The Enbifocalizationingness Has Ocurrinated

Or, in language that is slightly more related to English, I’ve got my new glasses, with bifocal lenses. Here they are. I went with progressive lenses and the glasses are rimless. I think they look fairly decent.

My first few hours of bifocals review: They’re doing what they’re supposed to, which is to keep text from being all fuzzy when I look at it close up. I’m aware of the change in focus when I look in various parts of the lenses, but so far it hasn’t been anything that’s too disruptive. It’s not making me fall over my own feet, which is what I’m hoping for here. So in all, this little bit of aging has passed along in a fairly painless manner.

54 Comments on “The Enbifocalizationingness Has Ocurrinated”

  1. I first tried the non-progressive bifocals. They sucked for computer work. The progressive bifocals are ten times better for the computer. Have you stepped down stairs yet? That was where I tripped up a few times.

  2. Aging? AGING?! I had my first bifocals when I was ten years old. Back then we had to wear them uphill both ways! And twice on Sunday!

    And they were not nearly so stylish. Which is good, because stylish would have clashed with my sweatpants and hair gel. Yay, middle school.

  3. You are OK for now. Just wait 5 years until you get up to 2X vision on the bottom and you try to go down stair steps. I’m fairly sure that next step is down there somewhere but you gotta have faith that it is there amongst the fuzziness.

  4. When Patrick Nielsen Hayden got his first pair of bifocals, he said “My eyes no longer believe in bishops.”

    Takes a fair amount of erudition to make that joke…or get it, which I didn’t until I looked some stuff up.

  5. #3: And I thought I was doing poorly to have started bifocals when I was in my early thirties! On that note, when I got my most recent pair of glasses, the technician told me that he was starting to see younger and younger ppl (teenagers, even children) needing bifocals. He surmised that it’s all the monitor-gazing so many of us do now, as opposed to when our generation (I’m nearly 40) were kids and there were no such things as computers/ipods/cellphones to play with 24/7.

  6. I got My First Bifocals a month or so ago, also progressives. The part I STILL haven’t gotten used to is the parts of the lenses that aren’t EITHER prescription, the lower inner & outer corners. The fuzziness there still bugs me. I’m slowly getting used to turning my head rather than just moving my eyes.

  7. It took me a couple weeks to get used to my progressive lenses. First couple of days I seriously thought there was something wrong with them but I eventually figured out how to “use” them. Sounds like you’re having an easier road than me.

  8. I’ve had the progressives for a number of years now and I’ve always liked them. I don’t remember having the adjustment period be much longer than a week or so.
    I still wear contacts from time to time but that means carting around reading glasses which is more of a pain in the ass than just wearing the glasses in the first place.
    What I need are progressive bifocal contacts, if there is such a thing. Or maybe I should just go ahead and get Lasik. I’ve been told I’m a good candidate but I’m just to cheap to take the plunge. (or too scared of it going bad on me…)
    Frame-less is definitely the way to go John. People are still looking at you and not the glasses. None of us need to go the Elton John route.

  9. I see Marcus beat me to it with the bifocals-as-youngster story. Though I think I may have been nine when I had them. Wore them a couple of years (which is to say, at least two pairs) and then went to see a different eye doctor, who said “What idiot put you in those?” Haven’t had them since (about 25 years now).

    It wasn’t a good time to have them, I have to say. I was one of the only kids I knew who had a computer at home, and I didn’t yet know how to type. So I was always looking down at my fingers to see the keyboard, then glancing up at the little portable TV (not monitor) to see what I’d typed, and of course my eyes would move from looking through the reading lens at the keyboard to looking through the distance lens at the screen. I probably had headaches the entire time I had those bifocals. At least now I can touch-type, so if I have to go to them someday I’m not so likely to have that specific problem.

  10. I’ve had bifocals (progressive as well) for a couple years now and hate them. The upper distance part just never seemed right, and I have to tilt my head back too far to use the lower reading part. Maybe it was a bad prescription or they weren’t made right, but next time I go back to lenses only for distance, and I’l just hold books closer to my face when reading…

  11. Robin – I had the exact same experience. Then, at age 28, I experienced the magic of LASIK.

    This is relevant:

  12. Stairs are easy. Try wading while fishing. Or for that matter walking in the woods. I always use a walking stick/wading staff now. On the bright side, I’ve learned to make really nice ones ;-)

  13. My progressives are fine for most tasks. I still prefer a second pair of single vision specs made for looking at my computer monitor.

