Today’s New Glasses
Posted on July 17, 2015 Posted by John Scalzi 68 Comments
My old glasses prescription was going out of date, so I went to get a new pair. I ended up getting three pairs instead.
This is my new general set of glasses. It looks generally indistinguishable from my previous set of glasses, because I liked how they looked on me. They’re progressive lenses, which is the same as having bifocals but less obvious so you don’t have to acknowledge that you’re getting old.
These are my computer glasses, which is to say a pair with a fixed focus distance roughly in line with how far I sit from my computer screens. I got these because when I use my progressive lenses at my desk, I ended up doing a lot of neck craning to be able to see the screen (not a good idea) and/or taking my glasses off and parking my face a couple of inches in from the screen (not a good idea either). Now I can type rather more comfortably. Considering how much time I spend sitting in front of a computer, this is a positive turn of events.
And obviously these are sunglasses. These are also single-distance, designed for far distances since I will use them primarily for driving lounging about on a beach, where close vision will not be at a premium. These glasses have a nice Matrix-y vibe to them. Now all I need is a long leather duster (note: I will not be getting a long leather duster).
For those about to ask: My optometrist didn’t think I was an especially good candidate for contact lenses, because of the need for progressive lenses and because of a specific astigmatism that I have, and as for Lasik, well, I think lasers and eyeballs are a bad mix. So: new glasses! Three pairs! And there we are.
Are the top pair Silhouettes? They have been my goto for about 7 years now, once you wear them its hard to go back to heavier frames…
Welcome to my age. I’ve been using the bifocal/computer glasses combo for a few years now. But I got bifocals for my sunglasses so I could read the phone screen while in the car. (No, not while driving–only when the car is stopped or when I’m a passenger.) I have three computer workstations I typically sit in front of (work, home office, and home music studio). Each one has a set of computer glasses because I would occasionally leave a pair at work or at home. Now I don’t have to worry about that.
” and as for Lasik, well, I think lasers and eyeballs are a bad mix. ”
and that is how our Alien Overload Anthropologists will be able to distinguish between myself and my more successful doppelganger
I could not get used to progressive lenses. At all. Tried for weeks, but got headaches and dizziness. Went back to the old line.
All three are nice looking!
You can hardly see the general-use set. Nice style. I got my first pair of progressives recently. Yeeks. And yet it never occurred to me to get glasses specifically for wearing for computer work. I’ll do that next time, though.
What does it say when one spends precious time thinking “Why would Scalzi need a long feather duster?” rather than re-reading the phrase “long leather duster” in a post about eyeglasses?
Question about single-distance sunglasses and the beach. How do you read? As an aside, the heavy combing and the extra length of the white goatee hairs creates quite a dramatic difference!
Like you, I have progressives (my reading prescription has shot up in the past few years) and distance-only sunglasses. The computer ones, though — I might have to look into that. So far I’ve worked things out by using my progressives and writing on a laptop, which means I look downward at the screen.
I have what my optometrist calls occuptional bifocals for working at the computer – monitor distance reading prescription at the top, keyboard/general reading distance prescription at the bottom. They make my life ever so much better now that there’s a noticeable difference between the two prescriptions.
Occupational, damn it. It’s the end of a long week, and I only saw the typo as I hit send, as one does…
Multiple glasses are coming into my life, too. I have to wear contacts (pesky eye conditions), but they can’t do the bifocal/trifocal thing, so I have “bumming around the house” glasses for when they’re out, reading glasses for when they’re in, and – my new favorite thing – sunglasses with reading bifocals! This lets me drive *and* read the dashboard indicators when I need to. :)
Laser eyes are a great combination. You can truly kill with a look.
I had Lasik done a few years back, and have been quite happy with the results. Happy enough that I’d be willing to do it again, when the inevitable aging effects creep in (I’m in my early 40s now). Finding the right doctor to do the procedure is, of course, vital. I didn’t start wearing glasses until I was 19 (near sighted bookworm who always sat at the front of the class), and I didn’t realize how much I hated wearing glasses until I didn’t need them any more.
I wanted to get the laser surgery about 5 years ago, but it turned out that my eyes were too come shaped. Seriously, it’s called keratoconus, kerato for your cornea, and conus meaning…er, cone.
