problems with Varilux Physio 360

Discussion in 'Optometry Archives' started by Odysseus, May 18, 2008.

  1. Odysseus

    Odysseus Guest


    At age 48, I'm a first-time eyeglass wearer. I've managed without
    glasses for so long because I'm near-sighted in my left eye, and
    far-sighted in my right, and I tend to be monocular because of my
    nystagmus. However, there has been a noticeable medium-distance zone
    where I don't see clearly in either eye, so my ophthalmologist suggested
    that I get eyeglasses with progressive lenses. I'm +.25 in the right
    eye, -2 in the left eye, with +2 additional for both eyes, +.5 cyl and
    95 axis.

    I'm a professor, so I do a lot of reading and work at the computer. I
    read (of course, on the Varilux web site) that Varilux Physio 360
    lenses, in addition to having a wider usable "corridor" for viewing,
    were particularly suited for office work, so I ordered these really
    expensive lenses (almost $500 in addition to the frames). It turns out
    that while they work really well for distance viewing, I have particular
    problems with reading and medium-distance computer work, because the
    optical distortion seems particularly evident when working with the
    windows displayed on a computer screen: the top of my laptop screen
    seems concave instead of flat, perfectly rectangular windows displayed
    on the screen lean left and right as I move my head horizontally (which
    I have to do in order to see particular text clearly). I'm surprised by
    how narrow the area of sharp text is, both on the computer and the
    printed page.

    My optometrist tells me that I need more time to get adjusted (and she
    had the temerity to tell me not to move my head in order to avoid the
    distortion, but how can I see otherwise!), but I'm wondering if this is
    really true, or whether there might be a progressive lens that would at
    least distort right angles less.

    Any advice you could offer would be appreciated.
    Odysseus, May 18, 2008
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  2. Odysseus

    Mark A Guest

    What you have experienced is normal for a progressive lens, especially with
    a first time user. But the useable reading and intermediate areas are quite
    small in a progressive lens (this is simply the nature of the beast). You
    will have to move your head, but you will get used to it. This assumes that
    you glasses have been fitted properly. Try moving your frames left/right, or
    up/down to see if your vision improves. If moving your glasses does improve
    your vision, have your frame adjusted or have them do a remake with the
    lenses placed more accurately in the frame for your vision. You should be
    able to get a remakes for free if they fitted your lenses incorrectly (which
    is one reason why they are so expensive).

    There are progressives specifically made for office work that have a wider
    reading an intermediate area (but only moderately wider). And you cannot use
    these for driving (or distance viewing).

    BTW, Wal-Mart sells a NikonEyes Progressive which is really the Accolade
    Freedom lens, which is Essilor version of the Varilux Physio 360 (Essilor
    owns Varilux). Wal-Mart charges less than $400 for 1.67 index lens.

    For your relatively mild Rx, I would recommend that stay with a 1.60 index
    or below (but not 1.59 polycarb). This will reduce chromatic aberration
    compared to a 1.67 lens, and you will encounter slightly less distortion in
    many cases.
    Mark A, May 19, 2008
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  3. Odysseus

    Odysseus Guest

    Thanks for writing.

    But it's moving my head to read what is on my computer screen that makes
    right angles no longer perpendicular, which is really disturbing. I did
    expect the side areas to be out of focus, but I didn't expect
    geometrical objects to be distorted in this way (very noticeable in
    graphic user interfaces).

    It seems that the lenses *are* correctly fitted because the distortion
    occurs wherever I move my head. Is it normal for there to be tiny
    numbers inscribed on the lenses? On one lens they are near the center,
    but on the other, near the nose bridge. In the course of careful
    examination, I also found a scratch on one lens -- I don't think I could
    have caused it (I've only cleaned them once). Not sure what to do!
    Odysseus, May 19, 2008
  4. Odysseus

    riserman Guest

    For reading and computer work, you may decide to use my solution to the
    problem. Use separate glasses. I actually have three pairs. One is for
    reading, another for computer work, the third for driving. The result is
    I have glasses that work well for their intended use and there is no
    distortion or moving my head to bother with. The reading glasses are
    carried in my pocket, the computer glasses stay next to the computer,
    and the driving glasses stay with the car.

    The variable lenses I tried out were just as you described, too many
    compromises for me to accept. In my opinion variables are overrated,
    although highly profitable for the optometrist.

    Stick with simple lenses and you won't go wrong.

