Posted in Life, Medical, Reviews, Technology, Vision and Glasses

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

Hahahahaha!! You thought “soon” actually meant “SOON”. Sorry, time is relative in my world. It’s still 2018, so I’m not doing too badly…

Anyway, before I lose any more memory, I need to finish this stupid saga, so I can continue documenting the different direction I’m trying right now. I’m kind of in Glasses Limbo at the moment — BUT! I’ve learned a few things recently that might end up helping me speak/translate Opticianese in the future. I’m also learning that lens science is ridiculously fraught with math and physics, things I do not excel at and are even kind of baffling to people in the actual field. And my eyes are the kind of nightmare that commercial opticians probably hate to deal with, because they require such minute specialization — and I am not really special enough (or have enough money) to garner that kind of service.

Getting ahead of myself again!

Back to the saga… If you need a refresher or have just stumbled onto this post from elsewhere (and have not yet clicked away, disgusted with this waste of bandwidth), here is the list:

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

This post should wrap up my dealings with Pro-Optix. Some of you are probably breathing a sigh of relief. 😉

12 March 2018:

I left off with March 3rd, 2018. Nine days later, on Monday the 12th, I went to pick up the fourth lens revision. These were better! They felt promising! The vision was sharper in the center of the lens and maybe I just needed to adapt to the edges. I don’t remember any conversation when picking them up, but I remember it was the evening of the first rehearsal for a pre-concert “hell week” (rehearsals every night but Wednesday, leading up to a concert on Saturday). It would have been nice to wear new glasses for the concert, so I could see everything clearly. However, as the afternoon progressed into evening, I could already tell these weren’t going to work, either. The edges were still just too distorted. My eyes were still not working together the way they should have been. I wore them all evening Monday, having to take them off a few times to relax my eyes during rehearsal. I wore them all week, though, hoping I “just needed to adjust”. We went to a museum in Seattle on Wednesday, and I was motion sick, overwhelmed, and fatigued by the middle of the day. I could see well enough, but my brain was not coping with the distortion in the edges of the lenses, nor were my eyes working together yet. I stubbornly went on for a couple more days, but the last straw was the evening of the 16th, a Friday, when I walked into the darkened performance hall (very large room, slanted floors, carpeting) and very nearly lost my balance because the floor didn’t feel like it was where it was supposed to be.

Nope, these glasses had to go back. And they needed to go back permanently. I was done trying for now, and needed to go get a second opinion, probably through my insurance. I mean, what if there was some other underlying cause, and their doctor’s exams weren’t sophisticated enough to detect it? Regardless, they could not, for whatever reason, make lenses that would work with my eyes — and if my last discussion with them was any indication, they weren’t going to send me back to the ophthalmologist, either, for a recheck.

The next week and a half were insanely busy, and I couldn’t make it back until the 28th. I also wasn’t looking forward to another conversation with them, so I probably procrastinated more than I should have. Unfortunately, they were kind of busy that day, but Mr. J2 and Mr. G were in, as was a new trainee. Poor new trainee didn’t know what he was in for. I explained to Mr. J2 (whose hands were tied, I know) that once again, there was something wrong, and I didn’t want to keep taking their time and resources, so I wanted to return the glasses. I waited for Mr. G, who was really the only one who could handle this request, and when I finally asked if I could return the glasses, he said, “Oh, we don’t take returns or give refunds.”

Yes, this is my fault for not reading the fine print. I get that. I was just as upset with myself for this lack of understanding (and in my defense, the fine print was confusing — but at least they weren’t charging me more for the defective lenses). However, it wasn’t this part that really burned me up. It was the following part of the conversation:

Mr. G went on to say that, apparently, nothing was going to work with my eyes. They had “tried everything”, and it wasn’t good enough. He continued to deny that the Rx or the glasses were the problem — though after a bit of back and forth I got him to admit that maybe it was the Rx. He tried to assure me that he’d been in this field for over fifty years, and he knew what he was doing. Then he turned around and said, “We’ll keep working with you; we won’t abandon you.”

