Headaches and Eye Strain After Buying New Glasses (not a new Rx)

Discussion in 'Optometry Archives' started by Darren Montalbano, Jul 23, 2009.

  1. I am a 28 year old male, and I have worn glasses for about the last 16
    years. My current glasses prescription (-2.50 left eye, -3.25 right
    eye) has not changed since 2003. I wore the same pair of glasses,
    which I had purchased at Pearle Vision in 2003, until very recently. I
    have regularly seen the same ophthalmologist every year since I was a

    Late last year the frame on my old pair of glasses was damaged, and I
    decided to pick up some new glasses. I had had my regular eye exam a
    few months earlier and everything checked out, my vision was the same,
    etc. So in January I went to a nearby Lenscrafters, bringing my old
    glasses. Lenscrafters used their machine to take the prescription off
    my old lenses and used it to make two new pairs of glasses for me (two
    different style frames). Unfortunately, I did not anticipate any
    problems after getting my two new pairs of glasses, and I threw out my
    old pair with the damaged frame.

    Within a week of wearing the two new pairs of glasses, I began
    experiencing pretty severe headaches, and a general ache in my eyes.
    It seemed to happen equally with either pair of the new glasses.
    Mostly the headaches would occur when focusing on something stationary
    for a while (computer screen, reading, etc.), although they did occur
    in general to a lesser extent. I do work approximately 8 hours a day
    on a computer, however I worked in this same manner for several years
    prior to this without any issues. I spoke to my ophthalmologist and
    she said that sometimes even though the prescription may not be
    different, it may take my eyes a while to get used to the new glasses.
    She suggested I wait a few weeks and see if there was an improvement.

    After about 2 months the issues did not subside. I visited my
    ophthalmologist and she did some tests. She found that in both pairs
    of my new glasses, the prescription was slightly stronger by 1/4
    diopter in each eye (-2.75 left eye, -3.50 right eye). She said that
    it was a very slight difference and that most people would not be
    affected by it, but then she did a test (I am unsure of what it is
    called) where I looked at the eye chart with half the letters covered
    by a red light and half covered with a green light. She asked if one
    side was clearer than the other or if they were the same. In both eyes
    with both glasses, the green side was more clear, and she said this
    indicated that these glasses were "not right" for me.

    With this information I took these two pairs of glasses back to
    Lenscrafters and pointed out that they had given me a slightly
    incorrect prescription. They refitted the glasses with the correct
    prescription lenses (which I then took to my ophthalmologist to
    confirm that they were the correct prescription, which they now are).
    I had hoped this would alleviate the headaches and eye pain, but it
    has still continued since then. It really feels like there is a
    pulling sensation on my eyes when I focus on something, and it almost
    feels like my eyes would be more relaxed if I were cross-eyed. I
    called and followed up with my ophthalmologist again but she didn't
    really offer any additional help. She seemed to think that if the
    prescription was correct, then it could not be my glasses. I have a
    hard time believing that, considering that I had never had these
    issues before and they started almost overnight once I started wearing
    these two new pairs of glasses.

    I have noticed that if I wear one pair for a few days in a row, and
    then switch to the other pair, it is worse on the day I switch (though
    no matter how many days in a row I wear one pair, I still experience
    pain). The lenses in the two pairs of glasses are slightly differently
    shaped (one pair is more rectangular, one more oval). I'm not sure if
    this could be part of the issue.

    I'm really at the end of my rope here, and my ophthalmologist seemed
    somewhat disinterested the last time I asked about it. I have been
    living with this pain and discomfort every day for about 7 months now
    and I could really use a second opinion. Do you have any idea what
    could be causing these issues? Is there some possible issue with my
    glasses that may not have to do with prescription strength that could
    be causing eye strain and headaches? I have read a lot online
    regarding incorrect base curves, PDs, etc. Do you think this is a
    possibility, and if so is there a way to determine what the proper
    numbers for me would be?

    Again, I regrettably discarded my old good pair of glasses, as I did
    not anticipate any issues like this, so now I am stuck unable to even
    compare the new and old pairs. Additionally I have nothing else to
    wear, so I am forced to use these new glasses that cause great pain
    for me. This leaves me concerned as to the possible long term side
    effects that this may be causing.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you in advance!
    Darren Montalbano, Jul 23, 2009
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  2. Darren Montalbano

    Dr Judy Guest

    Lenscrafters often uses polycarbonate lenses as their standard lens.
    It has fairly high chromatic abberation compared to other lens
    materials and may cause vague discomfort.

    Return to Lenscrafters, ask if the lenses are polycarb and have them
    remade in regular plastic. Or call the Pearle Vision where you got
    your original glasses and ask what material and brand they were.
    Duplicate that.

    Dr Judy, Jul 24, 2009
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  3. Darren Montalbano

    nowa Guest

    Hey Darren-

    After reading your story I am really astounded as to how similar it is
    to my own. I am 26 and have worn glasses since I was 9 years old. Over
    the years I've had many different pairs of glasses. Until recently
    getting new glasses had always been a pleasurable experience. Recently
    this all changed. Late June I had my bi yearly examination and found
    that my prescription had not changed since two years before. I was
    somewhat relieved that my vision was stable and not worsening. After
    the exam I spent some time picking out new frames. Two weeks later I
    got my new glasses. In the store they seemed fine. Of course I had the
    initial new lenses shock that most glasses wearers are familiar with.
    I assumed my eyes would adjust in a matter of hours to days, as usual.
    In a few days my eyes, (more so the right eye) hurt. I feel a
    straining, pulling sensation in my eye. The vision is clear, I see
    well, it just hurts. It's been two weeks and I have not adjusted. I
    went back to the doctor and he recheck my scrip. He told me my scrip
    had changed since two years before. I asked what else it could be. His
    reply was less than helpful, insisting that it's not the prescription.
    I asked him once again what else it could be and he spattered
    something about axis, base curve. It almost seemed like he was
    offended that these glasses are not working for me. Im at a loss
    because after checking my prescription, rechecking my eyes and
    examining the actual glasses, theyve come up with nothing. The doctor
    and the opticians who were helping all dismissed this as being my
    imagination. It was clear after visiting the office that they want me
    to just get used to them. I know there is something wrong.
    nowa, Aug 5, 2009
  4. Darren Montalbano

    The Real Bev Guest

    Not me. Whenever I get new glasses, my first thought is "Wow, that's much
    better." The only time it's taken me any time at all to TRY to adjust to them
    it turns out that they were made wrong and the (discount) shops remake them
    with no argument at all, and generally much faster than the original pair.
    The guy in Algodones argued with me similarly, and ultimately he made a new
    left lens to my old prescription. In this case I KNOW what the screw-up was --
    it takes me longer to distinguish between A and B in my left eye because
    there's a foveomacular vitelliform dystrophy in that one and I have to scan in
    order to read individual letters; it offended him that I wanted to flip the
    thingy myself and he threw a tantrum and stopped the test.

    When I went back last time I found out that the guy was transferred to a
    different office, hopefully one with much less public contact. The new glasses
    were really good. $20 and ready in 2 hours.
    The few times mine were made wrong they were never willing to tell me HOW they
    were wrong. My guess is that the inter-pupillary distance was wrong because
    that seems like the easiest thing to screw up given that just about all lenses
    are off the shelf and cut to fit the frame.
    The Real Bev, Aug 5, 2009
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