The main focus of these statements is to prompt your thoughts about multifocal or progressive addition lenses, commonly referred to as “no-line bifocals”. Many people try it and end up disliking it for reasons that are completely predictable. In an attempt to make the investment in glasses less expensive they’ve accomplished three things: purchased glasses that they don’t wear because they don’t work, biased themselves against ever trying another multifocal lens technology that would work, and doomed themselves to someday wearing lined trifocals.
- IF you’ve tried it in the past it is better than ever now. Contact lenses that help you see near and far, eyeglass and contact lenses specifically designed for use with digital devices, “no-line bifocals” with a wide corridor and a percent of non-adapt down from 7-10% in 1995 to 0.5-1% with the newest technologies. Lens technology is changing constantly and these upgrades mean costly research and development. If you are not paying at least 2.5 times what you would for the same prescription lenses in single vision (those that don’t treat focus change problems), then you’re not getting the latest technology.
- Imagine trying to function on a cell phone 10 to 20 years obsolete. Some people would say that not all industry is growing at the pace that the IT sector is with computers and cell phones. Those truly invested in the optical industry understand that the lens technology is keeping pace with these changes; there’s often a newer and better version of what you used just last year. Although, the difference is much like that of the iPhone 6 and the 6s to the public. Unless you are really into studying the technology the phone’s look identical because the technological advancements are done inside. Well, a lens design is much like that; the lens itself doesn’t outwardly look different, but when you look through it the functionality can be dramatically better. Just imagine the lens industry like a cell phone company that didn’t change the chassis at all (much like the appearance doesn’t change if you use the same frame) but constantly upgraded the internal abilities. Unfortunately, the phones now all look the same and few have been discontinued over the decades; each time we go to buy new glasses we might get up to 3 choices, but each place we go is selecting from 100’s of lens designs. One location’s “best lens” might be another location’s “entry price lens”, it all depends on the technology offered at the optical level. The key to buying a progressive lens that works is getting the recommendation from the doctor and plan to spend a bit more to get the best lens technology for you.
- Treat the diagnosis. At 4Sight iCare we encourage everyone to understand their vision correction. The most common problem we face in explaining eye conditions is with regards to presbyopia. Presbyopia is a fancy word for “my near focus doesn’t seem to work was well as it did before”. This is corrected with plus power, but only part of the time. Hyperopia is fancy for “if I were to stop using my internal near focus (accommodation) for far, I’d see blurry at all distances, but especially up close”. This is corrected with plus power all the time, because it’s a problem with the fixed focus. Small amounts of hyperopia are usually ignored, because if your fixed focus is off by an amount you can comfortably compensate for using your accommodative focus then you won’t see a benefit from glasses with power. But if you are a hyperope just entering presbyopia, you will may see better at near and far with single vision lenses. We often do not recommend reading only glasses because if you require single vision correction you simply have hyperopia and plus lenses can be worn all the time without making anything worse. If you have presbyopia, you should consider a multiFOCAL lens because the problem you face is in the CHANGE of FOCUS. We are asked all the time, “Does this mean I have to wear my glasses all the time?” Our answer is no, this means that if you want to, it doesn’t make anything worse — you get to see far and near without removing the glasses. If you remove them your vision will be just like it is now without glasses.
- Don’t fall victim to this self-fulfilling prophecy. We frequently hear that patients are too young for bifocals and would rather have “just reading glasses”. Notice how we didn’t refer to age above at all, that’s because in addition to presbyopia there are other accommodative disorders that require multifocal lenses at all ages. But since patients bring it up let’s discuss the options. By age 45 nearly all adults need near help if they see well at distance. Whether you are someone who takes glasses off to read or puts on reading glasses, this lack of flexibility will result in you looking older than you do. If you don’t want to look or feel prematurely old, never do these things that you are destined to do with reading only or distance only glasses:
- Don’t say, “Oh no, where are my cheaters!” as you search around the house.
- Don’t wear your glasses at the tip of your nose so you can see
over the top because it makes you look old according to recent studies like this one: http://health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/eat-run/2015/06/09/do-reading-glasses-make-you-look-older
- Don’t shift your glasses to your forehead for safe keeping while you read what you need up close.
- And don’t condemn yourself to decades of lined trifocals or up to 3 pairs of glasses in constant rotation. Most people who wait to get multifocal glasses cannot adapt to the rapid change needed to adjust focus from far to near (the same is true for those who get frames too short for quality progressive lenses — your optician should help with the frame selection that works for your lenses). The result is that they can’t use multifocal progressives, they can’t see their computer with their bifocals, they can’t see far with their computer lenses, and they must now purchase multiple pairs of glasses or lined TRIfocals because there are 3 distances that we care about.