I was speechless, really. Aghast. What kind of customer service was this? You begin by telling me there’s nothing you can do for me, and then tell me you’ll keep trying? Trying to what? Frustrate the hell out of me? If you’ve been in the field fifty years, shouldn’t you be trying other tactics? Lens shape? Rx check? Those “practice glasses” some opticians have to test the Rx before you create the lenses? Clearly none of that occurred to him, but he wants me to keep coming back for more condescending lectures and an attitude that makes all my vision correction problems look like my fault?

F[orget] that! I thanked him for his time and walked out.

Fifty feet away, I realized that I had also intended to pick up any paperwork they had on me so I could have it for my records. Crap. I swallowed my pride and marched right back and asked for it. They provided it for me (those atrocious copies I embedded in Take 4, Part 2), I thanked them again and walked out. It took a couple hours to come down from the internal storm of fury I was trying to keep from cracking my otherwise calm exterior. I texted a friend I’d been updating about the whole situation, and then my husband, to tell him we were out $350 and I still didn’t have glasses that worked. It felt like smoke was leaking out my ears.

My husband, wonderful man that he is (and whose eyewear is covered by the Army), assured me that they were probably out just as much money with all the lens changes and labor involved, and I could always get new lenses somewhere else for the glasses I already had (frames that cost $170, I found out after buying them, because a) my eyes were dilated when Ms. C helped me pick them out and b) I couldn’t find a marked price on it when I was comparing, but they were the best choice of what I looked at. *SIGH*). That brought me down from the edge a bit.

But, after three months, four sets of lenses, and a dose of humiliation, I was done with Pro-Optix. I was frustrated, furious, and deeply disappointed. Once again, I had to battle my way to better vision correction, my STUUUUUPID eyes were once again stupid, and I was back at square one. AGAIN. At least my old glasses weren’t broken, for what it’s worth.

14 May 2018:

Fast forward a couple months. I managed to get a referral from my medical doctor for an eye exam that was covered by my insurance, at Pacific Northwest (PNW) Eye Associates. This exam was slightly more comprehensive, and mostly done by someone who wasn’t the doctor (he came in after, reviewed notes and results, and answered questions). All notes were taken on a computer (technological wonders!), and I got a printed Rx when I was done. The doctor wasn’t as personable as the one at Pro-Optix (I really did like him, even if his handwriting was probably the root of several of my issues there), but he was efficient and I got out of there fairly quickly, with a recommendation to have my glasses compared by the optician on the other side of the office.

Funny aside: I’d been getting over a fairly nasty sinus cold-turned-infection, and my nose was still pretty stuffy. They put in the yellow numbing drops to check for eye pressure (which was slightly elevated, again), and for an hour or two afterward, I was blowing out neon-yellow mucus and worrying that my infection had come back with a vengeance, despite being on a strong round of antibiotics, decongestant, and Prednisone. Nope, just eye-drop dye! /aside

The optician they have is…not one who is into smiling, even for customers (this is pertinent much later). But that day she was willing to help me, and read the Rx on both my old glasses and the ones from Pro-Optix (also pictured in Take 4, Part 2). I don’t know so much about the math and physics involved with fitting someone with a prescription, but the doctor had said they’d over-corrected the nearsightedness in my right eye and not properly tweaked the Rx for the astigmatism in my left eye, according to what was read in the newer glasses and/or the printout I got after my first exam at Pro-Optix. The optician, however, mentioned that the biggest problem was the base curve, and if I were to get lenses in the future I should have them use the lesser curve of about 3.5.

When she mentioned that, memories flooded back from the very first time I started having problems with glasses. Memories that I wished would have surfaced WAY sooner so I could have mentioned them during this most current debacle.

I’d completely forgotten that what ended up being a problem with my Costco glasses back in the first dang post about this could very well have been a problem in these glasses, as well. But what Costco couldn’t get right, Pro-Optix had. Why? Then, Target had sent them back only once, and I have no clue what they corrected to make them work right — except that maybe they knew about this problem and had excellent labs (I thought about going back to see if I could get paperwork from them, too, but I wasn’t sure if they’d still have the records I got a copy of the prescription from Target today (15 Sept 2018)! Not the medical record, just the Rx printout. Turns out the lenses I ordered from Target three years ago — the ones I still wear — are, indeed, TRIVEX LENSES).

