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Wednesday, 06 February 2013


I'm VERY interested to hear how this turns out for you. I have similar vision to yours and like you I'm not keen on lasers in my eyes. I work as a CAD draftsmen all day. Contacts matched with reading glasses work well but for me even the best contact lenses dry out too quickly to stay comfortable much past lunchtime. So depending on my tasks I'm juggling glasses. This would be a nice one stone, three bird solution.

I tried the Superfocus frames in a shop that let me play with them a while. The problem was that the adjuster on the bridge was balky. Stick. Slip and go too far. Could not get them where I wanted them. I popped instead for the Zeiss wide field varifocal lenses. Best and most comfortable glasses I have ever had.

Very interesting new product! I am eager to hear how they work out for you, Ctein.

Unfortunately I don't see myself as a customer. Given their universally round lens design (presumably due to the liquid?) and my slightly Japanese facial features I would look a bit too much like Hideki Tojo or the great architect I.M. Pei for my own comfort. Fine when I visit Japan but...

My optometrist devised an alternate solution for me that has worked well. I can see like an eagle up close. Reading anything within, say,16 inches of my face is no problem. But at arm's distance I become challenged. So my doc developed two pairs of glasses. One handles intermediate to infinity, the other (Zeiss) handles close range (computer to cross-room). Not really cheaper than your solution but it fits my vision style just fine.

I think I can make you feel better about this. I have been similarly afflicted as you, and then I read somewhere (perhaps hte authoritative medical journal Parade Magazine?) that growing up nearsighted is the result of reading voraciously at an "early" age. By that they meant reading books before entering the first grade, not an adult that slavishly reads the crawls on Fox News. So, does the desire to fill your brain with information from an early age not speak well of you?

Also, I have been wearing progressive bifocals for about 15 years now, and am gernerally quite pleased. However, I will tell you that since getting bifocals, I have not shot a single level horizon.

She blinded me with science!

They look like Thomas Dolby's glasses...

I bought a pair of SuperFocus glasses about a year ago. Bottom line: I keep them in my car as backups. While they do work as advertised, I find that the optical quality just isn't good enough for all-day, everyday use. And while they can certainly be adjusted, it's not as quick as you might think. You slide the bar that sits atop the bridge of your nose, but to get it "just right" takes some fiddling. Each time you adjust them. ...doug

I had looked at this a while ago. The older frame was just plain ugly. At least the new frame isn't that bad.

Were you able to get glass lenses for the distance lenses? It appears as if acrylic lenses are the only ones available at the Superfocus website.

I have never had acrylic lenses remain usable for more than 3 months. Camera eyepieces and plastic eyeglass lenses seem incompatible. Perhaps my use as a nature and wildlife photographer is harder on eyeglasses than some. Dust, dirt and grit are part of the territory.

Well, I'm getting there too. The real solution would be autofocus glasses. One little camera measures the direction your eyes are pointing to, and then the AF system sets the lens according to the object you are looking at. Probably does not need that much precision, most of people have some accommodation left. Anyone with money to fund a start-up?


The current terminology for fixed focus lenses is "focus free". It sounds nicer. :-)

You probably wouldn't like progressive lenses (AKA no-line bifocals) for the same reason I gave up on them. They distort things in your peripheral vision. The usable area is an hour glass shape down the middle, smaller at the bottom than at the top. The area outside the 'waist' of the hour glass is what distorts straight lines into curves. You have to move your head to see things through the vertical axis of the lens, you can't just turn your eyes. I ended up like you with multiple pairs of glasses.

I was one of those folks who could not make out the top line of an eye chart. The best thing which happened to me was to develop cataracts. When the lens implants were put in it was like a new life. Before the implants I could not see craters on the moon with eyeglasses, now I can see the craters with no eyeglasses. The best idea my doc came up with was unmatched focus correction between the two eyes. The right eye is focused for distance, while the left eye is focused at about 18 inches. This provides me with great vision at nearly all distances, as long as there is enough light to close my meat apertures down. In really low light I need reading glasses, but they are so cheap I keep a pair in multiple locations including my camera bag.

