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:

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):