First time getting bifocals - online or retail?

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Post Reply
Topic Author
michaeljc70
Posts: 6780
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2015 3:53 pm

First time getting bifocals - online or retail?

Post by michaeljc70 » Fri Jul 31, 2020 12:26 pm

I went to Costco and had an eye exam and got my prescription (including PD). I want progressive no line bifocals that are light responsive. I currently only use OTC readers. I was looking online at Zenni and EyeBuyDirect and was impressed with the selection and pricing. Should I go to a retail place like Costco for my first pair to make sure everything is done/measured/adjusted right? Or is it safe to just order an online pair? If they weren't bifocals I probably would be less hesitant to start with online.

User avatar
cheese_breath
Posts: 9643
Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2011 7:08 pm

Re: First time getting bifocals - online or retail?

Post by cheese_breath » Fri Jul 31, 2020 2:02 pm

I have progressive, and I don't see how they could identify the blend line without without examining you in person.
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.

MathWizard
Posts: 4239
Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2011 1:35 pm

Re: First time getting bifocals - online or retail?

Post by MathWizard » Fri Jul 31, 2020 2:10 pm

I would do it in person unless you are concerned about Covid, but you got an eye exam in person I assume.

My wife and I got progressives and mine needed adjustment after I wore them a bit. My wife had to get larger lenses, because the amount of room for the transition was too small and it was making her nauseous.

The first time with progressive takes a lot of adjustment.
I would go with the personal touch.

User avatar
ResearchMed
Posts: 10378
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2008 11:25 pm

Re: First time getting bifocals - online or retail?

Post by ResearchMed » Fri Jul 31, 2020 2:20 pm

cheese_breath wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 2:02 pm
I have progressive, and I don't see how they could identify the blend line without without examining you in person.
Agree with cheese_breath and MathWizard.

Especially for my first pair of progressives (but also for every other pair since), among other things, they asked about whether I used a computer, and if so, how much of the time, and how far was it from my eyes. Ditto for how much time reading, and distance (e.g., book on a desk, in my lap, sitting up, laying down, etc.), and finally, distance/TV (which aren't necessarily the same thing).
That helped them decide what proportion of middle of the lens height should be for "computer use", so I wouldn't have excessive moving my head up and down to get the "good area", etc.

After that, I had a much better idea of how I used the different progressive "ranges".
Note: There is NOT a line/sharp change between areas. It's a continuum, but they still have choices (er, *you* have some choices) about what is most useful and most comfortable for you. That is, if your laptop is indeed in your laptop, would you need to bend your neck too much/too often to get the right distance, etc.

One other thing I learned quickly was to ask that they blend out the "good focus" to each side as much as possible. Turned out I used peripheral vision more than I had realized, and with the first progressives, I was suddenly needing to turn my head much more.
To be fair, that first pair was many years ago, and the technology is much better now. These tweaks probably make less difference now, but it's still discussed.

Finally, they have had trouble getting the "center focal point" of each lens just right. That would mean that if my left eye had the best focus (say, a particular page of a book), for the right eye, I'd need to move my head slightly.
For whatever reason, it turned out that they did better getting that focal point (may not be the right name for this spot on the lens) manually. Using a <whatever> device never worked quite right for me.

This is all very fine tuning, but the little problems were enough that I had gone back to ask, "is this right", and... they could indeed do it better. So they did. (No additional cost.)

Also, as with any bi/tri-focal/etc., be careful at first walking up/down stairs or stepping off curbs. It can take a bit of time to adjust, especially if the correction the first time is non-trivial. Remember, that lower part of the lens is usually for reading distance, not the distance to your feet or slightly below. I'm glad they warned me, although it didn't take long to adjust, and now it's completely second nature.

RM
This signature is a placebo. You are in the control group.

ballons
Posts: 384
Joined: Sun Aug 18, 2019 3:05 pm

Re: First time getting bifocals - online or retail?

Post by ballons » Fri Jul 31, 2020 4:07 pm

"I currently only use OTC readers."

Without a current frame to measure since you don't wear glasses, there is a chance you may not like what online places provide. No-line bifocals makes it even more difficult. I would get your first pair done locally.

IIRC, Zenni has a 50% restocking fee.

User avatar
StevieG72
Posts: 1092
Joined: Wed Feb 05, 2014 9:00 pm

Re: First time getting bifocals - online or retail?