Very interesting idea. I'll bet that within the next 20 years, they'll have autofocus built into these things! :-)

Ctein, I'm curious about the lens' ability to correct for astigmatism. Can they be designed to account for that?

I'm looking forward to this review even more so than I do Ctein's regular reviews!

>>Great for spotting prints.

That brought back some bad memories.

Progressives take time to get used to and are not perfect, but I find them acceptable as my normal glasses (although I have reading glasses and computer glasses when I want to concentrate on work).

Yup, the passage of years is not kind at all to human eyesight. Prescription changes and the eventual need for cataract surgery can be taken in stride these days. They're pains in the butt, but everyone more or less copes. These conditions pale compared to macular degeneration, however. It is an ogre everyone over fifty should be aware of.

I wonder if these lenses will be an option with google glasses, which I have been wanting for about 20 years now.

I have been following this tech for a few years and had not realized that it was finally on the market. When it was first proposed it was supposed to be a low cost solution in developing countries which makes the high price a little disappointing. The fact that you need to reach up and manually re-focus the glasses makes simply carrying an extra pair of glasses about as convenient. More practical than using Kerr cells I guess.

Still, I might try them since bifocal and varifocal lenses are an abomination.

Oh...the vision thing.
I am farsighted with an astigmatism, and a bunch of "floaters" in my vision, plus a funny little spot just off the center of my vision in my right eye that is dark with bright edges (a retinal specialist has been "monitoring" it for a few years...). I am unable to make out text 16pt and below at any distance - by the time it enters my focus zone its too far away anyhow. I gave up and surrendered to the progressive bifocal several years ago. I hate them, but at least I can do all general tasks in a day with one pair of glasses on. Reading or computer work for more than a minute or two requires an pair of "intermediate" lenses.
Photography is a challenge - I had to switch to the non-master left eye because of the partial occlusion in the right and I just stopped looking at the LCD other than occasionally (almost like the old days) and just set the diopter adjustment. A camera that has an optical viewfinder but not a diopter adjustment is dead in the water with me.
I am waiting patiently for the day when corneal implants and such are possible - hoping its before I am too old to care anymore. But thats going to be very old indeed!

My situation is similar, 20/10 in right eye, 20/20 in left, after correction for both. Myopia onset at about the same age. I occasionally cover the right eye and marvel at how soft the world must look to most people.

Monovision contacts, with glasses over them for distance and computer worked very well for years. Then, as the lenses in my eyes got even stiffer, a middle ground developed where neither eye focused well.

I tried progressives. Cheap ones from Lenscrafters (a mistake on their part when I ordered back-up bifocals) were awful. Dizzy and with eyestrain. Fancy ones with double aspheric surfaces worked wonders, and still do, many years later.

"Progressive lenses? Then I'd never have the entire field of view sharp, just some portion of it. That would drive me nuts even faster than uniform blurriness. "

I think you may misunderstand, or misinterpret the consequences of, one aspect of human vision. We only see clearly in a quite narrow angle of view. The rest of the visual field is filled in with what we perceive as detail, but is really a construct of the mind mixing recent detail data, as we move our eyes and/or head around, and the very soft peripheral vision.

Do you think we only make up data for the foveal blind spot?

So the deal with good progressives is that many/most people easily adjust to moving the visual field where it needs to go almost entirely with small head movements, rather than eye and head movements.

And it's no longer necessary for most of us to buy exotic, expensive progressives any more. My first pair had to be ordered from Japan. My latest pairs are from Costco. I bought a pair as back-ups for the anticipated Zeiss or other high end lenses and to wear while the 'real' pair were obtained. (I did lots of research, mostly confusing.)

I couldn't find anything at all wrong with the cheap ones, so I had another pair of lenses put in my favorite frames. Happy vision.

Because of the angle at which I view my computer screen, I also have a separate pair of single vision lenses that live on my desk. Oh yeah, they are also good for trimming my beard.


I've had a cataract operation, in my left eye. It was very successful, and they even managed to reduce my astigmatism.