Jules Jones: My mother’s a retired music teacher, and piano’s her primary instrument. When she was still teaching, she had to get a pair of progressives made where the prescription was flipped. A “normal” pair of progressives had her tipping her head back so she could read sheet music from the bottom half of the lenses. Her “professional” pair lets her keep her head at a normal angle while she’s reading sheet music.
I had contacts briefly, from about age 16-22. Back then, I still had single-vision issues. When I started taking birth control pills, my eyes puffed up to where I couldn’t wear the RGP lenses anymore. It came to my attention about a decade ago, when I was in my early thirties, that I should have had surgery to correct the strabismus I have in both eyes. Now that I’m 43, the local expert, who literally wrote the book on strabismus, doesn’t want to touch me; he thinks I’m wasting his time because I should’ve had the surgery 40 yrs ago. TLDR–I’m no longer a candidate for contacts.
My opthalmologist tells me that if I had the surgery to fix the strabismus, then had Lasik to fix my nearsightedness, I’d probably be a candidate for single-vision contacts. First, I have to find someone willing to do the strabismus surgery, second, I have to hope both strabismus and Lasik would be covered under my insurance. One of these days…
TLDR again–Love the glasses, they all look great! :-)
Wasn’t there a group working on tunable eyeglasses, so you could swap them between different modes?
Ah, here we go:
I’m able to wear contact lenses so have those and reading glasses which for 56 is comparatively simple ..
I wonder if ‘progressives’ in the US are what is known as ‘varifocals’ in the UK? – that is, glasses which graduate from one ‘setting’ to another instead of having a sharp cutoff as with bifocals? Divided by a common tongue again?
I have “bifocal” contact lenses. Obviously they don’t work like that with a top half and a bottom half, but they are functionally bifocal, but there is no need to adjust your neck to make them work. I don’t know how they work; my optometrist said “mumble, mumble, diffraction, mumble”. I like them pretty well, but I’ve heard that contacts and astigmatism aren’t really that fun.
Another approach is to prescribe a reading contact on one side and a distance contact on the other. I know someone who had her Lasik done this way; she’s quite pleased.
Perhaps one day we can have glasses or contacts with integrated head-up displays, so we can do our reading projected at infinity in mile-high letters, and bookish kids would be less prone to myopia in the first place.
It must suck to need bifocals to see dashboard instruments. For me, they are far enough away that I can read them fine with single-strength glasses.
I see that Scalzi’s sunglasses cure grey hair, I wonder what that option costs.
I have cataracts (being fixed next Friday) and I am having by distance vision corrected as well. Thank you modern science otherwise I’d be unable to work soon! I am not sure what I’ll need after that. They tell me my reading prescription will get worse so I may need bifocal sunglasses. I will need something for the computer since I’m a coder..
I took the plunge way back (early 80’s) and had RK done – they used a diamond tipped scalpel – none of that fancy laser stuff was available back then. I now have to have progressive lenses, since the RK only got me down to about 20/30 (from 20/400), and I’m now old. Oh well, better than wearing coke bottle glasses!
You look like Ringo Starr with the sunglasses.
So out of curiosity, why not photo-grey or transitions or whatever they’re calling them these days? The latest versions get about as dark as anything else out there, change very quickly, even in the winter, and it’s one less set you need.
The sunglasses have that much-desired wanted-poster look.
Furry Fan and storyteller uncle Kage said that he had some other less common laser procedure done because he was concerned that that the flaps left by a Lasik would be an occupational hazard, since he is a chemist and it could be bad if a chemical accident led to deposition of chemicals that couldn’t be easily flushed out by an emergency eye-wash device.
He also said that when he was asked what music he wanted to play during the procedure he presented them with a CD of Beethoven’s Fifth so that he could carry on about the mistreatment of ol’ Ludwig Van, but I do note that he is a very good story-teller.
I got computer glasses this year also. I’m a biologist who works at the bench, which is about the same distance as working on a computer. So, feel free to try a little biological experimentation; you have the perfect glasses.
have two pairs currently, the progressive lenses and a pair of long-distance sunglasses.
In the progressives have transition lenses, but these don’t work for driving – the ambient light inside the car is not strong enough to darken them.
Now I find I need computer/reading glasses too, because the progressive lenses are giving me neck pains and a snooty attitude as I cock my snoot into the air to focus on things..