After some research on the base curvature of lenses (which further confirmed that optometry is magic), I began to formulate a hypothesis. Perhaps the problem with the Costco glasses years ago was the fact that I was going from a narrower, rectangular lens (probably about 27-29mm top to bottom) to a rounder, deeper one (maybe 31+mm), and their labs used a generic table for curvature (my current Rx would suggest I needed a base curve of 6; six years ago it might have suggested a 4). The doctor back then, knowing eyes and maybe not lenses (since he kept sending me to optical, and didn’t realize polycarbonate is aspherical, with no base curve), kept suggesting a higher curve, because my old lenses had a BC of 6. But my old lenses were narrow!

Mr. J at Pro-Optix, when I was so happy with them, did find me a plastic/polycarb blend of some kind (not available anymore, I guess?), but also another narrow, rectangular frame. AND! He had a very mild magnification added at the bottom of the lens, which never distorted my vision — probably because the lens was too narrow for the curve to make much difference! But when I went to Target, I got a deep, square lens, 32mm top to bottom (and I think a higher index lens than I really needed — unless I really do need a high-index lens for my princess eyes, ugh). They must have figured out that the problems I was having with the bottom of the lenses were the way they curved, and adjusted them to a 3.5 from probably a standard 6. They may have adjusted it according to the amount of astigmatism in either eye, because they probably had people competent enough to figure that stuff out.

I would have thought that kind of thing should have been standard knowledge, but I’m learning that maybe it really isn’t. This paper I ran across the other day lent credence to those suspicions: The Truth About Base Curves. As did this article in 20/20 Magazine: “All About That Base (Curve)”. Much of the information in these references made my eyes cross (heh), because I just don’t have enough information to understand it, and I truly suck at algebra. But there was enough cautionary language for opticians and lens makers that I had to believe the base curvature of a lens is almost the last thing considered when a patient is having difficulty adapting to their new glasses.

Huh. Fascinating stuff!

But I hate that I would have had to basically force the “highly experienced” Mr. G to think outside the box if I’d continued at Pro-Optix. I’m also kind of wondering if other people did, too. Last time I was at the mall, they were closed up by 5:30pm, and a sign in their window said that after ten years they were having a change of ownership! Veeery interesting. It could have simply been the fact that Mr. J wasn’t really working there anymore, and maybe Mr. G was ready for retirement. But part of me wonders if I wasn’t the only person who had difficulty wanting to spend any more money on a business that can’t handle special cases and condescends to them instead of helping them overcome their issues.

Whatever. I’m happy to report that since that whole mess, I’ve discovered Zenni Optical! And though I’m very excited for inexpensive glasses, it appears there are some other issues to overcome if I want to use them consistently.

But that will be the subject of My Incompetent/High Maintenance Eyeballs, TAKE 5. Yes, I’m sorry — there is more. I mentioned I’m still in Glasses Limbo. I’m hoping to remedy that in the next couple of weeks, but now I’m kind of in research mode, and feel like I need to do an entire informational article on the difficulties of buying glasses for weird eyes. I just don’t want to spend a fortune on new lenses merely to prove my point — but I also want answers! These problems are not going to end. In fact, they might get worse the more nearsighted I become. I’m now required to be wearing my glasses when I drive, so not having glasses is not an option. It’s very frustrating.

Okay, I’ll wrap this up now, hopefully to follow up with Take 5 after I receive my second pair of Zennis (because I messed up the first — but I’ll save that story for next time)!

Posted in Business, Life, Reviews, Vision and Glasses

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:

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! 🙂

Posted in Business, Life, Reviews, Vision and Glasses

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:

Posted in Blogging, Business, Life, Reviews, Vision and Glasses

My Incompetent/High Maintenance Eyeballs: Take 4, Part 1

I’m breaking my inadvertent year-and-a-quarter radio silence to bring you this ongoing gripe I have, which I now expect will be a thorn in my side forever. But maybe I’ll learn something. Who knows.

I hope you weren’t expecting meaningful content. I don’t have the energy for meaningful content anymore — not that I ever really provided meaningful content in this blog. I try to provide all that over at Seeking Aleithia — which I haven’t updated in a long time. But I want to. Just like I say every time I write a new post after not posting in forever. I’m sure it’s what my readership has come to expect from me.

