Hi all,

I posted about getting used to varifocal glasses a couple of weeks ago. Thanks to all who replied. It seems that the majority of people get used to them within a few weeks, or give up completely!

I’ve been trying to wear them all the time but was noticing firstly that my eyes are getting very tired, secondly that my left eye was seeming a bit blurry when tired.

So today I went back to $pec$avers (thanks for the spelling Dr G!), and talked to the assistants/manager. It seems that my problem was partly due to my wonky face/ears and not having straight glasses. It seems that varifocals require that the glasses be exactly lined up, otherwise you get bits of vision in the wrong place. So they straightened out the glasses so they fit correctly.

But, it was/is maybe also because I could do with prisms to straighten out my vision. When the optician did the test, she suggested that I have prisms put into the glasses because the muscles pulling my eyes out don’t work terribly well so the prisms are supposed to help. Now, once upon a time, maybe 20-25 years ago, can’t remember exactly when it was, I was told I needed prisms in my glasses to make lazy muscles at the edges of my eyes pull my sight straight. I never got on well with these prisms so I gave up and had glasses for my short sight made up without prisms. This was the last I heard about prisms until now. (Question, did I have optic neuritis some years before I had any other MS symptoms? My first definite MS relapse was about 18.5 years ago.) When I had my eyes tested 2.5 weeks ago, the optician said I needed prisms but was OK about writing a prescription without prisms because I said I didn’t want them. The manager of the branch said that the need for prisms did not usually get worse over time in the same way as sight generally deteriorates as we get older. One suggestion that was made was that I get one pair of glasses (ie the free pair) made up with prisms and leave the others as they are. I’m not too keen on this option as it might make my sight weird regardless of what glasses I have on and that’ll affect balance etc.

But I’m wondering, how I could need prisms 20 years ago and again now, but not in between? And does it have anything to do with MS? Did I 20ish years ago, and again now, have optic neuritis that made my eyes behave strangely?

And can I accept that my current need for prisms will remain? I don’t exactly think I have proper relapses any more, but I could be wrong. I could be having a relapse that manifests as ON and just regular iffy symptoms otherwise!

Has anyone else had any experience of prisms in glasses? Anyone had a need for prisms for a short while then not needed them any more? I don’t think this is strictly speaking a varifocal issue, but it might be related. I’ve not noticed any problems over the last few years, wearing glasses to correct my short sight when I really needed it but managing without them a lot of the time.

What do you think? Any thoughts about prisms, varifocals, ON etc gratefully received.


Hi Ssssssue in to needed prisms a number of years ago for a few years in can remember taking new specs back and telling them they were not right a few days later in had the specs with prisms instead of the neuro appointment

Have had latest specs with prisms for two years now but varietals are a no no eye clinic won’t alow them .

If was diagnosed ppms in July 2013 if not for the famous high street opticians in may have been diagnosed earlier G

See this tablet today

Well, Sue, your quotes from $$ gave me a shock.

the need for prisms not getting worse over time” goes against what a visiting $$ optometrist put on my prescription a few weeks back (stronger than my previous ones). It is a real shame that his prescription turned out to be just as useless as the one done the first time by a member of his staff. I am now trying to get a refund.

"So they straightened out the glasses so they fit correctly. " This should have been assessed when you ordered the frames and done when you collected them.

And, going back in time:
I was told I needed prisms in my glasses to make lazy muscles at the edges of my eyes pull my sight straight.”
I got a description just like this from a $$ frame fitter when he called to deliver my new (that is second time) glasses just two weeks after one of his female colleagues had delivered them and been told that they were wrong and i wanted a refund.
This is a load of “rubbish”.

Diplopia is a problem with the muscles that focus the light coming into the eye onto the retina. Prisms do exactly nothing to the muscles. What they do is to re-direct the light so that it falls onto a different place on the retina.