So, three pairs in my future too. bah. Getting old, it’s not for sissies.
The concept of computer glasses is new to me – must mull that over. I wear progressives with Transition lenses, BUT I buy them from Zenni. I am a new and rabid zealot for online glasses : I was able to buy three super cute pairs for less than my last pair of glasses cost. THREE PAIRS. They offer many light styles for those who prefer Silhouettes. I do not work for Zenni, I just want to share the thrill of cute and wellmade and cheap.
And you look handsome, Mr. Scalzi.
PROGRESSIVE lenses? They have political glasses now? I’m tempted to ask if they’re rose-tinted, but that would be very naughty of me.
I absolutely recommend have a laser shot into your eye many, many, many* times. If it is to correct a Type 1 diabetic eye hemorrhage. Otherwise, your mileage may vary.
*400. The Versed neither knocked me out nor gave me “Versed amnesia” and a surgical tech was counting every 20 zaps and every 100 zaps back to the eye surgeon. I will say that by the time he got stuff sealed and cleaned up inside the local was wearing off, which was rough.
Very nice glasses! I’ve got Silhouettes, too, and don’t ever intend to go back to anything else. They’re so incredibly lightweight, even for my heavy-duty prescription, and for the first time since I was seven years old, I don’t have dents in my head behind my ears from my glasses squeezing my skull.
I’ve used progressive lenses for about 15 years now, and never had any difficulty getting used to them, though I know a lot of folks get disoriented wearing them. Have had prescription sunglasses most of my adult life.
I broke down a few years ago and got computer glasses as well (took the cheapskate option of reusing a previous pair of frames with new lenses installed), and wow, do they ever make a difference. I keep one pair next to my home laptop and one at my desk at work, and I don’t have a headache or a neck-ache at the end of a long day of computer work now. They are totally worthwhile, and I predict that you’re going to find them indispensable.
One odd thing I’ve discovered in recent years is that if I need to see very small things very clearly, even though I’ve got a 2.75 magnifier in the reading part of my lenses, I get my best vision by taking my glasses off entirely and just holding whatever it is up about 6″ from my nose. I am very, very nearsighted, and the odd thing about that is that as the natural aging process makes it harder to focus close up WITH glasses, that nearsightedness actually makes for very clear close vision WITHOUT glasses. I call that using my super-magnifiers, and that’s how I read dosages on pill bottles or do intricate hand-painting on ceramics. It’s also the only way I can actually see the photos that everyone wants to show me on their phones; those little screens are so tiny that the only way I can see the photo is by taking off my glasses.
Getting old isn’t always fun, but at least you’ve got some seriously stylin’ glasses to do it in. Enjoy them!
So you’ve got three looks now: Kindly, Aloof and Angry Bass Player. That should cover most social situations.
They look quite nice. I’m doing the multiple pair thing these days also – no contacts for me either. From what I hear from friends of “a certain age”, the bifocal contacts aren’t fabulous anyway.
I’ve been looking into cataract surgery (currently wearing progressive lenses due to myopia/astigmatism/presbyopia). I’m hoping that a side effect of lens replacement surgery may be correction for some of this, but as usual nothing’s simple. The standard procedure is to insert artificial fixed-focus lenses, but there are also variable-focus lenses available now. These are still being perfected and there are more than one type, which operate in completely different fashion. One thing to note — from what I’ve read, people who have had Lasik may not be good candidates for variable-lens replacements, but I don’t have further info.
I always say re: Lasik: “Milliwatts, megawatts, what’s the difference?”
You could sidestep the contact vs glasses problem altogether. All you have to do, is what my Grandpop did… He cured himself of nearsightedness by NEVER wearing glasses to drive. And he NEVER got in a car accident. Really! I could too, if I stopped stubbornly wearing contacts all the time. But he was DETERMINED and NEVER GAVE UP. Amazing the tips you learn via a detailed family history
I couldn’t agree more on the Lasers/eyeballs opinion. Reminds me too much of ‘Clockwork Orange’.
I too shudder at the thought of a laser in my eye. Fortunately when my presbyopia kicked in, it pushed my focal point far enough away from my eyes that I can read or use the computer without glasses, though I need them for distance.
My ophthalmologist told me to get real sunglasses – ie, with big lenses instead of narrow ones – to better protect my eyes. For my regular glasses I have progressives in one pair and not in the other – if I’m near the ocean or snow the progressives actually get too dark for me to see anything.