But it’s pretty obvious I don’t care about readership, so I’m just gonna go ahead with my gripefest, because I’m annoyed and devastated and angry. Not necessarily in that order.

Since having children, it seems my eyes have been getting worse and worse — though not as much my prescription as my sensitivity to materials. Well, I take that back: My prescription is getting stronger year by year (I just renewed my driver’s license after turning 40, and I couldn’t see the line of letters in the light box that determines whether I can drive without my glasses). But it’s getting harder to get corrective lenses to work with my stupid eyes. Or maybe it’s just hard to find a doctor+optical shop combo that a) saves me money, b) tries to find solutions to my vision problems, and c) doesn’t make me feel like an ignoramus because I can’t articulate the problems I’m having.

It doesn’t help that I have difficulty trusting the medical community, in general. But I just had the most disappointing experience I’ve ever had when dealing with an optical business, and am, once again, back at Square One.

If you’re just stumbling onto this blog by chance (apologies in advance; I’m nothing if not tedious), here are Take 1, Take 2, and Take 3.

There have been SOOOOOOOOOOO many (non-glasses-related) things that have happened that were blog- or gripe-worthy between the last post and now (which I might eventually get to in retrospect), but I feel the need to follow up with Take 3 — because what had been such a triumphant experience waaaaaay back in 2012 has just flipped backwards on me and become a massively disappointing experience I really wish I could have avoided by being more relentless and/or organized about information I was getting in the process of trying to find glasses that worked — or getting an optical referral from my doctor, shopping around more, or trying to find something within ten or fifteen miles of home.

I’ve thought about leaving a review on Yelp and/or Google, but I’ve seen this shop reply to poor reviews and turn it back on the customer. Maybe part of the problems I’ve had with them are my fault (am I just too prissy about my vision?), but I’m pretty sure their customer service is what I don’t want to deal with anymore.

After my great experience with Pro-Optix in 2012, the shop grew and moved to a different part of the mall. They now have a lab in the back and manufacture their own lenses. The guy who helped me originally (“Mr. J” for anonymity; I believe he is the business owner, at least) is there infrequently, but his dad (we’ll call him “Mr. G”) is there most of the time and and they have a few very young employees (two of whom we’ll call “Ms. C” and “Mr. D”).

My Target glasses were getting a little old (I guess it’s been three years since my eyes were last checked), and my distance vision just a tad blurry. However, the most immediate signs I cannot ignore for long are frequent headaches and eye fatigue from squinting. I really suck at being proactive about that sort of thing, but having had so much trouble in the past with doctors and optics, it takes a lot of psyching-up (and pain) to get me to finally see to it.

I decided that I would revisit Pro-Optix, because I’d had such a great experience with them before. I walked in one afternoon, got in to see the optometrist right away (I don’t remember his name), and had a pleasant experience with him and the gal (Ms. C) who helped me pick out frames and price lenses. I thought I was going to be able to get a blue-light coating (which I’d heard was quite useful, especially if you’re sensitive to light and in front of a computer a lot), but I wasn’t going to be able to afford the slight magnification at the bottom of the lens that I’d gotten when I went there in 2012.

I should probably just get used to the reality that my glasses will never again be less than $350. They cost at least that much at Target (not including the exam), and I couldn’t get it any lower at Pro-Optix, either (though the exam was free if I bought glasses there). But at least I was getting a little more bang for my buck, with Trivex lenses and a blue-light coating. Right?

Nope. I got a call from Pro-Optix while I was on my way home. Apparently, Ms. C messed up when ordering my lenses (quote: “She’s new and doesn’t know the system”), and the blue-light coating was only available on a higher-index lens, which would add another $250 to my cost (I think — or the total cost of the lens would go up and add whatever the difference was. Whatever it was, he didn’t explain it). But I could have plain polycarbonate with an anti-reflective (AR) coating for the same price as I’d already paid. Um, okay. It seemed steep, but I guessed that must have been the price of going to a larger, independently owned boutique.