Optic neuritis is, very simply, inflammation of the optic nerve. It may affect your sight, it may cause pain in the affected eye, or both. Remember, there are actually two optic nerves (one for each eye) and they branch just behind the nose, with the inner part of the visual field of each eye crossing over to the other side of the brain. One post is not quite enough to cover this topic (you need at least a chapter in a very good textbook).

Now, Sue, what you have to do is quite simple: Go back to the $$ franchise that sold you the varifocals, and ask for a refund. You will find that this makes them focus (sorry) on the problem. I would be inclined to give them one chance to sort things out - and just one chance. You should have a retest with a different optometrist, and compare the two prescriptions. I would be inclined to go for one pair of bifocals in a cheap frame, and take either the “free thin and light” offer, or the “free Reactions” offer. If they get it right, then you can think about getting a pair of sunglasses made up.

I would go for the prisms. But, I would ask which eye was causing the problem. You see, quite often there is only one eye that needs correction, and most optometrists will tend to share a big correction between the two eyes. So if you have an eye thet needs a correction of (say) 4 prism diopters, you will get a prescription with a correction of 2pd for each eye, and one prism inverted compared to the other. This evens out the weight of the two lenses. Mine, for example are written as +2 (strength in pd) and base up (one eye) and base down (the other). My wife, with bad diplopia close up, has reading glasses of +5 with bases in and out (horizontal correction). It is possible to correct mild diplopia without prisms by mounting the lenses slightly off centre from the normal axis of vision. Most high street “opticians” may have a problem with this, with an optometrist doing the test, a factory somewhere miles away actually fitting lenses to frames, and a girl in the shop doing the frame fitting. The possibilities for errors to creep in are endless.

So, unless you are stuck with only $$ within reach, ask for a refund, and think about where to go next. Tou may not get the “special offers”, and you may pay a higher price. But, you may get a pair of glasses that are right for you.


1 Like

My present prisms were prescribed by the hospital eye clinic after months off measuring and re measuring testing numerous visits to clinic and three visits to specialist it was diced ed in would have surgerie to adjust eye fucus by filleting the muscles

They changed thier minds at last minute after deciding if was stable enough for prisms .

If had a three day infusion of steroids wich took a while to work

It does seem from what Dr G says that I was badly advised by the optometrist originally and also that the fitting of the glasses when I collected them was a bit iffy too (maybe due to one ear being higher than the other!).

The reason I was so wary of prisms is that although I may need them, I’ve been managing without them for a very long time and I didn’t want my balance to be affected, it’s bad enough already. I have the assumption that my balance would be affected, because it was before, 20+ years ago when I had prisms in my glasses.

My feeling today is that I may leave it until the end of this week to make a decision about whether to keep the current glasses or to go back to the optician and get them sorted differently. My options then would be: either to a) follow Geoffs’ advice and get basic bifocals, or b) get rid of the bi/varifocal idea altogether and get a basic short sight prescription made up and continue with wearing them to watch TV, go out etc and take them off for reading etc. If I go with either option a or b (or indeed to keep the varifocals) I then have to decide whether to get prisms put in.

I’m leaving it for this week just to have a last few days seeing if I can manage with what I’ve got now. Certainly, yesterday when I did a lot less reading or staring at this screen (had a long day going to FES appointment), although I felt generally fatigued, my eyes weren’t as tired as they have been the last couple of weeks.

Thank you hillybilly and Geoff for your thoughts and valuable insight.


Hi Sue

I have prisms in my glasses to help with my double vision. I saw an optometrist at my hospital and she wrote the prescription. I should have reading glasses too with prisms but I haven’t bought these yet. My optometrist said that bifocals with prisms in may be too much for my eyes to cope with - it’s better to have two pairs of glasses.

I had an inflammation of my optic nerve in 2006. After this the optometrist prescribed prisms but I’m not sure if I need them before or not. My prescription in all this time has only increased slightly from 10 to 12 PD - 6 on each lens now.