The operation was needed because I had an infection within the eye, as a result of having septiceamia. This caused the retina to detach.The operation to reattach it tends to cause a cataract, which gives you veiling flare. It involved putting a bubble of laughing gas, nitrous oxide, into the eye. I never got tired of telling people that I had a funny eye....

The bubble floats, you hold your head a certain way up for two weeks, the bubble pushes the retina back into position. It joins back on.

The bubble shrinks over time, until when I look up, it isn't in my vision. Looking down, it swings into view and I have an eye which focuses at about 20mm. I could look at my thumb nail and it fills my vision, in focus. It's all very cyborg like.

Once the bubble has gone, I take an eye test. I am now very short sighted in that eye, which needs a -10 dioptre lens to allow me to see distant objects.

The retina doesn't go on straight, so things like house doors seem half way to being an egg timer shape. Books are difficult to read with that eye; the text size seems to vary as I scan across it. As the months pass these effects lessen, but it isn't until the cataracted lens is replaced am I able to drive at night or look over my left shoulder to reverse. I chose a lens that matched the other, somewhat short sighted one.

Since it was all done on the NHS I had to settle for the ordinary lens. If I had gone private I would have had the Borg laser eye. ; ]

After wearing soft contact lenses (far more comfortable than hard, but not as sharp)for over 35 years, I had LASIK surgery at age 52. I have been kicking myself ever since for not doing that 10 years earlier. Seriously, it changed my life and made my enjoyment of the outdoors especially enhanced and may have improved my photography. I can read a license plate a block away - hard to believe I put up with all the junk and discomfort associated with contacts for all that time. If anyone contemplates this route I recommend doing your research on the doctors. The place I went was extremely thorough spending hours on the measurement of my eyes and the 20 minute operation was a piece of cake. Here's looking at you, kid!

Having just become 100% presbyopic in one eye by implanting one of those inflexible lenses, this is suddenly quite interesting. Thanks for the pointer, and I'll look forward to hearing how they work for you.

Slightly off topic, but having the lens in your eye replaced is bizarre. The sudden vision change and easy comparison to my unaltered eye highlight just how imperfect the human optical system can be. My new lens produces images that look overcooked - too much contrast and saturation. I mean it really looks like an overenthusiastic bit of Photoshop editing. There's a pronounced magenta cast as well. Maybe that will fade with time, but I haven't had a chance to ask the doctor yet.

Only one question, can these correct astigmatism?
A light bulb went off when I read Bill Pearce's comment, my horizons have also been wonky since using bi-focals, I never made the connection, thank you for that.

Ah, yes. The amazing macro-eyes.

I've been heavily near-sighted since I was 4 years old, starting at around -4 and finally settling on -9 during my teenage years.

Two years ago, I finally made the step to contact lenses, mostly because my glasses got in the way during photography.

I'm absolutely loving them, but I still find myself looking through my eyebrows when I want to look at something up-close. The ability to focus at two inches was a great feature when tinkering with small stuff.

You have _got_ to post a photo of yourself in the new specs. Inquiring minds want to see....

Ben Marks

I've got the same problem but I find the progressive lenses to be magnificent. You're only looking through a small area at any given time, and if they're properly aligned then you naturally adjust your angle of the neck to instantly keep things in focus.

When I got my first pair, the OD warned me there would be an adjustment period. Mine was well under 15 seconds. They just work for me and pretty much for everyone I know who has them.

If you find your newfangled glasses don't work, try the progressives. You might be surprised.

"I should have a report for you early next month. - Ctein"

Can't wait to hear how you like them and, very important, how durable they are. The idea is fantastic and I kind of like the I.M. Pei look.

I'm 74 and a long-time member of the presbyopia club. I have 3 pairs of glasses: trifocals for normal use; computer glasses (they focus best at about 22" from my Cinema Display); and bifocals for golf (mostly distance Rx at the top and a tiny reading Rx at the bottom so I can read and write on the scorecard).

Good luck!

Progressive lenses and skewed horizons......big ah-ha moment for me too, thanks folks. I don't know what to do about it, but now I realize I am not alone.

