November 08, 2011

retrofitted hacks

Like most old people, I need assistance seeing. But this is nothing new; I started wearing glasses in second grade.

My eyes keep changing, and for most of my life I've gotten new glasses every two or three years. But recently it's been hard for me to do things, and I've been putting it off.

Not any longer. In about two hours I'm going to get an eye exam and a new prescription! Yay!

Part of what I'm not looking forward to is findingg frames. Last time I did this all the frames for men looked like they were for faggots metrosexuals. I had to order frames out of a catalog.

My head is abnormally large, to begin with, and I like large lenses so that the rims are well out of my normal area of vision. All the frames last time were too small for me. And all the men's frames looked like they were for women.

I may not even bother looking at the frames on display. Just tell the nice lady, "Can you order frames for me which are like the ones I'm wearing now? Same lense size and shape?"

This ain't going to be cheap. I'm getting two different pairs, both bifocals, and I'm going to get two copies of each, just to have backup. Plus my correction is very complicated. I figure it'll end up being north of $800.

But at least they won't be getting made in China. (Actually, I bet the frames are from China. But the lenses will get ground locally.)

Also, I'm going with plastic lenses for the first time ever. I've always, always gotten glass, but it's time for me to enter the 21st century. High tech!!!

UPDATE: I remember one time the eye doctor told me, "I'm not going to give you bifocals, because when you get bifocals you're officially old."

The next time I did get bifocals. And that was about 15 years ago.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Daily Life at 02:20 PM | Comments (15) | Add Comment
Post contains 328 words, total size 2 kb.

1 It took me about a year to get used to frames that were smaller than "full eye"... but I did, eventually.  It's been six years since I last had a prescription change, but nowadays I'm starting to notice that shifting from right-up-close to not-exactly-far-away is difficult through my lenses.  So, and this is an unexpected bonus of the small frames, I just look underneath the lenses and voila!  No problem focusing on the close things.

Which pretty much tells me that I've got to get my eyes checked.

Posted by: Wonderduck at November 08, 2011 02:57 PM (2YMZG)

2 Bifocals?  Bifocals?   Quit whining, youngster!  Tri-focals, and in need of my third prescription in 3 years.  (Not good.)

On the plastic, they'll tell you they're scratch-proof.  Do NOT believe it.  Take good care of them; just dropping them on a tile floor is enough to start scuffing the lens.  I've learned not to put mine (loose) in a shirt pocket when I go to the restroom.  I prefer a soft case as it's easier to carry in a pocket.

Posted by: ubu at November 08, 2011 03:06 PM (i7ZAU)

3 Wonderduck, that's exactly the problem I ran into - between the ages of 42 and 43, shifting focal length went from automatic to almost impossible.

I have reading glasses now, but not bifocals.  Not yet.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at November 08, 2011 03:44 PM (PiXy!)

4 My Lasik has mostly worn off, so while I can legally drive without glasses, I prefer a slight correction for reading signs at a greater distance. As far as reading glasses go, I have a pair that's quite mild, since I only need them for furigana. So far...


Posted by: J Greely at November 08, 2011 04:31 PM (fpXGN)


I'm back. My vertical shift went from 3 diopters to 5. No wonder I was having trouble keeping the images together!

As to the frames, I got the ones with the biggest lenses that they had, but they're still smaller than the ones I've got now. Not all that much smaller, though; I think they'll be fine.

It was a lot less money than I expected. I got two pairs of distance glasses and two pairs of computer glasses. They were having a two-for-one sale, so I only had to pay for one of each. Total, including the exam, was just under $600.

The biggest change is going to be the focal length of the computer glasses. The current pair I got back when I was using a CRT, which hung over my keyboard and wasn't very far from my face. Now that I'm using a huge notebook, the display is further away. I've been leaning over to get the screen in focus.

The new computer glasses will focus further away, so I'll be able to get the display in focus while sitting straight up.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at November 08, 2011 05:34 PM (+rSRq)

6 And my eyes are dilated, so I'm having particular trouble seeing anything...

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at November 08, 2011 05:39 PM (+rSRq)

7 The best part about plastic is how much lighter they are than coke-bottle glass!  It's like someone took a brick off your face.  But what ubu said, too.
I switched from large frames to smallish ones about ten years ago and it takes a while to get used to it but I don't think I'd want to go back.