This was Mistake #1: I did not fully research the added costs at Pro-Optix vs. what I normally got for free almost everywhere else. Mistake #2 was not keeping the guy on the phone and getting a full breakdown, and warning him thoroughly that I have had problems with polycarb in the past, and I will most likely be darkening their doorstep to let them know something is wrong shortly after receiving my glasses and trying them for at least a week.

Which I very well did.

They were done nearly three weeks later, and I picked them up whenever I managed to make it back there (Mistake #0.5 was going to an optical shop 30 miles away from home). I guess their lab was not functioning at the time, or they sent lenses out to get coated — I don’t remember, I just know they had sent out for a new left lens because there was a flaw in the AR coating. It wasn’t somewhere that obscured my vision, so I could still wear the glasses; they would just replace the lens when it came in. I believe sometime in that time-frame I went in for a pressure follow-up, because it was elevated in my first exam (probably due to sinus pressure that day; I’d had cluster headaches at near-migraine levels the day before, and was still fighting the tension in my neck). But the doctor did not recheck my prescription.

I wore the new glasses for several days. At first they seemed clear. There was a little distortion that threw off my depth perception, but not as much as problem lenses I’d had in the past. My right eye hurt some (that’s the diva eye, though I believe the astigmatism is actually worse in my left), and lights were extra bright with starbursts around them (which, if I’d recalled correctly, the AR coating should have reduced). But I didn’t have the wacky, looking-through-aquarium-glass rainbow effects I had the last time I’d dealt with polycarb, so maybe I just needed to adjust. I stuck it out for a few days, but soon had trouble focusing and was becoming fatigued much earlier than before the new lenses. I knew something had to be off. The clincher was when I was trying to read something I should have been able to see from about six feet away, and it was blurry. I took off the new glasses and put on my old ones, and could see clearly.

Sure enough, the new glasses were goin’ back — the first of several times.

* * * *

I’m trying a new thing, where I break up super-long posts into parts, so I don’t take days to write one, and you don’t have to take an hour to read it. I really need to go do something else now, so at least I can post something before I abandon yet another draft for a year or more. Blogging used to be so easy! But, then, I didn’t have kids or as much distraction as I do now. Since I was actively keeping up an online journal in 2004, blogging has become synonymous with meaningful content. I’ve already told you how I’m managing with meaningful content. So maybe I’ll just go back to my old blather, and not care what people think about it — but I have to cut it into chunks, or it will never get done.

Anyway.

Part 2 should be done soonish.

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

Posted in Business, Life, Reviews, Vision and Glasses

My Incompetent (or should I just say “high maintenance”?) Eyeballs, Take 3

I had written about this before (Take 1 and Take 2), without ever completing the story. It did have a happy ending: I went to a place called “Pro-Optix” in the mall, and the guy not only helped me pick out a cute pair of glasses, but hooked me up with a polycarb/plastic blend that worked absolutely perfectly with my eyes, as well as added a slight magnification in the bottom of the lens to combat eye fatigue and the difficulty my eyes sometimes have adjusting from far to near. It was wonderful, and I don’t know why I didn’t just go back to him when it was time to get new glasses again, especially since the total for everything, even having to send the lenses to two different labs for all the optimization my prescription required, was only $145. (It did take two weeks for them to arrive, and then he had to send them back because they reversed the lenses – right was left and left was right – so it did take a total of four weeks for me to finally get them. But I did not have to send them back again!)

I’ve had these glasses I’m wearing now since late 2012, and, as much as I love them, I realized recently that I seem to be squinting more and getting more headaches when focusing for a long time. When it occurred to me that it had been almost three years since I’ve had an exam and new lenses, I looked up a new doctor (because we have different insurance now) and had an exam at our local Target Optical.

Problem #1: I did not get a referral from my doctor for this clinic, so even though it is listed as a partner, I only got a discount on the exam, and still had to pay $75 out of pocket. Not what I was expecting.

Problem #2: New glasses, even with $100 discounted through insurance, are INSANELY EXPENSIVE. I was kicking myself from here to the mall, where I happened to be going the very night I reluctantly purchased the frames and lenses from Target, which came to well over $300. I’m sure Pro-Optix could have fetched me a better price (and since then I’ve learned that they make the lenses onsite now, though I imagine my speshul snowflake eyes would probably require the same amount of exactitude and coddling they did last time).