I have been aware of the barrel distortion in my vision with my progressive lenses, and strong Rx, and learned to make sure I am looking through the center of my lenses for anything requiring fine adjustment.

Manual focus lens, manual focus diopter adjustment on viewfinder, and then manual focus glasses too....I would never get around to actually tripping the shutter. I would never know for sure if the photo was really in focus. Shutter panic big time.

This makes me laugh, because I have one eye that focuses to about six inches, wrecked by years of using 8X10 and 4X5 view cameras in a studio setting with no magnifier...I feel your pain! Don't have money, tho, so I'm getting used to being weirdly unfocused most of the time. Not only that, but my "strong" eye changes when I'm wearing glasses, then different for no glasses, which my eye doctor thinks is interesting...

Thanks God for micro 4/3rd's and those green boxes that tell me the face is in focus! I just look at the back like I'm looking at a 4X5. Wish they made a pop open hood that was designed to be put on and taken off, with a magnifier in it, like a Hasselblad or RB camera. Hate junking up the camera with those after-market things...

I'm chaperoning my mother to have a Lasik procedure on her left eye next week. She had the same procedure done on her right eye 5 years ago when she was 69. She could have had both eyes implanted then for a hefty discount. But she demurred. Now that she can only see light and shadows with her natural eye, she's ready for another implant. Her bionic eye is good as new, she says.

If you are ready to have yourself "experimented" on, say five years on, this is one way to go. I think you'd look good with a monocle.

This has been very interesting. To the folks who've asked about astigmatism, I'm sure that would be addressed with the hard lens in front of the focusing part of these things. Along with establishing best possible infinity focus vision. Adjustable diopter eyepieces don't do me any good because the top of my bifocals give me 20/20 and without the glasses my astigmatism would interfere with viewing no matter how correct the diopter might be. So I have to wear the glasses and tape the diopter adjustment down at neutral.

Two commenters have noted problems with level horizons after using bifocals. That's fascinating. I've used bifocals for twenty years and never encountered this problem, but did find that I started getting skewed horizon/level issues when I began to do hand camera work with an EVF instead of an SLR finder. That makes no sense to me, but I wonder if anyone else has encountered it?

I have had my Superfocus glasses for about 8 months now. They are not perfect but I prefer the solution to the progressive plus reading glasses collection I used before. Some have asked about astigmatism, yes Superfocus handle that just fine. As for durability, so far no issues. It does take a while for the adjustment slider to loosen up and work smoothly. I much preferred the 20/20 vision I had for much of my life but this is the best compromise I have found so far for dealing with the vagaries of aging eyes.

Presbyopia isn't the muscles in your eye getting weak. They tug the lens to focus to infinity, making the lens flatter (longer focal length). The problem is that the elasticity of the lens is shot, and it doesn't spring back and thicken up (shorter focal length) when you relax the muscles.

Very counter-intuitive, you always think of yourself as "straining" to see close, but actually you're relaxing the muscles.

It also means that reading a lot as a kid (in the dark) won't do anything bad, since it's all relaxing the muscles, and letting the lens do it's "get thicker" thing.

Presbyopia isn't too bad for SLR focusing, until you can't focus to 1 meter, which is the normal virtual distance to the focusing screen.

I've never tried normal bifocals. I found progressives perfectly easy to adapt to; their big problem is the small reading zone. I talked to my optometrist about regular bifocals, and he didn't seem to think they'd be any better, and they're worse in other ways.

Hmm, wide-field progressives, eh? Presumably even more expensive, given Zeiss' involvement.

Modern progressive lens designs are computer modeled specifically for each patient - the prescription, the frame and several other parameters are considered. No more "off the shelf" choices. These digitally surfaced lenses are finished with the near power "corridor" ground on both the front and back of the lens - giving a wider area of clear, undistorted vision. Don't bother with Costco or Lenscrafters, et al. They won't have these. In fact, they really only have access to, at most, half dozen progressive types (there are literally over a hundred different conventional progressive designs on the market). You have to find a good doctor with access to the best optical lab. You will not regret it.