Post by StevieG72 » Fri Jul 31, 2020 10:36 pm

I got my first pair from Zenni.

Went to Costco for eye exam, ordered a pair of progressive lens from Zenni. Worked out fine for me, total cost for exam and glasses was around $100.00.

Keep in mind transition lenses do not work well in cars since the windshield blocks UV rays. I have a pair of sunglasses that fit over my regular glasses for times that the sun bothers me while driving.
Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others.

n8healer
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Jun 18, 2020 11:19 pm

Re: First time getting bifocals - online or retail?

Post by n8healer » Fri Jul 31, 2020 10:50 pm

Warby Parker has online prices and is both online and brick and mortar. I had a good experience with them. I used the store to have them do measurements.

Katietsu
Posts: 3631
Joined: Sun Sep 22, 2013 1:48 am

Re: First time getting bifocals - online or retail?

Post by Katietsu » Fri Jul 31, 2020 10:56 pm

This is a hard question. My DH ordered from Zenni from the first time. No problem. I love Zenni for single vision even with a complicated prescription being able to get a higher quality lens than Sam’s Club offered at any price. But I have tried progressives twice, stuck with them for months and never was happy. Before the second attempt, I planned to go to a knowledgeable local optician but he retired! Unfortunately, too many optical shops have only sales people who underwent limited training with much of it focused on selling features.

User avatar
kramer
Posts: 1754
Joined: Wed Feb 21, 2007 2:28 am
Location: Philippines

Re: First time getting bifocals - online or retail?

Post by kramer » Fri Jul 31, 2020 11:31 pm

I got my first pair (still using them) of progressives at Costco. I just want to tell you that it takes some adjustment time. I think I was dizzy awhile using them, but my brain really did adjust, absolutely no problem now. I still recall the weird feeling of walking around Costco with them on for the first time and thinking that these couldn't possibly be right or that progressives were not right for me. Just letting you know that it may take awhile before you can tell whether a given pair is appropriate or not if it's your first time.

I did get a pair of progressives at Zenni and they are not quite right. I have kept them as an emergency backup, however.

acegolfer
Posts: 2100
Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2009 9:40 am

Re: First time getting bifocals - online or retail?

Post by acegolfer » Sat Aug 01, 2020 5:22 am

I got 4 pairs of progressives online from 2 vendors (zenni and goggles4u). 3 were duds. 1 was okay. I'm currently wearing the one that I got from retail. I'll buy only single lens online.

wallygator
Posts: 86
Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2009 9:34 am

Re: First time getting bifocals - online or retail?

Post by wallygator » Sat Aug 01, 2020 6:31 am

Neither wife or I like the progressives. Couldn't get used to them. Spent $400 on each set. One Costco other Sam's. They sit in a drawer.

Have Zenni sunglasses and single prescription. Love them and about $40 each.

Have 10 pairs of Readers everywhere.

The GOLDEN YEARS!

Topic Author
michaeljc70
Posts: 6780
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2015 3:53 pm

Re: First time getting bifocals - online or retail?

Post by michaeljc70 » Sat Aug 01, 2020 7:03 am

n8healer wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 10:50 pm
Warby Parker has online prices and is both online and brick and mortar. I had a good experience with them. I used the store to have them do measurements.
When I priced out (online) pair of average looking frames there with progressive and photochromatic it came to almost $500. Maybe they are more reasonable for non-bifocals but add a few options and the prices are high.

Topic Author
michaeljc70
Posts: 6780
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2015 3:53 pm

Re: First time getting bifocals - online or retail?

Post by michaeljc70 » Sat Aug 01, 2020 7:09 am

The comments on getting used to progressives or not liking them has made me rethink this. Maybe they aren't suitable for a backup option. I really don't need glasses for distance. I am currently trying monovision contacts (wearing only 1 in my left eye). The progressives were to be a backup, Maybe prescription readers should just be my backup. The problem with readers I run into as a guy is I often don't have anywhere to put them when not using them (and hence don't have them when I need them). In the winter with a jacket it isn't a problem, but the rest of the time it is. And though I may be getting older I wouldn't be caught dead wearing the glasses on a cord around my neck.

tm3
Posts: 140
Joined: Wed Dec 24, 2014 7:16 pm

Re: First time getting bifocals - online or retail?