    Good luck,

    riserman, May 19, 2008
  5. Odysseus

    Zetsu Guest

    Wow. So this guy gets conned into spending what, £200 for a pair of
    glasses that are already scratched and dented, cause him great
    discomfort and worst of all, don't even help him to see, and to add
    insult to injury, he was told to 'get used to it, keep your head still
    and put up with the distortions, because it's completely normal', and
    now he's being told to discard them and get a separate lens for each
    individual activity. What kind of a harsh world is this.
    Zetsu, May 19, 2008
  6. Odysseus

    Mark A Guest

    The geometric distortion you see is called "swim" because it is like being
    underwater. This is normal for new progressive users and after a few weeks
    of continuous use you will "accommodate" and it will not be noticeable
    anymore. But make sure you don't go past your 30 day exchange warranty if
    you are still not satisfied.

    The fitting I talked about is how the lens is placed in the frame. The
    optical center of the lens must be placed in a certain spot so that when
    your frames are on your face the lenses are in the correct position for the
    progressives to work properly in all viewing areas (distance, reading,
    intermediate). You cannot tell if the lenses are fitted properly by moving
    your head, you must move your frame around to see if your vision improves.
    But my guess is that what you have described is normal new progressive user
    adaptation problems.
    Mark A, May 19, 2008
  7. Odysseus

    Dan Abel Guest

    I happen to like different glasses for different tasks, but many people
    don't. My wife likes to slap her glasses on in the morning and put them
    away at bedtime. She is willing to put up with the difficulties, I'm
    not. It's just personal preference, as far as I can see.
    Dan Abel, May 19, 2008
  8. Odysseus

    Zetsu Guest

    I don't understand how these people can go around telling you to 'get
    used to it'. Honestly, it's hard to believe. If someone burns you with
    a flame, and holds it there constantly, would you think it's
    acceptable to be told to 'get used to it'?
    Zetsu, May 19, 2008
  9. Odysseus

    Neil Brooks Guest

    I see you're no better with analogies than you are with vision

    Big surprise, that.
    Neil Brooks, May 19, 2008
  10. Odysseus

    Zetsu Guest

    Actually, my analogy was quite accurate. When the vision is imperfect
    and glasses are worn, the eyes are under a constant strain. Thiis is
    similar to being constantly burned by a flame and enduring it as
    though it were 'perfectly normal'.
    Zetsu, May 19, 2008
  11. Odysseus

    Odysseus Guest

    I'm a bit like your wife, I guess. I just want to make sure that the
    geometric distortion that I'm seeing when looking at the computer screen
    is "normal."

    Odysseus, May 19, 2008
  12. Odysseus

    Odysseus Guest

    Thanks. What to do about the scratch? And is it normal for numbers to be
    inscribed on the lens? (in different places, in my case)
    Odysseus, May 19, 2008
  13. Odysseus

    Zetsu Guest

    It's not, ask anyone who has 'normal sight'.
    Zetsu, May 19, 2008
  14. Odysseus

    Zetsu Guest

    Write a complaint to the boss of the dumbass who made your lenses and
    made you pay 500 dollars.
    Zetsu, May 19, 2008
  15. Odysseus

    Mark A Guest

    There is a manufacturer/lens model/lens material symbol etched in the lens
    in one place. In another place is the add power. These are in areas of the
    lens that do not have usable vision on a progressive lens.

    I don't know what to tell you about the scratch. If you feel it is
    unacceptable, tell them to remake it.
    Mark A, May 19, 2008
  16. Odysseus

    Odysseus Guest

    Thanks. Can you explain to me why these lenses are so expensive? It's
    all done by computerized machine, isn't it? By the way, I'm pretty sure
    that I have polycarbonate lenses, although I don't think the index of
    refraction is particularly high. Would I gain by moving to simple
    Odysseus, May 19, 2008
  17. Odysseus

    Mark A Guest

    The higher the index of refraction, the more chromatic aberration, which is
    major cause of distortion in lenses. The only exception is polycarb, which
    has the most chromatic aberration of any commonly dispensed lens material
    even though at 1.586 index it not nearly the highest index materials (many
    lenses these days are 1.67 or higher). Chromatic aberration is measured by
    abbe value, the higher the better (the less distortion). Polycarb has an
    abbe value of 30. Personally, I never recommend polycarb (although it is a
    safety lens). If you need a safety lens, get Trivex (sold as Hoya Phoenix
    material and other brands) which has excellent optics and an index of 1.53.

