Eye Drops I Should But Can’t See

If Novartis Pharmaceuticals is so worried about my seeing the color maybe they should make it possible for me to see it. Seriously.

I’m a reader. I read labels. I read fine print. I read legal documents. I know what’s in my employment contract and our union contract. I pause the DVR to read the little type that tries to hid during commercials (especially commercials for attorneys&#134).

I read the instructions on medicine, which brings us to today’s entry.

While trying on my new contact lenses I mentioned my eyes were affected by the recent outpouring of tree pollen! Some days the tearing and blinking was tough to take.

Mary, my optometrist, scribbled a few names on a prescription pad. They were over-the-counter but they’d do the job she said.

Today Helaine came home with Zaditor one of the suggestions. The effect was magical. My eyes felt better today than they have in weeks.

However, reading the Zaditor package was a little unnerving!

The directions are printed on the box which most people quickly throw away, not on the tiny bottle you keep. Among the advisories was a warning not to use the drops if they change color or become cloudy.

Will someone please tell me how to know? The drops are in a 100% opaque plastic bottle. You administer them one drop at a time and you never really see them because they’re never in focus. Even if you could catch a glimpse we’re talking single drops!

If Novartis Pharmaceuticals is so worried about my seeing the color shouldn’t they should make it possible for me to see it? Seriously. These are after all my eyes I’m dropping their potion into.

Hasn’t anyone at Novartis asked this question? Is there that much disconnect between science and sales?

I wish I didn’t really want to know because the damned drops do work. Sheesh!

&#134 – You would be amazed how many commercials for specialized legal services only mention in the ‘mouse type’ they’ll probably refer your case to someone else though they’ll remain involved financially.

I’m Trying Contacts Again

First though I watched a video as a nice British woman and the world’s dweebiest opthamologist demonstrated the right way. Maybe my problem is I wasn’t doing it with a British accent?

When I got my new glasses I asked the optometrist about the possibility of wearing contacts. Yes–this is vanity at work pure and simple. Helaine says I look younger without glasses and who am I to argue.

I’d tried contacts before many years ago. The experience was awful enough that Stefanie made it part of her “Geoff” repertoire.

Did I really walk around the house asking everyone if the contacts were in or not? Guess so.

Mary, the optometrist, said she’d order a demo pair of a new more comfortable type made for people like me who usually wear bifocals. A pair of C-Vue Toric Multifocal lenses arrived a few days ago.

I attempted to put them in. Wisely, the last thing your eye wants is for you to stick your fingers in it! I couldn’t get the lenses in.

After Helaine asked today I decided to give it another try. First though I watched a video as a nice British woman and the world’s dweebiest opthamologist demonstrated the right way.

Maybe my problem is I wasn’t doing it with a British accent?

I went upstairs and after ten or fifteen shots I got the left lens in. Two tries later the right was in too.

Not bad. I can see! I am typing this sans glasses. That being said it’s not a perfect solution.

The reading prescription seems pretty close. My glasses corrected eyesight is 20/15. It’s not that good. Still, I haven’t found any type too small to read! That’s impressive.

The distance prescription is another story. I definitely don’t see as well as with my glasses. Distant objects are not sharply in focus. That’s as critical for distance–but it would be nice to have.

There’s one other strange artifact. My vision is spatially distorted. The top edge of my laptop screen no longer looks like a straight line. It’s a concave curve with the center appearing lower than the corners. Weird.

Meanwhile I’ll have to check and see how long these contacts can be worn and whether it’s possible to make the precription better. At the moment I’m cautiously optimistic.

This Or This? Time For New Glasses

I looked at the price. Why do frames cost so much? Seriously, is there any relationship between manufacturing cost and retail price?

lots of eyeglass frames.jpgMy eyeglasses are a few years old. Earlier this winter I noticed a small chunk had been chipped from one of the lenses. Though it’s out of my sight line the writing’s on the wall. I need new glasses.

We headed to a local mall where the optical center has a doctor I’d seen before and trusted. That’s how I found out the eyeglass business is busier early in the year when many people discover insurance coverage has kicked in.

They were running behind. We took a walk.

There’s nothing at the mall for guys. Right?

There must have been a dozen cellphone businesses. Each of the major carrier had a kiosk or two plus a full walk-in store. All were busy.

“Complaints, not purchases,” I told Helaine.

The examination was pretty straightforward. As Mary, the optometrist, flipped the lenses there was actually a difference between “A” and “B ” OK–there was most of the time… enough of the time I was pretty sure she got my prescription right.

My prescription has remained reasonably constant the past few years. No cataracts. No signs of glaucoma. That’s all good news.

Better than that my eyes are corrected to 20/15, meaning I see at 20 feet what most people see at 15 feet.