Problem #3: Insanely expensive materials for lenses do not guarantee your eyes will adjust to them. I just went back for a re-exam today, because the new lenses weren’t quite as bad as my first experience back in 2012 with material incompatibility, but they were still pretty bad. At least this time, both the optician and the optometrist understood that it was my astigmatism that was making my eyes incompatible with even the most advanced lenses (my last eye doctor never came to that conclusion, or if he did he never told me). The frames – which are super cute, and totally not something I would have ever chosen for myself without help – are going back to the lab to have the lenses redone. Hopefully it will be done just as quickly as the last ones, which came a few days after we ordered them.

For $300+, they’d better!

(I just posted over in my other blog, Seeking Aleithia, if you are interested in taking a look: “Christian Feminism and the Modern Church“. God Bless!)

Hello! I’m coming back from the future to say that this goes on for a long, loooong time — and it only gets worse. Here is the saga in full (more to be added later):

Posted in Life, Vision and Glasses

My Incompetent Eyeballs, Take 2

Here is Take 1. Cliff’s Notes version: Glasses broke so I had to get new ones; oldish prescription, but still good (I thought); went to Costco for affordable frames and lenses; first pair had polycarbonate lenses and anti-reflective coating, but I had to take them back because of massive distortion; second pair had regular plastic lenses and anti-reflective coating, but I had to take them back due to not-as-massive-yet-still-as-annoying distortion; went to the eye doctor, but they sent me to Optical instead of checking my eyes against the prescription, and Optical said to have the base curve changed from 4.75 to 6; took glasses back to Costco yet again, and that is where Take 2 begins . . .

When the new glasses came back, with all the specs that Optical hoped they should have, they were not only distorted, they were also WRONG. When I had the polycarbonate lenses, everything I looked directly at was nice and sharp and clear. It was everything around what I was looking directly at that was distorted. When I got the plastic lenses, there was something weird about my left eye, and my eyes seemed to unfocus and refocus as soon as I put them on, but it still seemed like I could see okay when looking directly at something. The third pair . . . I couldn’t read clearly in the middle distance, which made the glasses completely worthless. I wore them for an hour or two, and gave up on them quickly. It was obvious my old glasses were superior to the new — which is not how it’s supposed to be! And whenever I took them somewhere to get them looked at, everyone commented on how the new prescription (2011) is just not that different from the old (2008).

So I called the eye doctor and managed, wonder of wonders, to get an appointment that same week! On a day my husband had already taken off! Hooray! I was determined to go in and not get foisted off on Optical, and, fortunately, they took me seriously when I said that something was definitely wrong, and needed to be fixed.

An optician (at least — she might have been an optometrist, because she was using the equipment) checked my eyes for me, with my new glasses and my old glasses, then checked my eyes with the equipment they use to determine a prescription. She found that my left eye Rx needed some fine-tuning, but the right eye didn’t need as much power as it had in the past. The doctor concurred when he checked, later. It just wasn’t enough to make a difference in the problems I was having with the new glasses, though. They had Optical check my new glasses out completely, and they were all to spec: Correct prescription and base curve.

What else could it be but a material issue? They called J.C. Penney, where I got my original glasses, and Costco, hoping to find a difference in materials between the two. I’d thought that I’d gotten regular plastic lenses from J.C. Penney, because polycarbonate costs more. However, J.C. Penney claimed that the glasses they sold me were polycarb! Costco confirmed the plastic (CR-something-something). SO, the doctor said that maybe I need to switch back to polycarb, but with the same base curve as what they are now.

Up to this point in the story, I’ve had two people confirm my prescription, tweaking it ever so slightly as to make almost no difference, and two sets of glasses with very little difference in prescription and the same base curve (and same lens size and shape in the frames!) but still a major discrepancy in visual quality. What else could it be but the materials?

I took them back to Costco — hoping they would be kind to me, their Worst Customer Evar — and asked if they could change the lenses, once again, to polycarb, but with the same base curve as what they have now. Almost as soon as I got the words out of my mouth, the Costco optician said that polycarb is aspherical, and cannot be made with a base curve (she was nice about it, thankfully).