Post by tm3 » Sat Aug 01, 2020 7:41 am

michaeljc70 wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 7:09 am
The comments on getting used to progressives or not liking them has made me rethink this. Maybe they aren't suitable for a backup option. I really don't need glasses for distance. I am currently trying monovision contacts (wearing only 1 in my left eye). The progressives were to be a backup, Maybe prescription readers should just be my backup. The problem with readers I run into as a guy is I often don't have anywhere to put them when not using them (and hence don't have them when I need them). In the winter with a jacket it isn't a problem, but the rest of the time it is. And though I may be getting older I wouldn't be caught dead wearing the glasses on a cord around my neck.
If you don't need distance correction, another idea is to get a pair with no correction in the main lenses and with a small bifocal (not progressive) strip at the bottom for reading, maybe 1/4 height. Should be easy to make and thus cheap.

retiredjg
Posts: 41108
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2008 12:56 pm

Re: First time getting bifocals - online or retail?

Post by retiredjg » Sat Aug 01, 2020 7:57 am


carolinaman
Posts: 4220
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2011 9:56 am
Location: North Carolina

Re: First time getting bifocals - online or retail?

Post by carolinaman » Sat Aug 01, 2020 9:48 am

Costco is really hard to beat. They have very competitive prices but the thing I like best is how they stand behind their products. Twice I damaged my glasses and because they were still under warranty they replaced them for no charge. One time I stepped on them while working on my car. In both instances I told them it was my fault. I doubt you will find this quality of service elsewhere.

IMO, it is risky ordering glasses online. I have never had a problem being fitted, but they always adjust the frames and confirm the glasses are correct. If there were a problem with the lens, it is a much simpler problem to correct.

mrb09
Posts: 252
Joined: Wed Aug 03, 2016 9:02 am

Re: First time getting bifocals - online or retail?

Post by mrb09 » Sat Aug 01, 2020 10:11 am

My experience is that finding the sweet spot for the progressive transition is really hard. I tried two pairs with lines at different heights, lived with them for a year each, and finally gave up. Probably could have gotten larger frames for more surface area of the lenses, but I just don't like large frames. Now I have three pair of glasses: distance, computer and reading. I'm nearsighted, so in a pinch I take off my distance glasses and mostly read close-up, and when I can't I use the magnifier on my iPhone.

Back to the original question, no experience with online but my retail experience is that getting that progressive line right is more art than science.

Someone else mentioned the problem of transition lenses while in a car -- I gave up on transition lenses as well and just use clip-ons I keep in the car.

User avatar
cheese_breath
Posts: 9643
Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2011 7:08 pm

Re: First time getting bifocals - online or retail?

Post by cheese_breath » Sat Aug 01, 2020 10:15 am

mrb09 wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 10:11 am
...Someone else mentioned the problem of transition lenses while in a car -- I gave up on transition lenses as well and just use clip-ons I keep in the car.
The only time I have trouble with transitions in the car is late afternoon when the sun is low, and I'm driving straight into it.
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.

Katietsu
Posts: 3631
Joined: Sun Sep 22, 2013 1:48 am

Re: First time getting bifocals - online or retail?

Post by Katietsu » Sat Aug 01, 2020 10:28 am

michaeljc70 wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 7:09 am
The comments on getting used to progressives or not liking them has made me rethink this. Maybe they aren't suitable for a backup option. I really don't need glasses for distance. I am currently trying monovision contacts (wearing only 1 in my left eye). The progressives were to be a backup, Maybe prescription readers should just be my backup. The problem with readers I run into as a guy is I often don't have anywhere to put them when not using them (and hence don't have them when I need them). In the winter with a jacket it isn't a problem, but the rest of the time it is. And though I may be getting older I wouldn't be caught dead wearing the glasses on a cord around my neck.
I would not get progressive lenses for this purpose. Are you concerned about near vision for brief time periods like reading a menu? (I am assuming it will be safe to go back to restaurants eventually.). If so, there are options for readers that may be better than your current situation, no cord involved. Take a look at things like ThinOptics. You can slip them in a pocket, attach a case to your phone, use magnets, etc.

Topic Author
michaeljc70
Posts: 6780
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2015 3:53 pm

Re: First time getting bifocals - online or retail?

