Picking up your eye wear; what you should expect – PaulaTheOptician

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! 🤓

Frame Friday 03/30/2018: FYSH 3596


To watch the Frame Friday Video on YouTube, click here

Hey everyone, today’s Frame Friday frame is the FYSH 3596.  It’s a very pretty frame with nice detailing and comes in four colors.  As you can see, it fits my big head really well, so it’s designed to compliment a larger head but FYSH makes a variety of frames in a variety of sizes.

Let me know what you think of today’s frame.  Do you have a favorite frame?  Share it in the comments.



Preparing for your optical appointment

The tips I’m going to mention today work regardless if you’re a new patient or an existing one to the practice you are going to, but this is really more for the new patient going into an office for the first time.


It is important to prepare for your appointment even before making the first phone call to schedule it.  It is important to get an annual eye health evaluation (eye exam) so the first thing you need to do is choose the right doctor for your needs.  Refer to my post, The Three O’s of Eyecare, for a description of your choices.


Before you make your first phone call, determine what optical benefits you have, if any.  Please understand, your medical benefits and your vision benefits are not always the same.  Vision benefits do not always send out a card.  This doesn’t mean the benefits are the same.  For example, you may have Blue Cross Blue Shield for your medical, but your vision benefits may be through VSP.  If you aren’t sure, please ask someone in human resources for clarity.  If you, or your employer, are paying into vision benefits, you want to be able to maximize on your savings.  You should also know who the subscriber is (this is the actual employee of the company in which you have the coverage) as well as his or her date of birth.

Here is a true scenario I have seen happen more than once:  Patient calls and says their benefits are through Blue Cross Blue Shield.  The office takes all of their information.  Because the patient did not know WHO their vision benefits were through, the office used the little information they had to go on and determined the patient had an Exam only plan through VSP using the patient’s social security number.  The patient came in, paid their copay for their exam and received their 20% off they eye wear (the standard discount when you have a VSP exam only benefit).  Six months later, they are talking to a co-worker who is saying how much they saved on their eye wear with their plan.  The first patient didn’t understand why they spent so much more.  It was discovered the patient’s exam only plan was a part of their Blue Cross Blue Shield but they were also paying for an actual VSP plan in which progressive lenses (no line bifocals) and photochromic (Transition lenses which change outdoors) were covered benefits but the plan was only located using a plan specific identification number.  There is no way the office would have known it existed unless the patient gave them the ID number.

As you can see, it is important to know what you have.  If you have VSP or Eyemed, you can even go one step further and register on their website where it will give you a breakdown of your benefits as well as your unique identification number, if you don’t already have it.

Now you are ready to call and make an appointment.  Make sure you have your medical as well as vision benefit information available.  The first thing you will want to ask the office is if they take both your medical and vision benefits.  If they take one but not the other, you may want to reconsider scheduling there unless you are choosing the office for a specific reason, such as another patient referral or a medical condition you know they are able to handle.

Have a few different dates and times you are available ready.  Remember, it may be a week or two, or more if you want a specific doctor, before you can get it.  The more flexible your schedule is, the more likely you will get scheduled quicker.  Be sure to let them know if you are interested in, or currently wearing, contact lenses.  All eye health examinations will include an eyeglass prescription BEFORE they fit you with contacts.  Your contact lens prescription must be updated annually.

On the day of your examination….

Bring your insurance identification cards as well as a picture ID

If you wear your contacts in, be sure to also bring your current pair of eyeglasses in with you.  If you wear different pairs for different activities, such as playing the piano or working on the computer, be sure to bring them all in with you.

If you are a new patient, having a copy of your most recent eyeglass prescription is helpful along with your current contact lens prescription, or the boxes.

Bring a list of your current medications including the dosages.

If you have vision benefits, having a copy of your coverage is also a good idea

Last, but not least, bring a good attitude!  While many offices strive to stay on schedule, sometimes the unexpected happens.  Not everyone realizes how many medical conditions are now treated at your optometrist / ophthalmologist office and, just like any medical profession, the schedule can get shifted slightly due to an eye emergency.

I hope this helps you be better prepared and informed before your next optical appointment!

If you have any questions or need help navigating your benefits, leave a comment or reach out to me.  Please do not include any personal information until I have responded to you. 🤓


Frame Friday; Youth Sports Eye wear

Hey everyone, today’s Frame Friday is going to be a little different.  As spring is finally here and we are starting to enjoy the thought of warm weather, I’m reminded a lot of youth will be starting to their spring and summer sporting events.  While so much focus is put on having the right equipment for the right sport, safe eyewear is often left out of the focus.  All too often it is believed his or her everyday frame is fine to be worn when playing sports.  I grew up when you didn’t see children wearing helmets but as our knowledge of safety and head injuries has improved, so has the visibility of almost all children wearing helmets when riding a bike, skateboarding, etc.  We need to see this type of focus on safety eyewear for youth sports.