  14. As someone expecting to be bifocalized in the near future for similar reasons to John Scalzi, I am expecting this blog to provide detailed and ongoing updates as well as comparative reviews of different lenses etc.

  15. So I’m guessing this is why you tweeted: “Incipient Oldination” is the name of my next band.

  16. I tried bifocals for 2 years, and had the same experience Ged @ 16 did; it didn’t matter where I tilted my head, nothing was quite right or comfortable. On returning to my eye doctor, I told her “Give me my original setup sans bifocals; if I need another set eventualy for reading, or get bad enough I need them later, so be it.” Happy as a clam these days.

  17. Cyranetta @ 26
    Watched the new Harry Potter 3-D last night over my trifocals. Just had to be careful to being viewing the film through the top third of my eyeglasses through the 3-D glasses. Looked just fine. No problems. Great film, by the way. I really enjoyed Rowling’s twist having Neville Longbottom kill the snake thing as both he and Harry Potter were born the same time and day and both were potentials to be the end of Voldemort (Tom Riddle). And they both were responsible for his demise.

  18. Get computer glasses. Absolutely wonderful.

    As a lifelong myopic just a smidge older than you I can read my iPhone without glasses, though it’s awfully close to my face. My progressives are fine for routine work and driving.

    For computers though, I love my single focal-plain glasses. They focus me from about 2 to 8 feet.

  19. Welcome to the club! I’ve had mine for a couple of years. They do take some getting used to. I could only wear them 4 hours a day for the first week and then built up the time. Once you’re used to them, the world looks very strange without them.

  20. I started wearing contacts in anticipation of needing reading correction. I already think most lenses are too small without being bifocals (bifocular?). A few years ago, I was annoyed at having a frame in my field of vision so I switched to rimless glasses. My plan is to wear contacts for far vision and reading glasses for near vision.

  21. Got my first pair two or three years ago, around 62. Lots of warnings about stairs; didn’t fall, came close a couple of times.

  22. I also tried progressives a while ago but I had to return them all. Presbyopia is the main problem I have and I found that the vertical change in magnification was bearable but there was a horizontal change that created a sensation of tunnnel vision. I tried three different sets from various optometrists and then gave up. Now I have two single vision pairs for driving and reading. I hope you have better luck then I did.

  23. Got my bifocals last week. My first pair of glasses ever. I’d say something snarky or witty here except that I’m still kinda depressed about being old enough to need bifocals. Plus, you know, there’s that whole sucking-at-being-snarky thing that gets in the way, too.

  24. Hated progressive lenses. I had to *turn my head* from side to side to see the sides of my keyboard clearly. (That is, if I focused on the center of the keyboard, the sides were out of focus.) Went back and got regular trifocals, and never looked back. To coin a phrase. (Top lens=distance, middle lens=arm’s length [monitor], bottom lens=closeup reading.)

    What’s the over/under on when you’ll need trifocals, John? ;)

  25. I have to have the line with my bifocals. the extra 2 or 3 microns it took to make the line invisible made my vertigo a permanent thing. now it only happens when I drive fast on a highway-which is my favorite thing. watch out.

  26. Love progressive bifocals – they remind me of working at a microscope, except that you “focus” by tilting your head, instead of turning adjustment knobs.

    The only problem I had was driving on freeways – I kept “seeing” cars coming up beside me, but there was nothing there; it was just an artifact of the rimless edge of the lens. But hey, better thinking there’s something when there’s not, than the other way ’round, and after a couple days thoses cars went away.

  27. Another thing: I found out from experience that, if you go with progressive bifocals, it makes a huge difference to get them from a high-quality optometrist. I got a backup pair from one of those BOGO chains – had to throw them away – totally useless.

    It’s something about the quality of the plastic used to make the lens: it has to have no flaws at all, to work properly.

    BTW, I’m pretty sure that, with progressives, you never have to have trifocals – they just change the way the magnification “progresses.”