Post by michaeljc70 » Sat Aug 01, 2020 10:35 am

Katietsu wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 10:28 am
michaeljc70 wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 7:09 am
The comments on getting used to progressives or not liking them has made me rethink this. Maybe they aren't suitable for a backup option. I really don't need glasses for distance. I am currently trying monovision contacts (wearing only 1 in my left eye). The progressives were to be a backup, Maybe prescription readers should just be my backup. The problem with readers I run into as a guy is I often don't have anywhere to put them when not using them (and hence don't have them when I need them). In the winter with a jacket it isn't a problem, but the rest of the time it is. And though I may be getting older I wouldn't be caught dead wearing the glasses on a cord around my neck.
I would not get progressive lenses for this purpose. Are you concerned about near vision for brief time periods like reading a menu? (I am assuming it will be safe to go back to restaurants eventually.). If so, there are options for readers that may be better than your current situation, no cord involved. Take a look at things like ThinOptics. You can slip them in a pocket, attach a case to your phone, use magnets, etc.
I have had the keychain version and version that attaches to your phone case. They are convenient for short term use. I feel kind of silly wearing them.

quantAndHold
Posts: 4816
Joined: Thu Sep 17, 2015 10:39 pm

Re: First time getting bifocals - online or retail?

Post by quantAndHold » Sat Aug 01, 2020 10:38 am

michaeljc70 wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 7:09 am
The comments on getting used to progressives or not liking them has made me rethink this. Maybe they aren't suitable for a backup option. I really don't need glasses for distance. I am currently trying monovision contacts (wearing only 1 in my left eye). The progressives were to be a backup, Maybe prescription readers should just be my backup. The problem with readers I run into as a guy is I often don't have anywhere to put them when not using them (and hence don't have them when I need them). In the winter with a jacket it isn't a problem, but the rest of the time it is. And though I may be getting older I wouldn't be caught dead wearing the glasses on a cord around my neck.
I have progressives with no correction in the top. My distance vision is good, but I need the prescription for reading. I’ve tried practically everything at one time or another.

Every different system (progressives, regular trifocals, monovision contacts, bifocal contacts) all take some getting used to. You could probably switch back and forth between them, but it would be easier to just find one that works and settle on it. When I was younger (40’s), bifocal contacts worked really well, but as I got older, the strength of the reading prescription made the distance part not really work. I eventually settled on progressives for the same reasons you’re naming. I just wear them nearly all the time, especially when I’m out and about.

Normally, I’d say go to Costco. You really want help getting them measured and fitted correctly, and Costco is the best combination of price and service. But is the Costco optical department even open right now?

BTW, the most manly man I know (a martial arts master) wears his reading glasses on a dainty little chain around his neck. I think the chain originally belonged to his wife. It looks hilarious, but it works for him.
Yes, I’m really that pedantic.

Topic Author
michaeljc70
Posts: 6780
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2015 3:53 pm

Re: First time getting bifocals - online or retail?

Post by michaeljc70 » Wed Aug 05, 2020 12:19 pm

I can call the doctor for this, but I was wondering if there was a way to ascertain my prescription for reading glasses (prescription or OTC) from what I have. I have a prescription for contacts, one for bifocals and one for "computer" glasses. Would that just be the ADD on the bifocal prescription? The Computer prescription is +2.25 R, +3.00 L and the bifocal prescription has an add of 2.25 (L+R).

User avatar
cheese_breath
Posts: 9643
Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2011 7:08 pm

Re: First time getting bifocals - online or retail?

Post by cheese_breath » Wed Aug 05, 2020 1:36 pm

michaeljc70 wrote:
Wed Aug 05, 2020 12:19 pm
I can call the doctor for this...
This!!
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.

BruinBones
Posts: 156
Joined: Sun Apr 22, 2018 5:39 pm

Re: First time getting bifocals - online or retail?

Post by BruinBones » Wed Aug 05, 2020 1:53 pm

+1, satisfied customer with Zenni Progressives.

123
Posts: 6084
Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2012 3:55 pm

Re: First time getting bifocals - online or retail?

Post by 123 » Wed Aug 05, 2020 2:49 pm

I would go in for a retail measurement and fitting for glasses, Costco is great for their eyewear service. There can be issues that an experienced fitter will notice, like where the sweet spot of your prescription will end up on the lens and how it works on your face, that may be hard to detect online. Sometimes on delivery you get a better fit with alternate nose bridge pieces or a slightly different bend on the ear, these are just natural things a fitter, including at Costco, will swap or adjust.
The closest helping hand is at the end of your own arm.

Post Reply