Glasses. Clearer, lighter, less expensive

20190320_101308-smNot that I’m trying to become an advocate for prescription glasses or anything, I was just looking for something better, than the progressive lenses, I started with a few years ago. I know I’m racking up some post talking about it but, with my work, it is imperative that I can see! plus it may help someone else.

Other glasses post can be found by typing the word glasses in the search bar on the home page. 

In my last post, I mentioned there HAD to be something better. My second pair of progressives were indeed better than the first pair, which I’m learning were probably not the right prescription for the close-up part.

Side note: If you have to take your distance glasses off to read and that Rx is -1.75 then to get to “clear glass” in the reading part you need +1.75. Makes sense doesn’t it? Well, that first pair of progressives was still a negative (distance number) in the near/close up part because they didn’t add back enough. Hence why I still couldn’t read out of them and told them NO part is usable in the bottom right from the get-go. There was nothing to get used to, it was just the wrong Rx.

The reading area was just very small on my Walmart progressives, but it was there, no more than 3″ wide. Walmart Vision said I had a 30-day satisfaction guarantee. Angie made big improvements when she adjusted the glasses closer to my eyes and formed the frames more to my face. I always thought the fitting was just to get them to set even on your face. I had no clue the importance of where they sat for changing what you can see. When she adjusted them the blurrier right side scooted over and the small clear area was at last centered so I didn’t have to turn my head to the right. She also got the close-up part out of my distance vision for driving better so I didn’t have to tip my head down or pull my glasses down my nose to drive. The eye doctor herself and one of the ladies fitting the glasses earlier said that they both had better luck with Varilux over Digimax and that I was welcome to try those, compare them and choose which one worked better. I called to say okay, please order those. Holly called back to say they could only start the progressions up at 20! For someone that has needed them for distance, that was too much real estate to give to close up work all the time. I’m still going to be taking them off for reading a book or computer work. Also until I swithced opthoamologist I was never told I had dry eyes and that can affect your vision. I told the last doctor about my eyes burning and watering during camera club meetings and was told to slow blink or put drops in at the meetings. It was Dr. Brown how said to put Soothe XP eye drops in several times each day for dry eyes.

Learning that adjusting is so important to what you can see makes me understand a lot. It is also probably the reason that my (way less picky) hubby couldn’t see well and felt swimmy in his single vision wrap around polarized golf glasses. If he goes to Bowen I wonder if they can give him a lined bifocal fitted more for golf so he doesn’t have to have specific golf glasses in addition to his lined bifocals? Now for those of you who back up trucks, tractors etc on a regular basis, I do understand that the hourglass shape of most progressives are unusable compared to a lined bifocal. Gail at Bowen Optical told me that it is better to start getting used to progressives while you still have a relatively low variations in your distance and near Rx because the more different the math is, the more waviness or unusable part you have in all progressives as the lens has to change how it is ground so much differently.

So, as soon as I hung up with her, I went to see Gary Bowen Optical who was recommended to me and I’m so glad I gave them a try. All of my glasses, as far as I know, have all been Polycarbonate, which was sold to me as durable and lightweight and the only option every given.  My first pair of progressives where poly and they did chip at the edge. I’ve never dropped or hit them. Now my plastic pair of single vision has fallen off the top of my head because I don’t have enough hair to hold’em up there when I had to take them off to see up close.

Bowen uses Trivex plastic and Lifescape free form progressive and said they’d be clearer tougher and lightweight and they came with a warranty (1 yr / 2 yr frame/lens) that I had to pay extra for at Walmart. He also does some part of it there, I’m not sure what or I’d tell you, but he said he could adjust the lens until they got it right (for me). It seems like a much more personalized approach. He was helpful and so were both ladies I talked to. I was so pleased when I left I called my Aunt to tell her since my Uncle has a difficult Rx and guess what? Bowen is who they’ve used for years.

I’m pushed right to the 30 day Walmart return window from when I picked them up,  but I had a day to compare the two. The glasses from Bowen Optical weigh less at just 14grams, they are a little clearer or crisper (in the center) and they actually cost just a little less. Now, it is not a night and day change in how clear the lenses are and the reading area is not much wider than the Walmart pair, but there are subtle differences. The Walmart glasses were in no way “bad” I just hoped they could be better. They are not clearer in my peripheral vision and stairs are about the same so I imagine trails will be too. On my first pair of progressives from 2016, I could see a cross hatch mark in the lens. The Walmart pair I couldn’t see any etching and on the new Bowen Optical pair, there is a little box on both lenses that has 2.00 etched in.



new on left. wider peripheral on right.


new on left. plainer eggplant solid on right


newest pair on left

I don’t love the foo-fooey purple decorative arms of the glasses with the silver trim as much as the plain eggplant color and they have a little cut or chip out of the top I didn’t notice until I got home and I know what happens by looking at my hubbies glasses once that color coating comes off, and I don’t like it one bit. All in all, I’m happy with my choice and know which ophthalmologist and optometrists I will be going to from now on. I need to run back by and show them the scratch, get the left side scooted up a tad and see if they can make them stay at the top of my nose any better.


I haven’t had time yet to compare the antiglare coating and probably won’t as I’m heading back to Walmart this morning and then I’ve got to get another photoshoot done while the sun is shining today, plus I have a normal, non-migraine, headache.  I was told at Bowen to clean them with water and dawn when needed. I always thought dish soap wasn’t recommended for glasses with anti-glare coating?

I’m putting this info here for my future reference, but if you like details like I do you may find it interesting. I have learned that on progressive lenses there is no way I could order online and have them sent to my home with no way to do all the bending, curving and adjustments that make me see better through any lens.

Identity Optical is a division of Acuity Optical Labs and includes products,  LifeScape, Titanium AR. “Identity Optical is a division of Acuity Optical Labs and include products,  LifeScape, Titanium AR.  The LifeScape PAL incorporates all of the latest design algorithms. It is fully Position-Of-Wear Compensated and uses Global Design Technology to create a truly advanced design. What makes it unique is that the subtle shape of the corridor can be adjusted for a patient’s preferences. This is accomplished simply by ranking in order of importance Distance, Intermediate and Near. THIS CREATES THE PERFECT DESIGN FOR A PATIENT’S INDIVIDUAL NEEDS”

It looks kind of like the choices by Digimax where I paid for the widest viewing area, Lifescape freeform has what they call, best distance, best intermediate and best near. I’m sure based on what I told Bowen, he picked best distance for me.

Okay, last post on glasses until the next time I have to get a pair— I promise.


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