I used Fresnel stick on prisms first to see how things were. These are very thin pieces of like rubbery plastic that can be cut to the size of your lenses. You just stick them on. Maybe an optometrist at your local hospital can advise you? They could give you Fresnel prisms to see how you feel with the prism correction.

Hope you get some help soon.


Hi Sue,

I was one of the “me-toos” who replied to your earlier post on the subject, and I’m still struggling with the damn things, and not at all sure I want to keep them.

Just picked up a pair of ordinary single vision lenses (which were to have been my reserve) today, and already feeling they are going to become my primary pair.

Going back to Vision Express Monday, to see if we can figure out what’s up. It’s still the reading that’s not working for me - I simply wouldn’t dream of trying to read a book with them - which I think I’m supposed to be able to!

I also don’t like them for the computer. Watching TV on iPlayer on the computer seems better, as I sit slightly further away. But for typing - e.g. here - I’m better without glasses at all.

I’ve no reason to think I need prisms, but I guess that depends on what’s said when I go back on Monday. I’m wondering whether to just say sod the whole lot, and just get them remade as single vision. I’m not very happy with my first foray into the world of varifocals.

I don’t expect VE would like that very much (I’d be owed a refund for the difference, as well as them having to write off the original lenses). So I expect they’ll try hard to dissuade me. But I really don’t know if varifocals are my thing. I find I’m avoiding wearing them indoors (but I did with the old single visions, too), because nothing at home is very far away, so I don’t need distance correction - unless I’m watching the birds down the garden. And I don’t need reading correction, because I can read better with no glasses at all.

And I’m hardly out out of the house - maybe once a week for college, and another for shopping. And the odd half hour round the park, if I’m feeling extremely virtuous. So I think I’ve paid all these hundreds of pounds for glasses I’m wearing a couple of days a week, and half hour at lunchtimes, if I go for a walk.

Will let you know how Monday goes.



Blimey Tina,

I’m in the same sort of frame (hah!) of mind as you. Can’t decide if I want to keep them or not. One minute I think I’ll persevere and the next I want to go back to $$avers and change to single vision for distance. I’ve spent the last 3 years taking my glasses off to read and I suspect that’s what makes it more difficult for you & I. It’s easier and clearer to read without the damn things, and I suspect you, like me, spend a lot of time reading, whether books, computer, tablet, newspaper, whatever. So I’m used to being around the house without glasses and putting them on to go out, watch TV etc. and as I don’t watch of lot of telly, and try to avoid going out too often, I spend most of my day spec less.

I’ve been trying hard to keep the blasted things on. For the first couple of weeks it was almost impossible. There was a moment where everything wobbled alarmingly every time I moved my head. I’ve been manically cleaning them as smeary varifocals is worse still. Now the wobble has mostly gone. I’ve been reading with them on, simply because I want to give them a fair chance, but I’m sort of tilting my head to make sure I’m looking through the bottom of the lenses and finding my eyes are soooo tired.

I just don’t know what to do. I know if I give up and get single visions that I’ll be very reluctant in the future to try again. I really don’t think it’s related to the need to have prisms in the lenses. I’ve been wearing (or not wearing) glasses without prisms for years and had no trouble. I need to make a decision in the next couple of days $$s don’t exactly do the same trial thing as VE, but I think there’d be a deal to be done if I gave up.

Lets keep each other informed!!




We must be twins separated at birth!

I too am getting very close to crunch time, as my 60-day trial is almost up.

In fact, if the clock ran from when I paid, rather than when I actually picked them up, I would have been told I was already out of time.

So I was quite anxious today, that I’d be told: “You should have said before, as it’s now too late to do anything.”

At least they didn’t say that!

But I haven’t got very long left to decide. This is in part due to apathy on both sides. The original plan was VE were to contact me when the single vision back-up pair were ready, which should have taken about a fortnight (dunno what happened to the same-day or even same-week turnaround - I get that varifocals are more complex, but for single vision???)

