As an optician, I know there is some excitement over picking up your new eye wear and wanting to wear them.  Perhaps it is because your old ones are not working anymore or you’re just ready for a new look, for whatever reason for the excitement, it is there and I understand it. I’m always excited to get my new ones as well.

What I want to share with you today is what YOU, as the patient, should expect when you are picking up your eye wear and some expectations you should, or should not, have.

First, and foremost, whenever possible, YOU should always be the one picking up your new eye wear.  I understand sometimes our busy schedules get in the way and we want a family member to grab them for us, but logically, it doesn’t make sense.  It’s like going to be measured for a bridal gown and then not showing up for the fitting before you wear it to the wedding.  When you work with a good optician, they take the critical measurements to help you see the best you can possibly see, but you have to have the final fitting for them to be perfect.

If your prescription has changed, please understand you may not see perfectly out of the glasses instantly, especially if it is later in the day.  Our eyes are already tired and aren’t ready to work to look through something different.  We are creatures of habit and even our brain / eyes want our comfort zone, even if the new prescription is better.

cat no needz glasses

Another thing to note is your prescription MAY have changed slightly even if the doctor tells you there isn’t a change, especially if you are a new patient seeing the doctor for the first time and you didn’t bring your current prescription with you.  See my blog, Preparing for your optical visit to understand what you should bring with you to an optical appointment.  Even if it is the exact same prescription on paper, there may be slight changes to the lenses based on measurement and frames so your eyes may see slightly different in the new pair.  I used to have two pairs of glasses, the frames were the exact same frame, just different colors.  The lenses were the exact same, made by me, with the exact same measurements.  With everything being the same, I could still tell which pair I had on when I put them on.  It doesn’t mean I saw worse in one over the other, there was just a slight variation.  Some people are a little more sensitive to those variations than others.  The variations don’t mean they were made wrong,  understand making a lens is not an exact science, especially in today’s digital world.  There is a standard chart letting us know how much of a variation is allowed in your lens based on your prescription.  Good lab technicians and opticians will reject a pair of glasses if, after manufacturing, it is determined the prescription is slightly PAST the variation allowance.  Unfortunately, not every optician will reject a pair , or, worse yet, they don’t even bother inspecting the glasses when they arrive from the lab, they just assume the lenses are correct.  Mistakes do happen.  Variations come out a little more than we anticipated.  As an optician, I hate having to tell a patient their eye wear didn’t pass inspection and a lens has to be restarted but I feel it is better than allowing the patient to pick up their new eye wear, excited to wear them, only to discover they just can not see out of them and something has to be re-ordered.

What to expect if you are single vision:  Single vision lenses are usually the easiest for us to dispense.  They are the lenses designed for one specific vision.  Usually, if you are younger than 38, they may be for every day, all day wear.  Sometimes they are for reading only or for a more detailed vision need, such as piano playing or computer use.  There are two measurements I always take for single vision lenses UNLESS they are for reading only.  Then I can skip one of them because of how a patient holds their head to read.  If your optician ordered a newer, digital lens, such as the Eyezen lens, then there may be some fitting dots or even some fitting clings on your lenses.  If you pick up your eye wear and you’ve worn them for a few days and you’re not seeing as clear as you feel you should be, then talk to your optician.  Ask him or her if they took a specific optical center height on them.  If they did ask them if they verified it when the eye wear came in from their lab.  If they did not take an optical center height or they did not double-check it, take them back in to the office and ask them to dot the center of the prescription.  It is easy to do and it is an easy way for you to visually see a potential problem with your vision.  The dot (once they mark it) should be directly over your pupil when you are looking straight ahead.  All too often I have had to show a patient who purchased the eye wear somewhere else how off-center from their actual pupil the lenses were made.  This can create strain on a patient’s eyes or even a pulling feeling.  Sadly, too many opticians skip this step or do not feel it is important.  In all my years, I have found it to make a difference in a patient’s sight so any optician I hire or train is trained to always take it.  The only exception, as I stated, is for reading / computer only lenses.