Liberty Sport F8 Street Series
Liberty Sport F8 Street Series Photo Credit: Liberty Sport

Wearing shatterproof lenses just isn’t enough.  The frames are not shatterproof.  I have seen too many children with a cut going down their face because the frame broke from being hit by a soccer ball or baseball.  Eye injuries can also occur from being hit by a ball.  Paschal Chukwu went through three eye surgeries because he was hit in the eye by a basketball, resulting in a torn retina.

Pairing the sports glasses with the correct lens combinations make a difference.  For many sports, I often recommend the Transitions Vantage lens because it has a light tint at all times to help with most lighting conditions but when your child is playing outside, they transition to a polarized lens, protecting them from the sun while still giving them great vision.  I have also recommended this combination for motorcyclists as well as adults needing safety glasses for outside work.  Even doing chores around the yard such as cutting the grass is safer with the right eye protection.

Liberty Sport Rider Collection
Liberty Sport Rider Collection Photo Credit: Liberty Sport

Sometimes we forget just how dangerous any sport can be.  While I don’t want to take away from the fun and enjoyment of playing a sport, I want to remind everyone to do it safely, wearing all of the necessary safety equipment, including safety eye wear.  Even if your child, or you yourself, doesn’t need corrective lenses to see, it doesn’t mean you wouldn’t benefit from a sport / safety eyeglass.  Sunglasses are NOT a substitute for safe eye wear.

If you have any questions about how to protect your eyes with whatever activity you enjoy, feel free to leave a comment or reach out to your optician.

Liberty Sport Shark Swimming Goggles
See better swimming! Liberty Sport Shark Swimming goggles Photo Credit: Liberty Sport

Happy  Friday AND Happy Spring everyone! 🤓

The three O’s of eye care – PaulaTheOptician

I want to take a few minutes to explain the three O’s of eyecare.  I talk to so many people who get them confused.  I can not tell you how many times, over the course of my career, I have been called an obstetrician.  Do you know how many times I have wanted to say, “No ma’am, I do not deliver babies, but how can I help you?”  Yes, women have called me an obstetrician!  I would understand if it was coming from a man, which is has numerous times, but when women get it wrong?!?!?  All you can do is smile and move on, while you are internally shaking your head at them.

Now, for the first O

Optician – I am an optician.  I do not perform eye exams.  I do not diagnose medical problems with the eyes.  What I do is interpret the prescription your doctor has written to discuss the variety of eye-wear solutions you may need in order to see your world clearly.  Often, an optician helps select the correct spectacles or contacts based on your prescription.  Different states have different requirements for someone to be an optician in the United States.  Some states require a license, some require board certification, and other states have no requirements at all.  You, as the patient, have every right to ask your optician how many years they have been an optician.

Because licensing is not required, it is not a bad idea to ask a few questions of your optician or to ask if there is someone with more experience.  Please understand, the number of years as an optician does not mean they are a better one.  I have worked with opticians who have been in the industry less than 5 years and they were great opticians just as I have worked with opticians who have been in the industry for 15 years and they were so far behind in technology and extremely complacent I wouldn’t recommend them to anyone.  Some things to consider; Is the optician making recommendations about product and telling you WHY they recommend it?  Do you feel like they are building your eye-wear with you in mind or do you feel like they are just giving you the same thing they sell everyone else?  If you are using managed care (insurance) do they sound like they truly understand your benefits and want to maximize your saving potential?

No matter how great the prescription written by your doctor is, if the optician filling it isn’t doing his / her job, your vision may be slightly compromised.  It is perfectly ok to ask questions to make sure you are getting someone you feel confident in.

Opticians are responsible for helping you pick out the right frame, select the correct lenses for your prescriptions, as well as they right options to meet your needs.  You can go anywhere from the basics to a fully customized pair of glasses.  For me, personally, the more I can customize and be creative, the more fun I have with it.  Not every optician is like that.

Some offices also have their opticians dispense contacts and other offices have a designated contact lens technician.  Sometimes those decisions are state regulated and other times, they are based on office preferences.

If you do get your new glasses and you’re struggling to see out of them, you should have an expectation your optician will work with you to troubleshoot the problem BEFORE you make an appointment with the prescribing doctor.

I always say it is OK to be just as picky when you’re choosing an optician as you are when you’re choosing your eye doctor.  Not every optician is good.  Sometimes a bad optician comes from being trained by another bad optician.  It is my goal to help other opticians understand how important their role is in eye care.

Here is something to think about…..most optometrists and ophthalmologists only get a short course (sometimes not even a full class) on dispensing eye-wear if they get any training at all.  Their continuing education is usually focused on medical areas of the eyes, so, unless they just truly enjoy learning about new lens technology, they don’t normally know a lot about the different options available to fill your eyeglass prescription and will often refer you back to their optician with any questions you have.

Now, let’s move on to the other two O’s…..

