New Glasses – Not So Fast

After waiting two weeks, I headed to Target this afternoon to pick up my new lenses. I’m going from my ‘old schoo’l ovals to hipper, hotter rectangular frames (or at least Helaine and Stef say they’re hipper and hotter).

I only waited a few minutes while the salesperson finished up with someone there before me. Then she brought out my new specs.

I looked at some small type. Perfect. Everything was sharply in focus. I’m crazy about that.

Next I looked at a poster on the wall. These are progressive bifocals, so near and far should be no trick. I wanted to see something with high contrast.

The poster was almost sharp – but not quite. I went back and forth, switching from the old to new glasses, trying to get a read on the situation.

Maybe I was tilting my head wrong, or had to get used to a new sweet spot on the new lens? Whatever the problem, I said I’d take them home and see if it was just a matter of getting used to them.

As I walked out of the store and into the car, I began to realize what was wrong. In the bright sunlight, everything was fringed in blue! Where hills in Meriden met the pure blue sky, there was no way to see the blue, but there I saw an orange band.

This was a problem I recognized. Sometimes, while working with my pictures in Photoshop, I have to correct a similar fringing. If a lens doesn’t pass all colors at the same speed, the result is called chromatic aberration.

My new glasses are chromatically aberrant! Doesn’t anyone in the lab check?

I was off at the next exit, heading back to Target. The salesperson said this was a problem with polycarbonate lenses, but it’s tough for me to believe it’s legal to dispense a whole category of lens that distorts what people are seeing. After all, they’re called corrective lenses and many people use them in situations where color is critical.

I’m wearing my old glasses again. The wait is on for another new pair.

I’ve asked not to be placed at the back of the line. Good luck to me!

6 thoughts on “New Glasses – Not So Fast”

  1. Geoff,

    You get what you pay for, perhaps a real optical lab would have advised of this WELL KNOWN issue. Sometimes expertise far outweighs price, after 2 maybe 3 trips back and forth you will realize this. Would you take your Mercedes to CVS for service because the kid behind the counter knows something about cars???

  2. Ouch. I am only the purchaser.

    I went there because of my insurance. Since this is a prescription, no different than a drug prescription, you would think it would be dispensed as prescribed. By law it should be. I assume there is an acceptable amount of chromatic aberration allowable, but this was way over the top.

  3. Ahh.. I’d flip if there were a color problem with my glasses. I too sometimes have to color correct in PhotoShop, yell at a photog that he’s not white balanced on a live shot (eww… blue video), or insist that they make our reporter not look orange.

    I of course also need to have a good sharpness too ’cause it’s my butt (so to speak since I’m the director) should any of the cameras be out of focus. (I had that happen recently, but it was in the studio with the old cameras and I think it fell out of focus after I previewed it)


  4. With Polycarbonate having a higher index of refraction, it’s something you might have to trade off for the benefit of unbreakable lenses.

    With my extreme myopia, that behavior in the last set of lenses I had was the last straw that led me to having corrective surgery. I could have gone back to a different lens composition, but it would have been 2x thicker, with another whole set of issues.

    Good luck; I hope you can find a happy medium…

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