My Incompetent/High Maintenance Eyeballs: Take 4, Part 3

If you’re just joining me in this long, stupid saga of tedium and whining, you might go back the riveting beginning and read the whole epic from start to finish. Just follow this handy guide:

Take 1
Take 2
Take 3
Take 4, Part 1
Take 4, Part 2

All caught up? Okay, good.

I believe I left off on 5 February, 2018, while bringing back my glasses for the first time. I never did have any idea what their paperwork looked like, other than what I glimpsed when they unwrapped my glasses (it was collecting a good-sized stack by the end); I’d only received a printout of the unmarked receipt and one of the Rx. One thing I should have done when I brought the glasses back was to have the lens Rx read and checked against the Rx I’d been given. Mistake #4. (I did, however, make an appointment to see the doctor again in two days [Wednesday, 7 February] to check the Rx.)

The next few visits to the shop are kind of blurry (lol get it?). I’m pretty sure that when I talked to Ms. C on the 5th of February, she said the glasses should be ready in a day or two. I’m mostly sure I went in the next day (a Tuesday, 6 February, just before my choir rehearsal), and met Mr. G. We’re going to go with that narrative, because I know I didn’t go anywhere on Wednesday. But I’m starting to get ahead of myself…

6 February 2018:

I stopped in around 5pm, I think, and only Mr. G was there. I hadn’t met him yet, but I think I knew who he was from another friend who’d had a good experience there before. I asked him if the new glasses were ready, since the girl from the day before said they would be available in a day or two. He said no, it would take longer and they would text me. I honestly can’t remember if I had more of a conversation with him, but that wasn’t an unpleasant experience at that time. A little embarrassing, maybe, but not really my fault since I was given faulty information.

I was supposed to go in to see the doctor again the next day, but woke up feeling really sick, so I rescheduled for the following Monday (12 February).

12 February 2018:

This is where my memory completely fails me. Utterly.

I cannot remember what happened when I went in. I remember driving there, I remember other events of that day, but I do not remember if I ended up seeing the doctor. However, the side-bar prescription on the exam sheet might have been the result of that visit (I do know that it did not improve my next set of glasses, which wouldn’t be in for another week or more).

I’ve checked just about every lasting piece of social media and private media I can to try to piece together what happened that day. I know I left the boys with my parents and went to the mall, then took the long way around to go to the library and Super Supplements. But I have no recollection of the exam, or if it even happened. That irks me, because things started going downhill from that day, but information from that day would have been helpful in describing why. The new set of lenses was being delayed a bit because of some kind of malfunction with their machinery that they needed someone to come in and look at. I think. I remember someone mentioning something about that, and I think it could have been that day.

I wish I could remember. Stupid brain.

24 February 2018:

I met my sister-in-law at the mall for dinner and to hang out, but had intended to pick up my glasses before meeting her. However, the shop was completely swamped when I went in, and I would have to wait 45 minutes or more, so I just said I’d pick them up later. After dinner (over an hour later), my sis-in-law went with me to the shop. We waited probably 15 minutes for someone to be freed up to help me. In the meantime, we tried on glasses and talked. No big deal; when a place is busy, it’s busy, and you wait patiently for your turn.

When it was finally my turn, Mr. G helped fit the glasses. I do not remember what the lenses were made of in this pair, or if they’d only adjusted the Rx (from the wrong one they allegedly gave me in the first place). At first they seemed like they might be fine — or at least I would give them a try. Mr. G seemed kind and complimentary (I think he over-adjusted the earpiece, though, which got a little wonky and touched the back of my ear in a weird, annoying way), but we didn’t really converse beyond that.

My sister-in-law and I went to stroll around the mall some more, and the longer I wore the glasses that night, the deeper my sinking feeling became that I wasn’t going to adjust to these, either. I would give them a shot, because maybe the distortion was something I would eventually get used to, but here’s the thing: Every time — every. single. time. — I have gotten glasses that I knew were “right”, I adjusted to them within a day. My prescription doesn’t change so drastically between exams and is not so strong that I have a lot that I ought to be adjusting to. So when I constantly am having to blink or adjust my head to find focus, am looking down and feeling nauseated, or am feeling fatigued by early evening and experiencing pain in my right eye (again, not the one with the worst astigmatism, but it does have opinions when something is off or light is too bright), I know there is a problem.