  28. Welcome to the progressive lens club and I’m pleased to see that you chose the same frames I did. I feel incrementally cooler to have something in common with you!

  29. #28…That’s about right. That’s what I do now, though I had to be convinced of the necessity for computer glasses.
    All in all, as ageing milestones go, this one is pretty minor. ;-)

  30. My appointment to get bifocals is on the 3rd. I’m looking forward to not having to move my iPad screen close and far to read the damned thing.


  31. Heh… I got my first set of bifocals in January. I’ve had glasses for years, but only needed single vision lenses before. I’m glad I got the progressive lenses myself.

  32. I got my first pair of progressive glasses, oh, 15 years ago or so. At the time, there wasn’t much difference from top to bottom, which may be why I found them so easy to get used to. I do work at a computer, but I frequently have to look away from the screen to see paper docs. The progressive lenses cured my daily headaches, so perhaps I had a really good incentive to get used to them.

  33. So does it make you more appreciate getting the new “perfect” body in Old Man’s War ? I need new eyes and a new heart myself.

  34. Most progressive lens designs are actually “quint-focal” or “hept-focal” (five or seven focal distances.) Lens designers (the clear bit you look through) get to make several decisions along the way, among them the number of focal distances and whether to optimize for “field flatness” or “center sharpness”; you mostly can’t have both. Choosing maximal field flatness means you don’t get maximal center sharpness and vice-versa; some designs have neither, trading a little more sharpness for a little more flatness. (Ideally, you’d have both maximized; this requires an actively flexing lens.)

  35. Specs look good, John. I just got my bifocals this week as well. I’ve needed them for about two years, and I’m finding it tricky to train myself out of the bad habits I developed to compensate for the loss of sharpness at that distance. Now the sharpness is back! I just have to remember to use it.

  36. Congrats–the progressive lenses are a god-send for those of us who read a lot or do crafts. They look quite spiffy. Welcome to another step of being middle aged. Better than the alternative, huh?

  37. Cool new frames. I am also looking forward (er hem) to my first pair of bifocals, and have been looking at rimless ones too. Do you mind sharing what designer or frame style they are?

  38. Any trouble with night driving yet? I do the bifocals and a glare prevention treatment on my lenses. Since you are a couple of years younger than me, this might be something to look forward to. :)

  39. I had bifocals until they fixed my cataract. My eyes are too bad for the progressive type implant so I got a closeup lens in the “fixed” eye and have a contact for distance that I wear in the other eye. Mono vision ftw.

  40. Being a connoisseur of glasses for the past… 47? years….

    I like how rimless glasses look. My wife owns a pair. She has much better vision than me, and she can’t find her’s half the time. With my -9.0 DO vision, rims are the only possible thing there for me to be able to find them if something happens and they don’t go exactly where I put them/expect them to be. Such as the cat knocking them off my nightstand (which is still a nightmare, bronze frames on wood flooring?), granddaughter grabbing them and dropping them, tree/bush limbs knocking them off (sometimes knocking them off and me running them over with the riding lawnmower because I couldn’t get stopped in time, but since these were the old nylon pair from fifth grade, they did manage to not break and even surprised my optometrist when he was told the story).

    I also wear contacts, and if I manage to put the glasses somewhere not obvious when I take those out, that can be a real sight for others to watch as I blindly try to find my glasses then.

    And two years ago, they tried to get me into bifocals. Close, but still not quite necessary, even now, even when I had my 96DPI 20″ 1600×1200 monitor (which broke, and now I have a 24″ 1920×1200 monitor, although I still prefer the 96DPI…) Although the screen does fuzz I’ve noticed, if I put the glasses up where they actually belong. Sigh.

  41. One thing I’d recommend for bi (or even tri) focal wearers – get a pair of monofocal glasses to use at the computer. Get them with a focal length of about 18″ and you’re good to go while at the computer. It’s too hard, as some have mentioned, to get the perfect vision for a computer with the bi(tri) focals and I just swap to my “other’ glasses when I work at the computer.

  42. Welcome to the 40’s!
    My distance Rx is not too awful and my lenses are small enough that I can look under them to go down stairs :)
    I still cannot rock climb with them :(