I should have said “fortunately because I absolutely HATED progressives which I had for about a year. I’d much rather switch glasses. Now I only have to shove them up on top of my head.
>> … why not photo-grey …
Anecdata here. A colleague reports that his darken quickly when he goes out in the sun but take a long, long time to lighten up when he comes in out of the sun.
My progressive lenses have all three types- distance, computer, and reading. While I look at a computer all day long, it’s in short bursts, so switching glasses wouldn’t work.
Another reason for no contacts: allergies that occasionally make me want to claw my eyes out. Between that and the astigmatism, contacts are a no-go for me. I have a pair of driving glasses, and a pair of computer glasses, but the computer glasses stay in the case 90% of the time; I suspect the prescription may be slightly off. I may have to revisit bifocals, just so I can look up and across the room without squinting sometimes.
Computer glasses rock! They make it so much easier to do desk work with a full field of vision for the immediate surroundings.
Never got into contacts which is probably good as my glasses have saved my vision from flying debris too many times to count.
I tried contacts back around 1981, but what I couldn’t get used to was the feeling of wind blowing on my eyeballs. (Also, there’s a lot of peripheral “stuff” associated with contacts: the cleaning, etc.) Went back to glasses.)
It’s probably one of those generational things (’cause, y’know, I’m kinda geezer-ish these days), but “long feather duster”, which I’m sure you meant as a Matrix reference, made me think “spaghetti Western” instead.
Who takes pictures of you?
I too have three pair of glasses, Progressive transition lenses for everyday stuff, computer glasses and progressive sunglasses. Originally got the sunglasses without the progressive, but immediately found, I couldn’t read a map or see the phone navigation, went back and got them replaced with progressive lenses. I also learned that my transition lenses didn’t get dark enough in the newer model cars, hence the sunglasses. So next time I will save some $$$$ & skip the transitions. I like your choices, looking good!
Monica: I do.
The bottom pair look a little like my Ray-Bans, although I sprung for the transition lenses… well I let the vision insurance spring for them, and paid for my safety glasses on my own. ;-)
Monica: He has embraced the selfie stick. He’ll deny it but men of his age always succumb to its lure eventually.
I only need reading glasses, not distance glasses, so I’m playing the “old person vision” game on the easy setting. Computer-reading glasses are a big win – mine focus around 24″ instead of 18″.
Like aptlyvenus, I’m a big fan of Zenni cheap online glasses, so as long as I can get my optometrist to give me the right pupillary distance for computer-distance reading glasses (which Zenni needs, but most optometrists don’t include with their prescriptions), I get to use the just-right single-vision lenses for home and work computers, and the previous versions of them as spares or book-reading glasses. My wife uses progressive lenses, and isn’t willing to gamble on getting them online; getting the right amount of progressiveness has been a bit tricky for her. Takes the things off to read, which still seems backwards.
Last time I went to get glasses, I asked for 2 prescriptions: one for my usual bifocals, and another pair for computer use as you describe. Optometrist refused to write me the second one. Need to get a different optometrist, obviously.
(Meanwhile, I have to take my glasses off to use the computer. Which I do a lot.)
I tried progressive lenses once and hated them, but that seems to vary a lot from person to person. I did the combination of bifocals and computer glasses for 30-odd years and it worked fairly well—the computer glasses actually were OK for reading or for walking around the house, though not for watching TV or going outdoors. Then a couple of years ago I needed cataract surgery and I love the result—I can see well enough for most practical purposes from infinity down to the 2-foot range to my computer monitor without glasses. I have bifocals (clear and dark) that peak up my distance vision for occasions when I need to drive in unfamiliar places where reading signs at the maximum distance is desirable, though only -1 diopter left eye and -0.5 right eye; for driving around Naperville (which constitutes 90% of my driving) I don’t need glasses at all, though I usually wear the dark bifocals if it’s sunny out. For reading smaller print (e.g. a mass-market paperback) I keep a cheap pair of reading glasses at all the locations where I might use them—they only cost about $10 a pair, so I have a pair in each bathroom, in each car, by my computer, by my reading chair, on the dinner table, and in the kitchen. (I also have a stronger pair—+2.5 diopters vs. 1.5 for all the rest—by my reading chair for reading fine print in things like atlases.) Nine pairs in all, total cost about $100, and I don’t have to carry readers around with me except when I’m away from home and cars.
