Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Laser Surgery Is Not An Option. Now What?

A few months before Shane and I met, he had laser surgery to correct his vision. When I started wearing glasses a few years ago, he suggested that it might be something for me to consider. I didn't give it much thought until the last six months or so.

I am farsighted and also need tri-focal lenses. Bi-focals were no problem for me, but after about a month of wearing tri-focals and hating them, I "split" them, by ordering a pair of glasses with my near and distance corrections (for driving, watching TV and general activities) and another pair with my near and mid-range corrections (for computer work, looking at items on store shelves, sewing, etc.) This has worked great for me in terms of vision, but it's been inconvenient because I need to switch glasses often throughout the day, and occasionally forget to take both pairs with me when I leave home.

So, yesterday, I finally went to an eye surgeon to discuss the possibility of laser surgery. As it turns out, I am not a good candidate for the surgery. I wasn't surprised, because I already understood that not all types of farsightedness can be corrected surgically. The farsightedness I have is simply due to my age, and may continue to worsen for another 20 years or so. While the surgeon didn't refuse to do the surgery, he told me that it would only help for about 5 years, and after 10 years, I'd very likely be back in the position I am now.

What he did suggest, though, was that I try contacts to correct certain aspects of my vision, then wear glasses with them as needed. He gave me two scenarios to consider, either of which would enable me to have just one pair of glasses instead of two.

The first scenario would be to try "monovision" contacts, wherein one lens would correct my distance vision and the other would correct my mid-range vision. This would leave me needing over-the-counter reading glasses for close work. He gave me sample lenses to try, which I wore for several hours yesterday. I think I can get used to wearing contacts, but wearing a very different prescription in each eye is difficult to say the least. I'm don't think I can do it, and in fact, am not willing to even try them again today.

My other option would be to wear contacts to correct only my distance vision. I would wear these lenses all the time and would be able to drive and do general activities with them. I would wear a pair of prescription bi-focals along with the contacts whenever I am on the computer, reading, sewing, etc. This sounds like a much more comfortable option for me.

Of course, my other option would be to continue switching back and forth between my two pairs of glasses. It's inconvenient, but it works.

In any event, I have to go to my regular optometrist to be examined for contacts. (The doctor I saw yesterday only does the surgical evaluations and surgeries, not routine glasses or contacts exams.) Only then will I find out what kind of contacts I'll need, if I choose that route.

Having never worn contacts before, I don't know the first thing about getting the best price on them. I read recently that Costco may be the least expensive, at least for some brands. Anyone else have other suggestions?

As for the glasses, I'm sure I'll be ordering mine online from Zenni Optical. I ordered my current two pairs of glasses there last year and when the doctor "read" them yesterday and compared them to my written prescription, he said they had been made perfectly. I was glad to hear that, because Zenni is much less expensive than anywhere else I checked, even Wal-Mart.

Have any of you been in a similar situation? Would you opt for contacts AND glasses, or just keep switching between the two pairs of glasses? Would you try tri-focals again, knowing that if you couldn't get used to them, it would be money wasted? I know only I can make the decision, but I'm curious what you think about all of this.


Granny said...

I've tried everything except laser surgery. I"m not a candidate for that, either. I've stuck with having two pairs of glasses. While it's a bit of a hassle, it's the simplest solution. As I get older, I appreciate SIMPLE solutions more and more.

Good luck!

Leanne said...

I have astigmatism so I'm not a candidate either. I've been wearing contacts for a little over a year now and couldn't be without them, although I still have a pair of glasses here (with my old prescription) for times when I have an eye infection. You'll have to consider that as well. I never had an eye infection until I got contacts but they're still completely worth it.

My mum has a prescription as well that requires she either wear varifocals or change between two pairs of glasses. She uses two pairs, she's tried varifocals twice and can't stand them. She's just so against them now that there would be no convincing her to try them again.

Tug said...

I'd try option 2... I tried contacts, but they could never get them right with my astigmatism. That was years ago, I really should try them again; my glasses are ALWAYS dirty.

Anonymous said...

At age 17, I needed bifocals. I opted for contacts and glasses instead. I loved the contacts but then I got an ulcer on one eye and I can no longer wear contacts--something about the shape of my eye lets the contacts move around too much causing irritation then the ulcer. I never noticed how much I bump my face into things until I started wearing glasses. I guess I am just extra clumsy. Sheila

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Annie Jones said...

Thanks for the advice ladies. I still haven't decided, but I'll have to do something soon. It's getting harder to see with the Rx I have now.