I wore this version as long as I could, but I could not shake the distortion around the edges. I tried to tell myself that maybe I was just being overly sensitive, but eye pain and fatigue, and occasional nausea when looking down or from one thing to another, were not things I could ignore. I finally gave up and brought them back on Saturday, 3 March.

3 March 2018:

This was the day when my experience with Pro-Optix really began to slide downhill fast. I brought the glasses back in the evening. Mr. G was there, as well as Mr. J2 and Mr. J[1] — the guy who had helped me all those years ago with my materials issue, when no one could figure out the problems I was having. He had been so knowledgeable and helpful and patient. I’d so hoped the shop still had that kind of character, even if he wasn’t the face of it anymore.

I told them — after waiting for another customer to finish up — that the edges were still distorted, I was still feeling too much fatigue and nausea, and lights were too bright. I didn’t know what else to do, except change the materials. I was lectured at one point by Mr. G about blue-light blockers not being effective for anyone, because all they are supposed to help with is macular degeneration (or something) later in life, and we would need another 60 years to see any results from their use. Okay, fine, whatever. I’m still having problems with light being overwhelming in my glasses, and I’m in front of a computer often. I guess I can wear sunglasses. (I didn’t say all that, but I wanted to solve my lens issues before branching out into other problems. And by that point, I didn’t want to spend any more than I already had on add-ons to the next set of lenses, so I gave up on any form of tinting or solutions for light sensitivity.)

In front of Mr. J and J2, I said to Mr. G, “I will make another appointment to see the doctor, if I need to—”, only to be told by Mr. G that, “No, you don’t need to see the doctor again.” (Red Flag #2 — and Mistake #5: I should have documented everything at this point, and insisted that the doctor check the Rx against the lenses at least one more time — or taken the lenses somewhere to have them checked with someone else’s tools. Getting a second opinion would have been key at this juncture.)

I ended up sort of shooting myself in the foot by once again bringing up that perhaps my problems lay in the lens material, since all the times I’ve had trouble in the past adjusting to glasses, it was a materials issue (I was wrong, and I know that now, but in my defense they should have listed off the other things that could have been wrong, since they’re the professionals and understand proper lens correction techniques). I did tell them every time I went in that I wish I could accurately describe the problems I’m having — other than “distortion”, fatigue and nausea, or “starbursts” around headlights, to name a few — but I lack the terminology to identify the exact problem, or the experience to suggest other ways of fixing it. I was, however, lectured about the difference in polycarbonate and Trivex — Trivex is just an expensive, high-index form of polycarbonate, and there is no point in trying it if polycarb isn’t working for me. (And when I say “lectured”, I mean that it had that “we know what’s best for you” vibe, while sounding ever so slightly defensive, even though I understand he was probably trying to impart information on an uninformed customer. I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt, but I was chafing at the tone, and already disappointed that the first solution was not to double-check the Rx.)

So they all recommended that I try a material called “Standard Resin” (aka “plastic”). “It’s so much less expensive,” Mr. G assured me, “and the optics are second only to glass, which has the best optics of any material available on the market today.” (Silly me, I thought that meant I would get some money back from my ridiculously expensive polycarbonate lenses, but they skirted or altogether ignored all my questions about price difference. I was left to assume that regardless of how much less expensive plastic would be, I would not get any price breaks with them.) Mr. J also assured me that he has issues with materials, too, and Standard Resin is what he uses. And since I respect Mr. J’s opinion, I said that was fine; let’s try it. I mean, what do I have to lose at this point?

Isn’t that just the most cliché of loaded rhetorical questions? Especially at the end of a chapter? You’re welcome.

This post is already long enough and I have other things I need to do, so I’m leaving you with the cliffhanger cliché. Keep your eyes peeled for Take 4, Part 4 — out soon! 🙂

My Incompetent/High Maintenance Eyeballs: Take 4, Part 2

Haha, apparently “soon” translates into “months later”. Did you really expect more from me? At least it’s not years later. And two months isn’t too bad, right? In my defense, we were just entering peak end-of-year Symphony craziness, and Camp NaNoWriMo started at the beginning of April. I have only recently come up for air and remembered I was still on a quest for new glasses. I also saw a new eye doctor recently. More on that later, though; let’s finish the story at hand.