Perhaps I read this thread too quickly, but I wonder if my issue of cataract removal (perhaps a bit OT) was sufficiently mentioned. It was indeed touched upon, but I did not see anyone talk about another unexpected and quite happy result when mine were removed.

As many here may relate to, we b/w photographers get concerned about good black and good white. We worry about warm whites in the photo as well as on the matt board. But when I had my cataracts remove, hallelujah! Suddenly I had deep black and bright whites! Previously, my whites were sorta orangy, but not any more.

An earlier issue was that when I was born, I was wall-eyed. I didn't have binocular fusion, even after two operations at the ages of 2 and 4, and I still don't see in three dimensions. In fact I see double most of the time. People wonder how I get such good photos, but I think of it as an advantage. Since a photo is in two dimensions, and since I see in two dimensions, I'm able to get at the essence of a photo more easily.

I like to think we're all able to see at all, given the alternative. Perhaps photography is a way of overcoming some of our visual limitations.

Dear Steve D,

Do not confuse types of surgery. Laser surgery has no impact on presbyopia. It can correct myopia and hyperopia, but the lens stays as inflexible as ever.


Dear Winsor and others,

This is one of the several reasons why I went to a fairly expensive optometrist who handles Superfocus directly. I got to try out existing pairs there, and I can compare the pair they ship me with the optometrist's in-house samples. Also, if anything kinky turns up, I can return them on the spot and get a replacement pair made. I spent about 25% more than I needed to had I gone with my HMO's eye exam and ordered the glasses myself online, but for new and untried technology like this, I wanted a lot more handholding and direct contact.


Dear Ken,

I'm not terribly fond of the design also. I like large glasses, as you've seen me wearing. I like the “look” and I like the extensive peripheral vision. But I'm willing to put up with the Superfocus design if it will satisfactorily deal with the presbyopia. Another reason why I went with the local optometrist, so I could see how they looked, felt, and affected my periphery.


Dear Bill,

I didn't learn to read early. I became a voracious reader as soon as I did learn to read, but that was about the same time I started needing to wear glasses. So, I cannot blame my myopia on bibliophilia.

Anyway, the myopia hasn't bothered me, and I've found it to be more a benefit than a hindrance. Unlike not being able to focus.


Dear Steve J,

I used to be a big devotee of glass lenses, also, but my prescription is severe enough that it became difficult-to-impossible to get them in the large lenses I favor, especially in bifocals. I've had plastics for 20 years, I guess. I'm very good at taking care of them, which I guess comes from long experience.

You've got to watch out for those camera eyepieces, definitely. My Pentax 67's had these milled metal bezels on the eyepieces that could probably scratch diamonds. The way I dealt with it was I mixed up a little batch of quick setting epoxy and brushed it around the top of the bezel, filling in the gruesome covering the sharp edges with a smooth softer material.


Dear Jamie and others,

Yes, you can correct for astigmatism. I have very mild astigmatism. The correction's built into the prescription part of the lens, just as it would be for conventional glasses.

I have this vague, possibly erroneous, recollection that when there is severe astigmatism, it varies with focal distance. I could be wrong about that. But if my memory is correct, the correction for stigmatism wouldn't work as well at close focus with the adjustable glasses than at infinity.


Dear Moose,

It sounds like progressives have improved a lot since I checked them out. I still suspect I wouldn't like them, but if the Superfocus glasses turn out not to suit me, maybe I'll give them a try. What the hell, it's just money [wry smile].

Yeah, human vision is only sharp in the center of the field. I was short-handing the fact that one fills in the whole field of view normally by moving the eyeball, not moving the entire head. Maybe it won't bother me as much as I think it will. I suspect I won't be able to tolerate it, but then I'm the fellow who can't even tolerate the line in the bifocal fields, and most people adapt to that just fine. Damn prima donna eyes.

pax \ Ctein
[ Please excuse any word-salad. MacSpeech in training! ]
-- Ctein's Online Gallery http://ctein.com 
-- Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com 

Some people are more blessed than others : my wife's grand mother, who was over 90 years old at the time, could pass a thread through a needle without glasses. No myopia either. She thought it was NOT normal for her age, so she asked her eye-doctor for glasses several times. He got tired of her whining and prescribed glasses with no strength...

