for distance and the other eye fitted for reading/computer.  It works very well for her.  She just got use to using one eye instead of two.  She currently has contacts to do this, not eyeglasses.

MrsPete

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Re: Switching between reading and distance glasses
« Reply #8 on: May 24, 2014, 07:01:40 PM »
I think you need progressives (bifocals).

The adjustment to progressives is NOT EASY, but once you're accustomed to them, they are superior to switching back and forth to other glasses.  The best advice I received came from the girl who fitted my glasses:  Point your nose at what you want to see, and that's what you'll see clearly.  With progressives, you have poor /blurry side vision.  This takes time to learn. 

GuitarStv

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Re: Switching between reading and distance glasses
« Reply #9 on: May 25, 2014, 10:06:11 AM »
I think you need progressives (bifocals).

Yeah, I was going to suggest bifocals too . . . That's basically what they were designed for.  Learning to use them was no big deal for me, but I had to wear them starting in grade three.