The idea was that the fortnight should conveniently be just about the right time for me to experiment with the varifocals, and then we could assess any issues - with an optometrist if necessary - when I came in to do the pick-up.

BUT, VE never called me back to say the reserve pair were ready. In fact, they’ve never called me back ever, about anything. They didn’t call me back when I first tried to make an online appointment, nor when the first pair were ready (swore black was white they had, “several times” - but I’m hardly out, and the answer machine is always available anyway, so I can see if there are missed calls, or they could leave a message, such as: “Your glasses are ready”. Duh!)

So we went through the charade of checking they had the right number (they did!), and they were definitely going to call when the second pair were in. But again, they didn’t.

So basically, I’ve had to chase every step of the way about everything. Today I just popped in on the offchance, and asked: “Are my glasses ready, because they’re almost a month overdue, and nobody has contacted me!” Yes, they were.

So that’s when I said: “And another thing: I’m not getting on very well with these varifocals.”

Hence the appointment for Monday.

I could do without going all the way back on Monday, as twice to the Mall in three days is a bit much for me. In fact, once to the Mall is getting a bit much for me. The bus has recently switched to a different operator, and become a lot less reliable, plus I can’t be doing with all the crowds and the Christmas malarkey. So I’m concerned it may eventually become a no-go area. But for the time being, I’m just about able to manage - if I pop a valium first - so back I traipse on Monday.



For Sue and Tina (and anyone else interested) …

First: If you only need glasses for reading, or think that you do, why go to $$? Go to Tesco and get a cheap pair of reading glasses, and check your vision with several strengths against the chart - at your normal reading distance. If you are considering glasses for computer use, simply adjust the distance from the chart (probably 9" to 12" more than normal reading distance). For tablet use, adjust distance accordingly. This will not take into account any astigmatism you have, but it works for quite a lot of people, and for less than £10.

Second, you can do a sort of DIY test for diplopia.
You have to consider if you seem to have a problem with distance, or close up, or both.
If you don’t drive, distance is not a major problem. You look at something large, square and white (seems to work better than other colours), that is some distance away, and look at the corner (any corner). If you see a second white image that is not so strong as the main one, then you may need prisms.
Close up is a bit of fun with a sheet of white paper and a couple of Smarties (or M&Ms). Put the sheet on the table you are sitting at, and put the two Smarties in a line parallel to your shoulders/eyes about 2 Smartie diameters apart. Close your eyes for a few seconds and then look at them - if you see one or three, or four, then you have a horizontal diplopia problem. Now turn the paper through 90 degrees, and look at them again. If you see other than two, then again you have a problem. Do note that if you see other than two, that the other ones may very well be fainter. This can also show up when reading, when you mays see another line of type blurring what you have just read. The blurring could be vertical or horizontal, and the Smartie test will more or less just confirm the direction.

Now, the legal bit (oh yes, there has to be one). I am not an optometrist or an opthalmologist. These are just quick DIY checks, to see if you may need prisms. If you do, please do not go into SS or VE, or B**ts, and say “I have diplopia”. I would not even use the words “double vision”. I would just say that you are seeing a second image. Let an optometrist sort out the details.

I have a problem with using a pair of binoculars with my (prism lensed) glasses off. The diplopia makes it impossible for me to get a sharp focus. I have had to dump the little pair that I used to keep in the car, and buy a monocular instead. Take the glasses off and use one eye - no problem.
My wife (horizontal diplopia) has a problem with her medication is she does not wear her reading glasses, seeing more tablets than she has just taken out of the dispenser. But she has never quite adjusted to the need to wear glasses at all, aand I have worn them for nearly 70 years.

And the good news - I have finally got my refund from $$ Home Service for the glasses that they have got wrong twice.


Other way round, Geoff - I only need glasses for distance. I don’t need or want them for reading at all, and it is this that is causing the problem, because I was finding I had to keep taking off (or peering under) the glasses I need for distance in order to read anything. This was the motive for trying varifocals - the idea was to get some glasses suited to all ranges, so I didn’t have to keep taking them off for reading.