Reminds me of an insomnia specialist I took a class from. He told a story of a woman who said she'd had insomnia all her life. He asked her a bunch of questions and determined that she had an exceptionally low sleep need--four hours a night was all the sleep she needed. She'd been lying in bed for eight hours all her life, awake for half of it.


"I suspect I won't be able to tolerate it, but then I'm the fellow who can't even tolerate the line in the bifocal fields, and most people adapt to that just fine."

Everybody is different. I used to have bifocals as back-ups to contact lenses. Never did get used to them. Good progressives are much better - for me.


When I measured the distance from my eyeball to the focusing screen of my view camera (through the reflex viewer) and asked my eye doctor to help me with some reading glasses for that, he chuckled and showed me that one of my eyes was already focused at that distance and only the other eye needed correction. So my "magnifier" for view camera work is a pair of reading glasses with one lens removed. Works a treat. Yes, for critical focussing I use the magnifier, but for most architecture work at f/22, this technique suffices.

Exactly the topic bugs my mind this month!

I think I am just entering a mid-life crisis and the fact that we have to die and we are not far away from. it

I am quite interested to hear about your experience, too. I used to not need glasses at all (and I read a lot as a kid), have about 1.25 (20/16) vision, until presbyopia set in. Since I am view camera user, I recognized it earlier (age 40) than most people when I needed to get further and further away from the ground glass of my 4x5; reading was no problem at that time. Now in my fifties I am at 2 diopters for reading glasses (progressing from 0.75 to 1.25 to 1.75 and recently to 2)and 3.5 for the view camera screen. I checked out the superfocus web site to see what diopter range the mechanism covers, but could not find it, only an overall range including the different fixed lens part options. Any idea what range it covers? I see two possible problems for me, one is the weight, larger, heavier glasses tend to make my ears hurt, and since I spent most of my life without glasses I tend to be pretty rough on them - I destroyed the frame of my very first pair 6 weeks after I got them by sitting on them. Since then all my "good" glasses use frames made from "memory metal", a very flexible titanium-nickel alloy ("Flexon", "Titanflex" are brand names).

I am quite interested to hear about your experience, too. I used to not need glasses at all (and I read a lot as a kid), have about 1.25 (20/16) vision, until presbyopia set in. Since I am view camera user, I recognized it earlier (age 40) than most people when I needed to get further and further away from the ground glass of my 4x5; reading was no problem at that time. Now in my fifties I am at 2 diopters for reading glasses (progressing from 0.75 to 1.25 to 1.75 and recently to 2)and 3.5 for the view camera screen. I checked out the superfocus web site to see what diopter range the mechanism covers, but could not find it, only an overall range including the different fixed lens part options. Any idea what range it covers? I see two possible problems for me, one is the weight, larger, heavier glasses tend to make my ears hurt, and since I spent most of my life without glasses I tend to be pretty rough on them - I destroyed the frame of my very first pair 6 weeks after I got them by sitting on them. Since then all my "good" glasses use frames made from "memory metal", a very flexible titanium-nickel alloy ("Flexon", "Titanflex" are brand names).

I have very (VERY) good progressives, and have had for several years. They are great. You say they would "drive me nuts", but I think you should give them a chance before you make that decision. The brain and its visual pathways are pretty plastic.

BTW, I can recommend iZon (great colour rendition and correction for coma, star and flare), Hoya and Shamir Autograph II lenses for spectacles. I've also had Zeiss. Of those, I would slightly favour iZon, and the Shamir at the bottom of the list, though not by a lot.

There are "progressive lens" glasses. At least they offer close, medium, and far eyesight for some of the population. I'm a bifocal man. I also have about five or six different pairs of various diopter glasses and a couple of far vision glasses around the house and car. My favorite pair is the super-duper one that I use for image editing. Nice optics, coated lenses, right focal length... Just wait. At some point you may need to go down the hearing aid path. Today I get to pick up my $2700 air aid. That's right--air aid. My left ear is missing out on a lot of the audible action that surrounds me at work, at play, and at home.