Because I’m writing this gripe months after it happened — and trying to create some documentation so that I can have a more seamless, trouble-free glasses-buying experience in the future — I sat down and patched together the timeline of interactions with Pro-Optix. I wish I had done it the minute it happened, but alas that was Mistake #… What are we on now? 3? Sure, let’s go with 3. I am not a good records keeper until everything has turned into a gigantic cluster. But that’s another post for another time.

ANYway… I’m going to more accurately rehash the information from the last post, because, as I may have said before, I’m nothing if not tedious. 😉 But this one includes pictures! So you can FEEL MY PAIN.

8 January 2018:

I had an exam performed by the eye doctor at Pro-Optix. He was very nice and seemed to know what he was doing — but he has ridiculously horrible handwriting, which may or may not have contributed to the incorrect Rx in at least the first pair of glasses issued.

8 Jan Pro-Optix Exam

I mean, what even is this? Besides the fact that their copy machine/printer is terrible, how is any of this illegible handwriting useful to anyone?

Ms. C helped me pick out frames (while my eyes were dilated, heh — it’s a great time to pick something that will cost almost $200 before lenses, and be on my face for at least the next year). Then, after my exam, Ms. C and Mr. D (who I am going to henceforth call “Mr. J2”, because his name also starts with J and I have to keep looking up the arbitrary letter I gave him) attempted to navigate the complicated computer system to try to order what I needed within my budget. The receipt was supposed to say that I would receive a Trivex lens with a blue-block coating (the lens line contains a code I don’t recognize, but Ms. C had written “Trivex” next to it. The coating said “Anti-Reflective Oleophobic”, with “blue light” written next to it). The total would be $353.95 — and that included a $19.99 discount on the coating and no charge for sales tax.

However, I got a call that night to notify me that the girl who had helped me was new to the system, and the blue-light blocker would require a higher-index lens and another $250 in price — but they would change to standard polycarbonate with a standard AR coating for the same price. If I’m reading the following correctly, it took two more days to order them (I went in on a Monday):

In the language of the Old Ones...

I finally figured out this says “ordered”, but I’m afraid that if I stare at it too long I might lose sanity points.

Note: I did not know much about lens materials (and lens shapes — more on that later) other than what I had experienced in the past. I now know that I probably have a high-index lens in my Target glasses (because I didn’t know any better — but Target got them right on the second try and the lenses have held up well for the past three years, so I’m not really complaining). The glasses before that were a polycarb/plastic blend that Mr. J at Pro-Optix had ordered for me before they were making their own lenses. But, here’s the thing: I didn’t just make up the problems I’ve had in the past. I repeated things I was told by multiple people in multiple facilities, and it’s all I have to work on when glasses don’t work for me and I’m being treated like my eyesight through their lenses is my fault. On top of that, it’s very frustrating that opticians don’t offer more education about all the weird terms they use, and then work with you to explore all the options available when glasses are being a problem. I had to Google everything, and even then I can’t quite understand the numbers, especially when it comes to the mechanics of correcting for astigmatism.

Maybe I’m one of those people who knows just enough to get myself in trouble and be a PITA to customer service — but maybe communication would be facilitated if we were all on the same page, if I’m given the correct terminology to be able to articulate my problems.

(And before anyone is like, “Why didn’t you just ASK?” I could go on another rant about how I’m kind of gun shy where doctors and medical professionals are concerned, and then confess that I’m really not good at confrontation or pressing very busy doctors/nurses/technicians who give off the “we’re done here”, “I’m the expert and know more than you”, or “don’t question me” vibes. I always feel like I’m whining. I’m working on advocating and standing up for myself, but it’s hard. I’ve also only had about ten pairs of glasses (if that) in my life, with two or more years between each one. Lens technology is constantly changing, and I find the learning curve is still a little steep every time I go in.)

31 January 2018:

I went in to pick up the new glasses (which had taken about three weeks to come in), and get my pressure checked (it was fine). At first the lenses seemed great. There was a little distortion around the edges, but I thought that was probably something I needed to get used to. Lights were really bright, but then maybe I was just being sensitive that day (and I had to have those weird numbing drops for the glaucoma test). I tried really hard to adjust to them for the next five days, but light was still too bright, I was getting headaches and feeling horribly fatigued by evening, and I had to keep blinking and concentrating on focus to see things that should have been clear. Then, sitting about seven or eight feet away from our 36” TV that we use more often as a computer monitor, I realized I was having trouble reading words on the screen. I closed one eye, then the other, and the right eye was blurry. I put on my old glasses, and could read clearly from the same distance.