Posted by: RickC at November 08, 2011 06:45 PM (VKVOz)

8 Heavy glasses don't bother me. I've been wearing glasses with glass lenses since second grade, and they're part of my face. (In fact, having them not be heavy may be a bit disturbing at first...)

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at November 08, 2011 06:49 PM (+rSRq)


By the way, to me "plastic" is anything that isn't glass. But for them, there was a choice of "plastic" and "polycarbonate". I got polycarbonate.

Polycarbonate is good stuff. That's what they make CDs out of, for instance. Very strong, superb for optical stuff, and about as hard and scratch resistant as anything made of carbon can be that isn't diamond.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at November 08, 2011 06:53 PM (+rSRq)

10 Yeah, over the past year or so I've found that my ability to shift focus has pretty much gone away. 

I'm so nearsighted, I have to take my glasses off and get close to what I want to see if I want to be able to discern tiny detail. 

The most frustrating thing is when there's something I need to see and I can't get far enough to see it with my glasses on and can't get close enough to see it with them off.  Like when I'm working on setting my dirt bike's points gap--that's finicky detail work and there simply is no good way for me to see what I'm doing.  Without glasses, there's no room between my head and the engine for my tools; with them on, I can't get close enough to see what the hell I'm doing. the next time I get glasses, it's bifocals for me.  *sigh*

Posted by: atomic_fungus at November 08, 2011 07:26 PM (EQyr7)

11 I didn't mind glass lenses either, and like you, I've had glasses since around the same age.  But when I tried on plastic ones, the difference was astounding.  Like I said, it feels like someone took a brick off your face.
The other nice thing about the plastic and polycarbonate lenses, as I'm sure you were told or already new, is the higher index of refraction.  My polycarb lenses are MUCH thinner in the middle than the glass ones, and still somewhat thinner on the outside than glass ones.  (Another benefit to smaller lenses is you get rid of the thickest and heaviest parts.)  BTW my prescription is around -10 in one eye and -14 in the other; the lenses are at least twice as thick on the outer end as they are in the middle.
Next time I get lenses I am going to try Zenni Optical--they have hugely lower prices than you'll find at a doctor.  I know a couple people who've tried them and like them; I priced out a pair at around $100 or so, versus over $300 for what I usually pay.

Posted by: RickC at November 09, 2011 09:19 AM (kLZ4H)

12 A warning about plastic lens.  As an old fart like you, I have had glass glasses for years. Like you, I like big lenses with good peripheral vision.  I like to glance off center without moving my head.  I tried plastic in a large lens for the first time last year and found that the off center vision was badly distorted.  Didn't suit my style for hiking, driving, just farting around.  I was told by the optometrist that I was supposed to be looking through the center not the edges.  There is a reason that the modern lens are small.  They want you to look through the middle.  Too far off middle they can't maintain correction.

I changed back to glass. YMMV.

Posted by: OldManRick at November 09, 2011 08:59 PM (aBXrJ)

13 While the new glasses still have pretty big lenses, they're also bifocals so each part of the lense is pretty small.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at November 09, 2011 10:22 PM (+rSRq)

14 I'm way overdue for new glasses.  I'm farsighted and astigmatic.  Lately I've had so much trouble focusing closely that I've had to get clip-on magnifiers in order to read.  I hadn't noticed for a while that I wasn't reading as much as I used to until I found myself with a 6 issue backlog of Asimov's and a lot of other unread magazines.

Posted by: Mauser at November 09, 2011 11:47 PM (cZPoz)

15 No, REALLY small, like directly ahead and that's it.  Forgot to mention it, but yes, that took some getting used to. You can't move your eyes around for the close work (reading, etc.)  Turn your head or forget about it.  Computer distance (the middle of the tri-focals) is a little better, but the advent of widescreens means I still have to turn my head.some.

Posted by: ubu at November 10, 2011 01:55 PM (i7ZAU)

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