What to expect if you are picking up a progressive lens (often referred to as a no line bifocal):  This lens is a lot trickier for some opticians.  All too often I have patients who saw one of our doctors for their examination but chose to purchase their eye wear somewhere else come in to see us and tell us they are having a problem with their glasses.  We instantly “mark them up” before we read the prescription or check the fit.

Progressive lens with a Varilux Lens cling
Example of a progressive lens “marked up” with a Varilux lens cling

This can be done with a lens cling or a lens marker.  Opticians use the marking to determine what adjustments, if any, need to be made.  We also use the marking to read the actual prescription in the lens to determine if the lenses match the prescription written for them.  I’ll ask the patient who is having the trouble if they remember seeing any markings on their lenses when they picked up their glasses and, sadly, I am often told no, they don’t remember seeing anything on the lenses.  I have talked to other opticians (who don’t mark progressive lenses up to dispense) and they say they don’t do it because they feel it makes the lenses appear ugly and the patient doesn’t like it.  I just do not understand this thought process!!!  What is more important, correct placement for quality vision or the aesthetics of the lenses immediately at dispense?  We tell the patients as we hand the lenses to them….”Don’t try to look through the lenses, I’m going to double-check the fit and then we’ll check the vision”   I have never had a patient get upset with me because I’m trying to help them see as best as I can.

All progressive lenses have hidden water / laser marks on them to also tell us what brand of progressive lenses they are as well as what material and what add (bifocal) power is built into the lens.  We use those markings to determine the placement of everything.  Sometimes those laser marks may be visible if you catch the light just right and you’re looking off to the side of your glasses.  They do not interfere with your vision and they are perfectly normal.  They are supposed to be there.

Please understand there are different types of progressive lenses and the older the technology, the more difficult it may be for you to see out of them.  I’m going to be breaking progressive lenses down for you in another blog, so keep your eyes open for it.

If you are picking up a lined bi-focal or lined tri-focal: Every measurement surrounding a lined bifocal or lined trifocals varies depending on the patient’s needs as well as their preferences.  At the time of ordering, the optician should have asked you clear questions about what your expectations were of the lenses, how you were going to use them (if a specialty pair) and then verify those expectations are being met when you pick them up.

There are times however, your expectations just can not be made a reality and your optician should take the time to discuss with you when you are ordering them WHY it might not be a reality and give you an alternative solution.

If you pick up your glasses and you feel you can’t see as well as you should be able to, don’t panic!  As great as your optometrist or ophthalmologist is, sometimes the prescription does get written wrong.  The best way I can explain it is…..when in the room during the examination and you’re asked “Which is better, A or B” and you say A, but B is better in your real world.  Another thing is, sometime the prescription just gets transferred from the phoropter (the thing you look into during your examination) to the computer or Rx pad incorrectly.   You always need to allow for a little human error.  I can assure you, errors are never done intentionally so don’t be upset with your optician if they suggest you try them for three or four days before troubleshooting and getting you back in with your prescribing doctor.  Talk to your optician as ask them what the time line is for correction.  For example, if we determine a prescription is close to the previous prescription but the vision seems to be slightly off, we will ask the patient to try them for three or four days.  If they continue to have problems, we will have them come back in to see us so we can go through our troubleshooting page to determine if the problem is occurring due to a prescription error or a manufacturing error.  As you can see from my example, there are a lot of things we troubleshoot BEFORE recommending you go back in to see your prescribing doctor.

Recheck List Sample
Sample of document used to do a recheck when eye wear seems to not be clear


We may not always be able to determine what the problem is, but it’s a good start.

All in all, communication with your optician is very important.  If you purchase your glasses from a different location than where you had your eye exam, be sure to ask them what their policy is on remakes and ask if they are willing to troubleshoot any concerns before you make your appointment with your doctor for a recheck.  A lot of places will JUST check the prescription and nothing else. While you never want anything to be wrong with your glasses, asking the correct questions ahead of time will have you prepared in case there is something wrong.

It is always OK to ask questions.  Eye wear is an important part of your eye health and having the wrong prescription or the wrong measurements can affect you negatively down the road.

I hope this information helps you be more prepared when picking up your new eye wear.  If you want to stay up to date with the new information I’ll be providing, be sure to subscribe to this blog or like me on Facebook as PaulaTheOptician 

Have a great day everyone! 🤓

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