That was a no-go. So I took them back.

(Now we’re caught up. I feel a little like George R. R. Martin releasing book five after six years of making his readers wait. “Most of this book takes place at the same time as events in the fourth book that you waited eight years for. You can finally move on when I catch up with myself!”)

5 February 2018:

The only person at the store when I had a chance to go in was Ms. C. This was a good and bad thing: If she couldn’t navigate their computer system even with help, it probably wasn’t likely I was going to get answers that day if she was working the shop alone. However, she was nice and the only person I’d talked to the most when I ordered my glasses originally, so it was likely to be an easier conversation.

I told her what was wrong, and that I honestly wasn’t 100% sure what exactly was ordered, since at least three people had a hand in ordering them, and I only had the old receipt. She nodded and said she told them I would be back, because I’d said I was non-adaptive to polycarbonate and (Red Flag #1) they had put in the wrong prescription, anyway.

Okay, you know how it’s a well-known joke that the more illegible someone’s handwriting, the more likely they are to be a doctor? And how a percentage of medical mistakes are caused by transcription errors? And how computers are now available to kind of take the guesswork out of a medical professional’s unreadable documentation? I’ve had it happen before with medicine prescriptions (like, a decade and a half ago, when doctors still wrote out prescriptions), and now it’s happened with vision correction — in an era when computer transcription is far more ubiquitous and actually saves lives and time by standardizing what everyone sees.

So let’s play a game. Which of these prescriptions is the correct one?

Pro-Optix Exam, Day One, left side of the page:

8 jan 2018 rx

“Is number one better?”

Pro-Optix Exam, Day ??, right side, in the notes section:

8 jan 2018 rx from notes column

“Or number two?”

Pro-Optix Printed Rx, Day One:

8 jan 2018 rx printout

Ignore the “ADD”. I think it was supposed to be a mild magnification at the bottom to combat fatigue, but the cost was prohibitive, so I canceled it.

Pro-Optix 3rd try, as written at the top of their copy of the receipt, and dated 3-3-18:

I just don't even know anymore

It’s ever so slightly sharper than this before I took a picture and then a screenshot. But only slightly.

Rx read by PNW Eye Associates, from 3rd set of lenses from Pro-Optix:

pro-optix 2018 rx read from final issue by PNW EA

“BC” is “Base Curve” — the actual key to this whole stupid issue. Also, the optical tech left out the decimals.

For contrast, here is what he wrote down for my three-year-old prescription in the glasses I was there to replace, at the top of the exam sheet:

2015 Target Rx

Ummm…wut?

And what the PNW Eye Assoc tech read:

target 2015 rx read from PNW EA

Well, now they don’t seem far off, do they? There must be some other way to read an eye. And that BC is just over half of what is in the distorted lenses. This is foreshadowing, but also the past coming around to bite me, because I didn’t remember the problems I had before, other than materials. But I get ahead of myself…

If I were to try to type out that old, handwritten Rx, it would look like this:

OD: -0.25 -1.00 x 096
OS: +0.25 -1.20 x 034
(First number is Spherical, second is Cylindrical, and third is Axis)

As written, it appears my old Rx was farsighted in my left eye, because there is a plus sign in front of the first OS value instead of a minus. That bottom axis value I’m pretty sure should be an 8, but looks an awful lot like a 3. Also, where are the ones in front of the decimals, which should have indicated just how nearsighted I was?

Unfortunately, I don’t know enough about the relationship between the Cylindrical and Axis measurements to know whether those negative Cylindrical numbers paired with larger Axis numbers (95, 85) translate into positive Cylindrical paired with smaller Axis (005, 006), just measured from a different side of the angle (and I had to do an extensive internet search just to figure that out). This makes reading results by the layman, who doesn’t have their instruments or the knowledge, nearly impossible. How can I tell if my prescription is wrong or mistranscribed? Especially if someone doesn’t explain it to me? I can’t.

UGH. 😡

****

This post took me nearly a week to write. Granted, it was a very busy week, and I don’t organize my time well. So I’m going to stop here, then finish the rest shortly. Yes, for real this time. More complications may be coming down the pipe as I try to order glasses from somewhere else, and have a Vision Field Test on 8 June. I don’t know what that is, but it should be interesting! Back soon…

If you want to continue reading, here is the saga so far: