I had really good eyesight for a long time. It wasn’t until I noticed that I couldn’t keep my eyes open while driving at night that I solicited any extra professional opinions, whereupon it turned out that I had a mild astigmatism. So I started to wear glasses in my 30s and was basically rushed through the whole process. “Which of these two [lenses] is better? Great, here’s your choice of frames, they’ll be ready in two weeks.”

I didn’t know to ask about contact lenses well ahead of time. I didn’t have a clue how glasses would/should fit my face aside from the aesthetics (foreshadowing). And I certainly didn’t know what I didn’t know to ask about.

Fast forward to about a month ago, my v2 prescription has expired and I’m on a pair of same-prescription backup glasses because my main pair fell off my face on a dance floor and while the local response was fast, it wasn’t also successful. So, new prescription and it turns out I also need a reading prescription for close-up focal lengths. My wife Lisa wears progressive lenses, so I figure I’ll go that route. And I throw in the transitions auto-tint for good measure. One pair of glasses to rule them all.

So here’s the really big deal thing I discovered.

First: I’m fairly tall, which means I’m looking down a lot. The bottom third of progressive lenses is where the close-up focal lensing is. Which means that maybe 80% of the time it turns out I’m looking through the wrong focal length and to account for that, I’m wearing my glasses way further down my nose than is necessarily the “correct” placement. This has a number of knock-on ergonomic effects, such as their instability and tendency to just fall off when I’m active (so, a lot of the time). So I am wearing them with a pair of croakies, which is an okay fix, but they’re still shifted well down my nose.

Which leads to the second thing. Even if I wasn’t quite as tall, these particular frames are built in such a way that when they’re in the “correct” position on my face, the bridge of the glasses and their fit on my nose places my eyes solidly in the transition space between the mid-distance and close-up focal range of the lens. So even if I wasn’t tall, they’re still the wrong frame ergonomics for my face.

I’ve got to go back to the shop and talk to them about trading these back in for a set of distance-only lenses, and a set of reading glasses. The first have done me quite well for a while and I don’t think a second set of reading-specific glasses will be a particular burden. I might also ask some further questions about frame-fit and maybe just do a set of contacts and magnifiers instead.

Overall, this experience makes me wonder what other people have run into when they suddenly have to get corrective lenses for the first time and how that experience could be improved.