With all the talk of trying to get your eyes to focus where you need them to, the question no one is asking is:

How's the bokeh?

Nearsighted as as a kid myself, I've always wondered if my myopia was responsible for my penchant for close focusing wide angle lenses to mirror the way I saw things with uncorrected eyes.

I wear glasses and I can't tell you how important it is to be able to see. And see really properly! My sister is an eye surgeon, so once we had a discussion about eyeglass lenses, which prompted me to look a little deeper into this.

First thing: Lenses. The key thing for me is: lens material are not the same. Higher index, lower weight, but more aberrations (the so-called Abbe value). I have 4 glasses, one for work, and one for sports, each with paired set of lenses in them. In one case, Hoya Nulux PNX 1.53 aspheric (Abbe 43) and the other Seiko SPG AZ double aspheric 1.74 (Abbe 33).

Hoya: http://www.hoya.co.uk/index.php?SID=5113b1f58d534460739207&page_id=19325

Seiko: http://www.seiko-opt.co.jp/en/lens/seiko-tlens/az.html
(On the Seiko page you can click on the technologies link on the bottom)

I buy my glasses in pairs. Why? mainly for decentering issues -- the PD or pupil distance. This is the one measurement that most optician dispensers don't give away, because with this, you can get glasses over the internet (which cost far less).

They then use this PD to grind your lenses to make sure they are centered over your eyes. Every time they remeasure your PD, it introduces error, so I got my PD measured by an eye doctor, and that's the specifications I give that to my dispenser to grind my lenses to.

(One example in france: they measured my PD for two pairs of glasses I ordered at the same time -- and they had a difference of 2mm! It gave me constant headaches, and luckily I sneaked iPhone photos of their internal order to record the PD whilst he was away from the counter so I could point out to him his mistake. He rebuilt them to my spec, but there goes about 500 USD worth of lens...)

Now, I just buy my glasses over the internet. But for the decentering problem / PD alone (which will exist almost forever as glasses shops will always want to make sure they exist in the face of the Internet), I always buy my glasses in pairs as one is typically worse than the other. That gives you the right to go back and complain to at least get the other one configured the same as the "good" pair.

Good luck!


What a fascinating set of responses!

I've considered bifocals, progressives, laser surgery, and contacts. For the moment, I've taken the cheap route: I have a pair of clip-on computer glasses that I use when reading or computing. They were inexpensive and can be attached to any of my existing glasses. Fashionable? Hah! They look absolutely nerdy but they work and I'm satisfied.

Im an optometrist that works with a cataract surgeon, so I face your dilemma on a daily basis. I think the best solution I've run across is performing cataract surgery on both eyes and using Crystalens accommodating intraocular implants. They don't flex all the way to standard reading distance (16") so the residual refractive error in the non-dominant eye is targeted a little myopic. So the dominant eye will have good distance and intermediate vision and the non-dominant eye has good intermediate and near vision. A little tricky to pull off, but the results are so good that the surgery is becoming more common in people that don't have cataracts yet but want excellent vision.

OK, my take on eye surgery. Many years ago I asked my optician about the wisdom of considering this and the key thing she told me was that she knew of no opthalmic professionals who had had it done to themselves. The other year I had exactly the same conversation with the woman testing my eyes and she told me exactly the same thing.

You get one pair of eyes and no second chance, not for me.

As a hobbiest photographer who went through Cataract Surgery in my late 40's, you may find my "War & Peace" writeup about the experiences interesting - http://www.komar.org/faq/colorado-cataract-surgery-crystalens/

Overall, a big improvement over where my vision was going ... but one interesting "side-effect" of the type of IOL I selected is that I can now see a bit into the Ultra-Violet ... just call me Captain UV! ;-)

Dear Arne,

The adjustment range is 2.75 diopters. Currently, the difference for me between infinity and reading glasses is 2.25 diopters, so this should get me closer than normal reading distance.

