I so clearly remember when the bubble burst on my notion that the optometrist could fix everything with his glasses magic. “This is as much as I can do, he said one winter day in 1995. I’m sorry, there is an underlying problem preventing clear vision.” How could this be? So much changes with our vision over our lifetime. Glasses just get changed and we go on, right? Wrong, at least for some of us.

I am not a doctor. Understand that I am not giving medical advice, either. I am just an experienced low vision patient who learned something after hitting the wall with prescription glasses. So my advice to you is this: initiate a different conversation with the person who helps you with your glasses, likely an Optometrist, the doctor with O.D. after his or her name. Ask if he or she sees benefit to simplify your glasses. As you begin this conversation, understand that he or she might be unable to make your vision for reading clearer. But is there still some benefit to you in wearing glasses? That is an important question.

For starters, ask or discern whether you benefit from your distance correction. Is it a significant correction for your vision in general?

Second, what about a correction for reading? For some of us, better reading clarity is what we are looking for and where prescription solutions become limited because the eyes will see double past a certain point of magnification. If your distance correction is helpful and if you can no longer be corrected for normal reading (the bottom part of bi or tri focal glasses), then consider with your doctor eliminating the close focus correction that might have existed in your old glasses.

Third, if you have a macular problem, you usually have a blurred area smack in the middle of your vision, leaving your visual field with an obstruction or do-nut hole in the middle. If this is the case for you, then know that having a distinct focal change in the center of your prescription lens, which is the middle distance focus of tri focal glasses, is also of little value to you. In fact, the distortion of vertical information (doorways and phone poles are wavy) so common in macular disease may improve a great deal when you give up tri-focal glasses, if that is what you wear. You may not be able to see in the middle of your visual field anyway.

Now we cycle back the discussion with your optometrist about simplifying your glasses, changing them to accommodate distance vision alone. The biggest long-term benefit of addressing your prescription eye wear at the point you need more magnification to read than can be accomplished without causing double vision is this: using both hand-held magnifiers and electronic magnifiers is far easier when wearing single vision distance glasses, or no glasses at all. Otherwise, with bi or tri focal glasses, you have to be methodical about which sliver of the lens to look through. Most people grow frustrated with these slivers as they try to hold a magnifier correctly. On other parts of our website we will help you understand how properly to hold the stronger magnifiers we sell to maximize their functionality. So if I have your attention here, read on. And if you are an eye doctor and would like to comment, I would love to hear your thoughts and share them in future posts.