I’m not quite ready for bifocals yet, though the day is coming.
I think Lasik is fine idea for people young enough. I’m going to encourage my teen age daughter to get it done when she gets a little older. I didn’t want to be in the first generation growing old with lasik eyes.
I’m happy with my contacts, but I know they take some getting used to. (Not as much with the modern soft contacts — one of my aunts got them when the only option was hard lenses.) Lasik isn’t an option for me because my corneas are already at the normal curvature for someone with normal vision, all the elongation is at the back of the eyeball where Lasik can’t reach.
I might talk to my eye doctor about computer-use glasses for when the contacts aren’t in, but to be honest being able to see to drive is a higher priority for emergency back-up glasses.
That top pair looks very nice.
Very natty, John! Especially Angry Bass Player.
I find myself surprised that nobody’s mentioned wearing trifocals. Distance/computer [aka arm’s length away]/reading, all in one frame. I did try progressives for a brief time, but when I realized I had to turn my head side to side in order for my whole keyboard to come into focus…yeah, no. I care more about ease of use than visible lines!
For the last picture you seem to have accidentally picked one of Ricky Gervais, photoshopped to lose a couple of pounds.
I, too, believe that lasers and eyeballs don’t mix.
I could never get used to progressives (too much head tilty) so I gave in and got bifocals. No neck movement required, and the line is very thin, unlike in my grandma’s days. I have a single-distance pair for movies, amusement parks, outdoorness, and backup emergencies. I have the transition lenses on my regulars, and an old pair of single-vision with sunglasses coating. I made sure to get new glasses when the “Buy a pair, get a single-vision pair free” deal was on. Also I have those big old wrap-around shades that elderly people wear, because apparently spending my childhood outdoors with no sunglasses leads to a developing cataract.
I wore contacts for a while in my teens and twenties, but eventually I got tired of sticking a piece of plastic in my eye.
Your top pair is very attractive. I bet Krissy thinks that’s a cute picture of you.
The day will come, Mr. Scalzi, the day will come …
Specifically, the day when you find that you need bifocals for driving. I got there last year when the near vision didn’t work any more for the dashboard instruments (damn digital, get off my dash!)
As for lasers, well, I’m starting to get clouds in my lenses. In another ten years it’ll be eye surgery (new lenses!) or go blind. I suspect that you’ll go for the lenses too, but may it be many years until that day.
I haven’t read all the comments yet, so maybe this has already been mentioned. Lasik is no longer the only surgery-type option. You can get corneal shaping with special contacts. Less chance of problems, but I don’t know what kind of vision issues it’s appropriate for. Seems like an interesting option.
I’ve worn glasses since I was six, so 35 years now. When I was around nine or ten a new eye doctor prescribed bifocals for me, which I wore for probably a couple of years. I got horrible headaches from using the computer (the only kid I knew who had one, so no surprise the ophthalmologist didn’t think of it) because I had to look at my fingers to type and then would glance up at the screen to verify and would end up looking through the distance part. Changed eye doctors again and the new one said, what was that idiot thinking prescribing you those, and it’s been, um, monofocals (unifocals?) since.
About every ten years I get it into my head, hah, to try contacts again. Because of my astigmatism they have to be RGPs, and I’ve never been able to wear them enough to have them be actually comfortable or to get good at putting them in. The last time was for my wedding almost nine years ago. That set was at least a bit more comfortable, since they were more suited to my apparently rather flat eyeballs and were a better fit.
I’ve contemplated surgery, but overall have realized that I really don’t mind wearing glasses. My face looks (and feels!) a little strange without them, I like their simplicity of use, and it’s sometimes useful to be able to take them off and have the world spring out of focus, e.g., for assessing how colors blend, or just giving my brain a break because it doesn’t even try to focus on anything. My uncorrected focal length is just past the tip of my nose. Also, I have transition lenses and generally they’ve been perfect for me — they darken just enough to take off glare outside without making anything actually seem dimmer in color, and I rarely even notice going inside and finding things are darker unless I roll my eyes enough to see around the frames. I do have an ancient pair of prescription sunglasses in my car, from several prescriptions ago, which is pretty much an emergency backup or if it’s really, really bright outside. They’re good enough to drive with if I don’t have to read street signs.