Um. Well. Okay. I guess that clinches it: I’m officially back at Square One!

(Also, why didn’t the doctor know that?)

All I could figure at that point is that I’m going to have to go somewhere else for glasses. This makes me very sad. I might have to spend $100+ more to get them right somewhere else. I thought for a second, and then asked if I could just get a refund. She was totally cool with that. (Probably happy to get rid of me, finally?)

Now I just have to figure out who can make glasses for me, and how much more I’m going to need to budget for them. Meh.

I did ask the doctor whether I could be a candidate for Lasik, and he said that I would have to solve my dry eye issues first and then I could be, but PRK might be a better option, because it’s usually better for people with dry eyes. We’ll have to see . . . But that might be more cost effective in the long run than $300 every time my stupid frames break!

So, I might have another glasses saga to tell when I go try to find some new ones. But, for now, the masking tape seems to be holding my old frames together pretty well. 🙂

Hello! I’m coming back from the future to say that this goes on for a long, loooong time — and it only gets worse. Here is the saga in full (more to be added later):

Posted in Life, Vision and Glasses

My Incompetent Eyeballs

Augh! I have freak eyes!

I had an eye exam about a year and a couple months ago, but I either didn’t really have the time to go glasses shopping or I couldn’t find frames I liked when I did go shopping (I’m really picky — also, new baby, and pregnancy and nursing can throw off an Rx). I was just going to wait till my next exam to get new glasses, because the new prescription really wasn’t that far off from the old, but then my frames broke and I was forced to get new ones. I’ve had this prescription since 2008, and the frames since 2009 (the first pair broke barely a year after I got them), so it’s definitely time.

I went to Costco, because I’ve gotten glasses there before and had no trouble with them (and I also don’t want to spend more than $150 on glasses while I have two active little boys climbing on me all day). I spent about $130 and got cute frames, polycarbonate lenses, and anti-reflective coating (yeah, it’s a pain to keep clean, but I’ve found I’ve become less tolerant to glare over the past few years, especially while driving at night).

When they came in, seven days later (while the earpiece that broke off my old glasses has been held on by masking tape, cleverly wrapped and colored with brown Sharpie), I could see great far away and up close, but when I used peripheral or looked down, there was major distortion. The ground was too close, like I had bifocals (which I don’t), and everything else was like looking sideways through aquarium glass. Ugh! I took them to the optical shop in my doctor’s office after trying to wear them for most of a week, and optical confirmed that the prescription matched, but suggested that maybe my eyes were too sensitive for the polycarb lenses. Bummer! So, I took them back to Costco and asked them to exchange the lenses for regular plastic. The lady there tried to flatten the frames a little, but that didn’t help, either.

Seven days later, the new glasses came in! Yay! But when I put them on, everything was still just a bit off. Boo! 😦 The floor was still a little too close, and there was distortion on the sides, but it wasn’t as bad as before. I decided to give them another shot, but after another couple of days of eye fatigue and resulting irritability (apparently, wonky vision makes me angry, not to mention nauseous), I gave up.

I’d made an eye doctor appointment when they called to ask if I needed one, because it was the only opening in April (and if I was going to need one, earlier is better than later). I kept the appointment (which was at 7:30 this morning — bleh), and ended up not even seeing the doctor at all (grr!), because they just sent me back to optical, who determined that it was the distance of the lenses from my eyes and the “base curvature” of the lens that was giving me all the trouble.

*Sob!* Stupid eyes! I’ve never had this problem before! 😦

So I took them back to Costco today, asked them very nicely if I can return the glasses so they match the base curvature of the new lens (which is currently about four & 3/4) to the base curvature of the old lens (about six), and will have to wait another seven (to ten) days for my new glasses to come in. Meh.

(I have tried to get contacts in the past, but was told by the first optometrist that I didn’t produce enough tears, and the second told me that the lenses for dry eyes cannot be made precise enough for my prescription, which is not strong, but is apparently very demandingly fine. Stupid eyes.)

I don’t know what I’m going to do if the next pair doesn’t work. I might have to go to a different eye doctor, though…

Hello! I’m coming back from the future to say that this goes on for a long, loooong time — and it only gets worse. Here is the saga in full (more to be added later):