“Get plastic frames,” Stef had advised via phone when I told her what we were doing today.

Plastic frames? I don’t think so. I can’t come back on TV with a jarring (radically different) look.

I began trying on frames as Helaine watched. I was pretty useless here. Seriously, when you’re trying new frames you must take off your glasses! How exactly can you judge?

We finally settled on frames that look very much like my old ones. I pulled out my iPhone and sent Stef a photo via SMS.

She did not approve. Unavoidable. Not unexpected. Hopefully she’ll forgive my fashion fears over time.

Then there’s the price.

Why do frames cost so much? Seriously, is there any relationship between manufacturing cost and retail price?

In a few weeks the new glasses will arrive along with a tester set of contact lenses. I’ve tried contacts before. You don’t want to know! I was not a good candidate. I’m trying again anyway.

Glasses – Can’t Live Without Them

Good grief. My recent experience with eyeglasses hasn’t gotten any better!

Earlier I had written about how a high price from our insurance company’s preferred provider sent me packing, across the street. Today, I got the lenses they made.

They’re awful! Worse than the glasses I wanted to replace.

I believe the probem is not in this second shop – these people have been great, and I might as well mention their name because I have nothing bad to say about them: OptiCare.

When the optician took a look at my old lenses, then the prescription, and then the new lenses, he realized the optometrist at the first place had prescribed reading glasses weaker than what I was replacing! As much as I’d like it to be true, at age 53 my eyes are getting worse, not better.

I drove to work, sat at my computer and knew it was going to be very difficult to read the screen. A quick call to OptiCare has gotten me an appointment for tomorrow morning with their optometrist and the promise of my old, pitted, scratched lenses back in this frame for another week or so. Then, hopefully, a better prescription so I can see clearly.

It’s always something.

The Quandary of Eyewear

As a kid, waiting at the bus stop on Horace Harding Boulevard for the Q-17 to Downtown Flushing, I could read the destination sign and know which bus it actually was, while it was blocks away. My eyes were good.

I got my first reading glasses about 10 years ago, and have now moved to bifocals (progressive, for vanity’s sake). As time has gone by, the reading prescription has gotten a little stronger. It’s a vicious cycle.

Those few times when I can’t wear glasses – trying to see whether it’s conditioner or shampoo in the shower – I am helpless. Words which were once clear are now smudges.

Two years ago, again for vanity’s sake, I tried bifocal contact lenses. Despite what is advertised, there is no such thing. Or, maybe there are contact bifocals. They just don’t work!

I went through four or five different pairs. Sometimes my sight was sharp up close and fuzzy far. At other times it was the complete opposite. At no time could I see anywhere near as well as I see with glasses. It was a compromise beyond what I was willing to make.

The whole idea of contact lens bifocals seems like science fiction. With glasses, your eyes move, the glasses sit still, and so you look through a different area with a different prescription. With contacts, as your eye moves, so do the lenses. How could you be looking through different prescriptions?

The last time I had a new prescription for my eyes was when I tried the contacts two years ago. Over the past few months, the glare and/or scratch resistant coating on my glasses had started to discolor and spot. And, my eyes have continued to weaken. Time for new glasses.

We have eye care insurance at work, and so I made an appointment with the national chain our plan suggests and headed over. The exam was fine.

Well, it was fine for an eye exam. Is there anyone who really knows if they’re giving the right answer when the optometrist says, “Which is sharper, this… or this?”

And then there’s the point when a puff of air is blown into your eyes!

After the exam, I headed over to the table where you actually buy your glasses. How can eyeglass frames cost more than a computer motherboard… or DVD-RW? This must be the highest markup business known to man. And the screws still come out from time-to-time.

With two years of good wear, and a look I like, I decided to keep these old frames and just replace the lenses. That’s progressive bifocals with scratch resistant and anti-glare coating – no frames. Want to take a guess?

It was around $400! And, I have insurance. This was after the insurance. I was incensed, stood up, and walked out.

At the time, I didn’t know if that was the right or wrong move, but, I felt it was ridiculous to pay that much for something that is, after all, a commodity. The glasses at any two shops should be exactly the same if they’re made to fill a prescription.

Directly across the street was another chain eyeglass place. I walked in. Another guess?

Same job, $277. And, my insurance doesn’t even come into play. Even the $277 seems high, but considering the first number I ordered them on the spot.

With all this behind me, I sent an email to the benefits director at our company. He handles insurance for the hundreds of employees at our many stations. My point to him was, what’s the use of the company paying if no one is getting a benefit we couldn’t get without the insurance? It’s not the company’s fault. They think they’re giving a benefit to their employees. And he agreed.

He called his contact from our insurance company, who said something didn’t seem quite right. And that’s where I left it.

This story’s not over yet.