Funny timing – I just got new glasses after 5+ on the old ones. Very happy with Costco.
I always use the titanium frames that can bend. I am very hard on glasses – primarily the frames.
I refuse to get contacts (shudder) or do lasik – I want a physical barrier between my eyeballs and the outside world. Saved me a couple of times – the last was a blast of compressed hydrolic oil from an old compressor.
Driving is photogrey with bifocals (in polycarbonate). Do not mind the line. Saves from having sunglasses. I can see far-away details again!
The computer glasses are good to about 8 inches away, then I need to take them up for close work.Maybe I will get bifocals the next time to give me to within a couple of inches. Also polycarbonate, so side shields give me good safety glasses.
I had a friend who did that. It did work for her for a while, (I’ll get to that) but she was the exception. For most people, this is not an option. It takes more than willpower– it takes a physiology that’s up to it, and almost no people have that. Like running a four-minute mile, you can’t do it without willpower, but most of us don’t have bodies that will do that no matter how much willpower we have.
Your granddad’s approach won’t work to correct astigmatism, which about 80% of the population who wears glasses has, and it fails once presbyopia sets in. Presbyopia is near universal with increasing age, and it’s progressive. If you’re needing reading glasses or bifocals, you are presbyopic.
Speaking of which…
Up until a year or so ago, there were adjustable prescription eyeglasses on the market called Superfocus. I wrote about them at length––Google my name and Superfocus and you’ll find the columns.
Unfortunately the company went out of business not too long back. I am heartbroken! I’m going to be repairing these things for as long as I can keep them working (the tech is tricky but I have access to some good equipment); going back to fixed focus glasses and bifocals would be heartbreaking for me at this point.
LensCrafters was supposed to introduce a line of prescription adjustable focus glasses called AdLens Variable Power Optics last year. After a trial program from a few locations, they decided not to. The manufacturer is planning on selling them thru independent eye doctors under the name Adlens Focuss, but so far the rollout has barely begun.
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I had the procedure that Glorin mentioned (lasers to seal off retina hemorrhages) and I can highly recommend the laser/eyeball combination. Though, it is a bit like Darth Vader torture chamber meets a video game. The Darth Vader part is the machine itself, which was all black and chrome and looked exactly like I always pictured Vader’s personal torture droid would look. The video game part is the doctor leaning in while this thing was on my face and using 2 knobs to aim the laser while looking inside my eye. When targeted, he pulls a trigger, there’s a beep, a flash of green light, and a purple after-image spot (which either fades after awhile or the brain edits it out – never sure which). Then on to the next one, zapping each leaking vessel until all the little buggers are cauterized.
All an all an interesting procedure that I completely recommend you avoid if possible, but if not, it will save your vision.
All three pairs look great.
I’ve had glasses since I was 7. I COULD NOT get used to sticking my finger in my eye, so contacts were never an option. And it took me three years to work up the nerve to have my eyes zapped (Intralase SBK, with wavefront – it’s one of the newest techniques, with an amazing healing time) to correct nearsightedness and mild astigmatism, and I’ve spent the next five years kicking myself for the three year wait. I’d even consider going back once I start to get the early forties prescription change.
TLDR: got zapped, worked great!
Not to try to sell Lasik, but my wife just got it after 40 years of glasses/contacts and wishes she was able to do it 40 years ago. She is adverse to pain, nervous and anxious, but went through it very well and just gushes about it… calls it life changing. Which really surprised me.
I had to give up and get Lasik. My vision (in one eye) couldn’t be corrected to 20/20 any more, so was in danger of losing my drivers license. VERY happy with the results! Still need low level reading glasses, but nothing else. :-) Been in glasses since I was 18 months old (really) so this is a big change!
Count me among those singing the praises of single focal-length computer glasses. I’ve had them for 5+ years now, and they’re still likely the single best thing I’ve done for my health in the last decade. All of the eye-strain headaches vanished instantly.
Sunglasses change your appearance dramatically, moreso than on anyone else I can think of. Interesting.
The top ones look really nice on you — I’m a proponent of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” I’m in need of new glasses and *not* looking forward to the concept, nay, the reality, of progressive lenses. *sigh*