If I like these, I'm thinking about getting a second pair of lenses made which add half a diopter to the prescription. That would give me a usable range from the far side of a room at home all the way down to close focusing work, which might be handy. At the moment it's just a thought.

I found the glasses to be surprisingly lightweight. I thought they'd be heavier than they were. They're nowhere as massive as they look. Now, that may be because I normally wear glasses with very large lenses (look at the photos of me), and these glasses are much smaller than that. If you're already wearing small glasses, these may be too heavy.

I can't help you on the matter of mistreating your glasses [smile].


Dear Moose, Earl, and others,

Thanks for enlightening me on progressives. Paula's and my information on them is clearly long outdated. It's been easily 10-15 years since we investigated them and obviously the technology has changed a lot since then. I went and read a buncha stuff online. Saw some people complaining about how expensive the high-end progressives were, but they don't seem that expensive to me considering what I'm paying for Superfocus. (And I am the guy who was considering multithousand dollar eye surgery if I thought it would do the trick, that's how much I'd like to fix this.) If it turns out I don't like the Superfocus I probably will give progressives a try.

What the hell, it's just money. Can't buy me love… But maybe it can buy me better vision.

pax \ Ctein
[ Please excuse any word-salad. MacSpeech in training! ]
-- Ctein's Online Gallery http://ctein.com 
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@ John Shriver - I must correct you on your theory of accommodation. You seem to be saying that the ciliary muscle contracts (yet somehow pulls the lens flatter) to enable distance vision, and relaxes to enable reading vision. I can't imagine where you read this, but I can tell you it is the exact opposite of what actually happens. If your theory was correct, as the lens ages and becomes less flexible, people would lose their distance clarity rather than their reading vision - effectively becoming myopic - which clearly doesn't happen. Also, if one could adjust one's distance vision like your theory suggests, myopia would not exist in the young as one could simply "anti-accommodate" to relieve it. There are many more counter-intuitive problems with your theory that I won't go into here. Where you've gone wrong I think is this – the lens is indeed held under tension when the eye is unaccommodated, but this is due to the natural elasticity of the eye pulling on the lens' suspensory ligaments - the ciliary muscle is relaxed and dilated. When the muscle contracts, the lens does indeed assume a fatter shape naturally, but only because the muscle has relaxed the tension on the suspensory ligaments.

Safe to say that the traditional lay theory of accommodation - that the muscle in the eye contracts to increase the focal power of the eye and bring near targets into focus - is correct. Although there are different theories to what the exact mode of action of accommodation is (Helmholtz's theory still being the preferred mainstream explanation), all agree that it is the contraction of the circular ciliary muscle that is the driver of the whole process. So I'm afraid your kid reading in the dark *is* making his ciliary muscle work for its keep. Whether or not this contributes to myopia development is a matter for some debate, although it has been recently proven that a lack of outdoor activities in childhood is associated with an increased incidence of myopia. So it's OK to read under the covers, as long as you go out and play sports in the daytime!

MartSharm MCOptom

Dear Alek,

Most fascinating accounts!

So, have you spent much time looking at flowers and birds and seeing how the way they look to your eye differs from the way they do to the camera. Birds have a fourth color receptor in the UV, in about the range that you can see into. Flowers have markings that are visible in long UV because bees and other pollinators can see them. You should be able to see markings on both that are invisible to mere mortals.

Captain UV, away!


Dear Seth,

That is what I was looking into, except I don't need cataract surgery, so it would be entirely elective procedure. Paula's optometrist isn't yet comfortable with the idea of intraocular lens implants as elective surgery.

Since an implant wouldn't give me the visual acuity that I expect from my eyes, I wouldn't be looking at this to eliminate wearing glasses. If I were going to get the procedure, I'd get both eyes corrected the same and have an “outdoor” and an “indoor pair of glasses, probably bifocals for the outdoor pair to give me the extended range.

The big difference between that and what I have now is that I'd be recovering my focus accommodation, and the glasses would become essentially a tweak and a refinement on tolerable vision.

pax \ Ctein
[ Please excuse any word-salad. MacSpeech in training! ]
-- Ctein's Online Gallery http://ctein.com 
-- Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com 

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