But this hasn’t worked out, because I still feel more comfortable with no glasses at all, for reading, compared to the varifocals.

I’ve no reason to suspect I have, or have ever had, diplopia. It only emerged at all because Sue’s optician identified it as a reason she might not be getting on very well with her varifocals, and, as I’m not either, I spotted a possible common theme. But I’ve never had a conscious problem with double or ghost images, and it wasn’t picked up by my initial eye test, so I think probably not. But I may learn more tomorrow, as they’re going to try to find out why I haven’t taken to the varifocals.

I suspect I’m just going to be among those who don’t take to them, and I think the simple reason is I don’t want correction for close work - although why they couldn’t use a lens that is effectively just plain glass - no corrective properties - for the lower (reading) part of the varifocal lens, I don’t know. Logically, that should be the equivalent of what I’ve been doing for years, of taking my glasses off - just not such a nuisance.

Glad you finally got your refund! I think I may cut my losses and revert to ordinary single vision distance lenses, which would mean I too would be eligible for a small (or not so small) refund of whatever the price differential is between single vision and varifocal.

If I’m never going to read a book or paper with them, I don’t really see the point of having the varifocals. The most irritating thing has been when I need to switch rapidly between distance and close-up. The commonest example of this is in a large shop (distance) but need to inspect individual prices or ingredients (close-up). I’ve found I’m unable to read product labels with the distance glasses still on, but take them off and it’s fine.

But this must account for an absolutely tiny percentage of my regular activities, especially as I’m getting more and more daunted by physical shopping anyway, and often don’t go for weeks. So I don’t know if it’s worth having such fancy and expensive lenses, for such a tiny proportion of the time. Only other time that comes to mind is restaurants - which I also hardly ever do. I need distance lenses for being out in the first place, but typically find I need to remove them at the table, to look at the menu, or check the label on the wine, or whatever.

For my two outings a year, approximately, it’s probably not worth fixing.


Geoff (and Tina)

I’m actually the same as Tina (twins see?). I’ve been short sighted for years, needing glasses for distance. I was ok reading either with or without glasses on for years but over the last 3ish years have been taking them off to read. So, similarly to Tina, I was wearing my glasses outside the house, peering over or under them to read prices/labels etc in shops. It was only when I decided to get my eyes tested that I found that 1) my near sight wasn’t quite as good as previously and 2) the optician suggested I have prisms in my glasses. She didn’t mention diplopia or double vision, and I haven’t experienced double vision so am a bit bemused as to why I need prisms. Years ago I was prescribed prisms, again, without double vision being mentioned, and I didn’t get on with them at all. So I had the varifocals made up without prisms.

So my feeling right now is that I’ve been managing without prisms in glasses for years. In fact, I’ve been managing perfectly well without glasses round the house for years. It’s only after struggling with the varifocals that I find some of my close up stuff is better with them on (or rather, I’ve noticed that when I take the glasses off its less easy to read). In a way, I just wish I’d left well alone and not bothered to have my eyes tested.

My only problem is whether t continue with the varifocals at all or go back to single (distance) vision and revert to reading/ using iPad etc without glasses.



Hi Sue,

Getting really stressed about the eye appointment this afternoon. Not just the appointment itself, which I was already anxious about, but it’s now looking as if I might have no way of getting there. The bus I use to get to and from The Mall (where the optician’s is) has changed from an hourly service to 90 minutes, as of today, and I now see on their Facebook page that one of the vehicles broke down this morning, and has been withdrawn from service. I believe they only have the exact number of vehicles - no spares - so one out-of-service would mean a 90-minute service becomes three-hourly (alternate buses missing).

I can’t make up my mind whether to even set off, or call the optician’s and cancel.

Have posted on the bus co’s FB page to ask what exactly is the frequency at the moment, as there have been no updates since 10, when they said it had broken down and been withdrawn from service. So I’m assuming they’d have said something if it was “all better”, and I really don’t know if I can bear to set off without knowing if I’ll get there - or worse, whether I can get home again.

