I have often been asked “Why don’t they have a machine that just figures out your prescription?” Something that takes away all the guess work of the eye exam and just spits out a perfect prescription that you will have no problems with. An autorefractor that does just that and it’s been around for over 30 years. The badal optometer works too and has been around for over 100 years. So what’s the problem? Why do we sometimes have prescription problems? Here’s a short list of common problems I see..
Vision that is poorly correctable sometimes stems from systemic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis and inflammatory conditions, MS and neurologic conditions, vascular disease, stroke and more. Medications and general nutritional problems can cause poor vision too. And of course there’s eye conditions that create vision problems such as cataract, glaucoma, macular degeneration, dry eye and retinal detachment to name a few.
“I can’t see.” “You need to make my glasses stronger.” “I could see before ‘x’ happened.” “I need more light.” “I covered one eye, and noticed the other one is blurry and it never was before.” “All the sudden I can see far away better without my glasses on.” “All the sudden I can’t see at all with my glasses.” “I see double with my regular glasses, and I never did before.” “Sometimes my glasses are perfect and sometimes I can’t see at all through them.” “I’ve never seen well through this eye.”
Obviously, the solution is to get an accurate diagnosis, treat the condition and come to a point of stability. Sometimes it’s a long process, and for whatever reason medical intervention fails. Often the steps necessary to manage the condition aren’t taken, and other times it’s possible to do too much and get hopelessly wrapped up in the disease state going from doctor to doctor. Sometimes you can do all the right things and still end up with a wrong diagnosis or deficit. As an optometrist I am a primary care provider and will do all I can to refer you to the appropriate specialist so that you will get the care necessary to preserve your vision. I will work with your health care providers to get you seeing as well as possible.
Luckily, this is usually not the case, but sometimes a number has been transposed from the examination form, a plus sign entered as minus, etc. Perhaps reading glasses
were made, when distance glasses were expected. And sometimes due to human error the prescription just doesn’t work
Complaints: “The right eye is perfect, but the left eye is totally blurry and I could see fine out of my old glasses.” “I can’t see at all out of these.”
Solution: Return to the office and an optician will pull your chart and verify your prescription. They will consult with me if they are unable to find the problem, and I will repeat the refraction if necessary. Please do not call to schedule an examination. Opticians are trained to trouble shoot prescription errors and will schedule an appointment for you if necessary.
You are unable to comfortably see near with your new glasses.
Complaints: “ I can’t read.” “The bifocal isn’t strong enough.” “I have to move my head to read.”
Solution: Perhaps, if you are near or over 40 years old, you had no problem reading with your old glasses and your distance prescription was increased and you now require a bifocal. If you are under forty, perhaps your distance increased substantially, and you need time to adapt. If you do have a bifocal it may need to be adjusted to insure it was measured correctly for you.
General inability to get used to the new glasses and prescription.
Complaints: “These make my eyes pull.” “I can see, but everything looks crooked.” “My old glasses were better.” “I can only wear these for 10 minutes and then I get a headache.” “I’ve been to three eye doctors and no one can get my prescription right.” “They always have to remake my glasses when I have a new eye exam.”
Solution: Some people are simply unable to adapt to change, even if the change results in better visual acuity. There are many factors that contribute to adaption problems including large prescription changes, a long time between prescriptions, a change in frame style and fit, a change in lens material and design. Opticians are trained to identify and solve these problems, so please return and we will do all we can to make you comfortable with your new glasses.
Bring in all your glasses, especially older prescriptions that worked best for you.
Jot down some specific problems and tasks that you are having difficulty with with your new glasses.
Attempt to wear your new correction long enough to overcome adaption problems.