    Your lens quality would improve if you went to ANY other material. With your
    moderate Rx, 1.60 plastic would fine.

    However, new users of progressives will almost always experience adaption
    issues and there is a lot distortion in any progressive lens, regardless of
    the material. So don't expect miracles.

    But since the Varilux Physio 360 available in 1.60 plastic (called Thin and
    Lite 1.60), I would invoke your guarantee and have them remade in that
    material. I assume you are getting Crizal Alize AR coating with that (a good
    durable coating). Make sure that the lens fitting height is correct (the
    optical center of the lens is at the correct position on your face for a
    good balance of distance and reading areas) on your current pair before
    ordering the remake.

    As I previously said, one reason the cost of progressives is so high is that
    the lens manufacturer usually offers a satisfaction guarantee or a free
    remake if something is wrong with the first pair. Remakes are common with
    progressives and some people cannot adapt and get refunds. The R&D costs are
    fairly high, and the marketing costs are high.
    Mark A, May 20, 2008
  18. Odysseus

    Odysseus Guest

    Right, but plastic won't improve the swim effect, will it? Why would my
    optometrist have preferred polycarb? (I don't need a safety lens)

    I have to say that my optometrist never really discussed a guarantee,
    except that if the progressives didn't work, they would give me
    bifocals! But surely Varilux offers some sort of guarantee?

    Another simple question: how does one make sure that the lens fitting
    height is correct? When I'm reading, my eyes are looking just above the
    lower rim of my eyeglasses, so could that be improved somewhat?
    Odysseus, May 20, 2008
  19. Odysseus

    Mark A Guest

    Using a lens material with a higher abbe value (less distortion) than
    polycarb may slightly or moderately increase your near and intermediate
    viewing area. It is more likely to help with a reading area is a net plus
    power (sphere plus cylinder).

    But the swim affect is normal for all progressives due to the inherent
    distortion of caused by the various lens powers ground into the lens that
    let you see clearly (albeit in a small area of the lens) at distances from
    near to far. However, you will adapt to the swim effect if you wear the
    lenses continuously for a few weeks. All progressive newbie's have to go
    through this transition period. The important thing is to give it a serious
    try for a couple of weeks before your 30 day exchange period has expired.

    Many recommend polycarb because it is light and thin, and has a high profit
    margin. It is also a safety lens and therefore reduces their liability if
    you are engaged in hazardous activities with your lenses (lab work, sports,
    etc). If you have drill mount frames, polycarb is sometimes an advantage
    because of its high tensile strength. Lastly, most customers are not
    knowledgeable enough to complain about polycarb and don't know there are
    better options for most people.

    Most progressive manufacturers will allow you to switch at no charge from
    progressives to another lens type (bifocals, SV, etc) if you cannot adapt.
    They will usually do one remake of the progressive if something needs to be
    changed, such as the fitting height (where the optical center is mounted in
    the frame) or a change in your Rx from your OD. In most cases, switching to
    a different lens material qualifies for a free remake. The guarantee to
    switch you to bifocals is from Varilux, not your OD.

    I realize that fitting height is confusing to a newbie. But just try and
    move your frame up or down just a bit to see if your overall vision
    improves. If it does, that means the original fitting height is not correct.
    This can sometimes be corrected by a frame adjustment so that the frame sits
    higher or lower on your face. The thing that is important for fitting height
    is to achieve an overall good balance of distance, intermediate, and reading

    The reading area will always be at the bottom. If you have a short frame,
    then your reading area will be smaller and you will be reading very near the
    bottom edge of the frame. Fashion (a short frame) has its penalties when it
    comes to good vision. If you want a taller reading area (and maybe a bit
    wider) get a taller frame. The reading area is like the bottom of a hour
    glass, slightly wider at the bottom. The actual lens is round and about 75mm
    in diameter, before it is cut to your frame.
    Mark A, May 20, 2008
  20. Odysseus

    Odysseus Guest

    I'm not sure about the sentence, "It is more likely to help with a
    reading area is a net plus power (sphere plus cylinder)." My reading is
    a +2 with 95 cyl.
    I find the swim most noticeable in the medium distance area of the lens.
    I didn't pay extra for polycarbonate -- there was basically one fee for
    the Varilux Physio 360.
    I understand that the reading area will be at the bottom. My frames are
    of the more rectangular type, but they're not super narrow as I was
    aware that they would compromise the near and medium distance somewhat.

    Thanks for all your terrific help!
    Odysseus, May 20, 2008
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