Optometrist –  their names are usually followed by O.D. (Doctors of optometry)  Optometrists provide primary vision care.  Over the years, the variety of items they can treat have increased.  They no longer just provide a prescription.  They can treat a variety of eye health concerns as well, such as pink eye, dry eye, corneal scratches, just to name a few.  They also do diabetic eye exams.  All too often I hear patients say, “I see an ophthalmologist because I have diabetes”  You CAN see an optometrist.  I always say it’s best to schedule an appointment with an optometrist and let them refer you to an ophthalmologist if necessary.

Ophthalmologist – Their names are followed by M.D.  They are medical doctors who specialize in eye health.  They are licensed to practice medicine and perform surgeries.  In many offices, ophthalmologists do not see patients for routine eye exams anymore.   Sometimes, when you do see an ophthalmologist for routine eye exams, your refraction (The which is better, A or B) is not done by them, but by a technician and then they just come in and do a quick verification.  Over the years, I can say more prescription remakes take place by ophthalmologists than by optometrists.  I’m not saying all ophthalmologists are bad at writing eyeglass prescriptions, I’m just saying, if you truly are in need of a routine eye health examination, consider what type of doctor you are scheduling with.


As with every medical profession, there are always those who specialize in one particular field.

For example, with optometry, you have those who specialize in:

Pediatric eye health, Vision Therapy, Low Vision, Contact Lenses just to name a few


With Ophthalmology, some areas of specialty are:

Refractive Surgery, Cataract Surgery, Retinal Issues just to name a few

It is always best to find the best doctor(s) for your particular eye care needs.

I hope this breaks the three O’s down and you have a better understanding of the difference between Opticians, Optometrists, and Ophthalmologists……and, of course, obstetricians! 🤓

Happy Seeing!


Frame Friday March 16, 2018: The Original Penguin

Hey everyone, today I chose the frame line: The Original Penguin for my Frame Friday.  I know, I know, it’s more than one frame, but I wanted to showcase a nice men’s line and show a few of their frames.  I don’t think The Original Penguin is well known as an eye wear line but it should be.

Take a Mulligan Kelp Color
Take a Mulligan; Kelp Photo credit: Kenmark Eyewear

I do want to make one correction from my video, The Theodore

The Theodore Black Gold
The Theodore; Black Gold Photo Credit: Kenmark Eyewear

does not come in a jr version.  I didn’t want to redo the whole video for that, I figured I would just put the correction in here.

The Saul Crystal
The Saul Crystal Photo Credit: Kenmark Eyewear

I hope you enjoy today’s frame choices. Be sure to share them with someone you think would look great in them.

Do you have a favorite frame? Share it in the comments.

My first Frame Friday!!

Every Friday I’ll showcase a different frame. I’ve always been a blogger, not a vlogger so bear with me as I venture into this new realm of video as well. I’m highlighting my Jimmy Choo 177 frame. If you’re personality shines bright like a diamond, this frame may be for you.

Have a great day everyone and see the world as clearly as you can! 🤓

If you liked this article and want to read more, please follow me on Facebook @PaulaTheOptician or subscribe to this blog.  You can find my other writing, not related to eye care and optical on my site:  HaliPawz  Where I enjoy writing reviews, ADA adventures with my mom, as well as just some humorous things that happen to me.


Welcome to my page

I am so excited to be launching this new site.  I feel like there is so much information waiting to be shared with the eyeglass consumer and no one is taking the time to share it.  Well I am!

A little about me…..

I’ve been an optician since 1993.  I picked up on optics very quickly and realized it was something I was good at.  Some may say I am great at it, I’ll let them say it, I’ll just say good.  Seriously though, I love to write, I love to educate, and I, dare I say it, yes, I will, I LOVE optics.  Actually, I love meeting the person who says their glasses have never been right or they’ve never been able to see out of them, and then here I come and work with them to trouble shoot every possible area and they walk out happy and seeing.  The only thing out of my control is the prescription.  If that is wrong, then the optician just can not do their job effectively.

Perfect glasses = 50% Prescription + 50% optician

This is a formula not every doctor would agree with, but the ones who don’t probably haven’t worked with a great optician.  🙂

I love frames so I will be showcasing some of my favorite frames as well.  If you have difficulty finding a frame or are looking for something different from what you’re currently wearing, I’m happy to help point you in the right direction.

I do work as an optician in the Kansas City Metro area in Overland Park, KS but this blog isn’t designed to get more business for me there.  It is designed to help educate you, the consumer or, as I will often refer to you as, the patient so you are armed with the right knowledge to purchase your eye wear wherever you choose.  If you do want to come see me, you are welcome to reach out to me.  You do not need to be a patient of our practice to purchase glasses from me.

So please feel free to browse my page.  Follow me to stay up to date with anything I post.  If you have an optical question as it relates to your eye-wear, please do not hesitate to ask.

The other side of my knowledge is the business side.  I have been able to turn a profit and see substantial growth with every office I have ever worked at, all while maintaining a fair pricing structure so if you are a private optometrist or ophthalmologist who has a dispensing area not doing as well as you would like, I would be happy to sit down with you as a consultant to discuss the things needed to see growth and set up a plan of action to move in the right direction.

I look forward to helping you “see” your world just a little better than you have before.