I could have a three-hour wait to get back from the optician’s? No, I can’t cope!



I’ve rung the optician’s to cancel. I’ve been unable to confirm that there’s any bus - the bus company has still not updated to say whether normal service has been resumed, so I’m assuming the answer’s no. :frowning:

It’s getting ridiculous - I’ll be unable to get to the shops soon.

The bus route has recently been taken over by a small not-for-profit organisation. In some respects I applaud them, because as well as running mainstream bus routes, they do provide transport services for disabled people around the area.

But to be honest, I’ve used them for that before, and they were hopeless. I tried to book transport for my hospital appointments, and it would get to teatime the night before, and they still couldn’t confirm they would do it - obviously hopeless for anyone who gets stressed, and doesn’t leave enough time to make alternative arrangements if they say no. They’ve also said that they could get me there, but couldn’t get me back (what use is a one-way journey?), and on one occasion, one of the drivers - who was actually dropping me off at the MS clinic, so knew I couldn’t be faking - had the cheek to ask if it wasn’t all in my head! I suppose because I don’t use a stick or anything… Well technically, yes, it is all in my head, but that wasn’t the way he meant it!

Anyway, that’s all by-the-by. I’m sure they have very worthy intentions, but the trouble with being basically a charity is they’ve no clue how to run a commercial bus operation.

They agreed to a timetable that could not actually be complied with, because the route took half an hour longer than the hour they’d agreed to. So they have “fixed” this by simply reducing the timetable to 90 minute intervals. What idiot would agree to operate a bus route in less time than it actually takes, and didn’t anyone try it out first?

Then on top of the service reduction to compensate for that blunder, they still have regular breakdowns. It’s the same company that brought me home on an out-of-service bus with the fuel gauge stuck on red a few weeks ago - because I live right near the depot anyway, so they said they’d try it, but no promises we’d get there.

We did, but if they hadn’t let me travel on the decommissioned bus, I’d have been stranded, as they said it was “too late in the day” to lay on a replacement!

Absolutely horrendous. 90 minute service, which might not come.



Just what you could do without. As if it’s not enough to deal with already. I don’t know how you cope with public transport. I’ve been spoiled for years and haven’t been on a bus for a very long time.

At least you get to put the opticians appointment off for another day! I was going to go into my opticians today and talk about this prism business and make the decision whether to keep the varifocals or not. But I woke up really late, and by the time I was up, showered, dressed, etc, etc, it was just too late.

So now I won’t get there till Thursday or Friday. I could just make the decision to go ahead with the non-prism varifocals without going in (which I’m tempted to do), then I could just phone them to get my second pair made up. Or I could leave it till the end of the week.

I think I’ll just procrastinate today. I’ll think about it tomorrow!


And I thought I had it bad with $$!

Doing a quick bit of updating, I find that the shape of the varifocal part of a lens has changed, and the modern trend is to put the distance section just above the axis of vision. In other words, if you look straight ahead at a distant object, the distance correction is above your line of sight. To me, this seems totally wrong.

It gets worse.
The terrible “twins” are both shortsighted - light coming into the eye is focussed just short of the retina.A lens is in your glasses to bring the point of focus back to the retina. The “reading correction” for bifocal glasses is a more powerful lens and this is normally made so that there is a dividing line just below the axis of vision - at this line, the lens is a tiny bit thicker. So if you build this correction into a varifocal area, the lens will logically get thicker as it goes from above the axis of vision to below it. That is a rough way of describing a prism lens mounted “base down”.

The thing that seems to give a lot of people a problem is in the way in which a varifocal section is blended into the rest of the lens. The better the blend, the less problem they have adapting. But there is another thing: with several suppliers, if yu go for “thinner lighter lenses”, not only are you getting a lens material with a higher refractive index (ie it bends the light more) but the varifocal area is often of a different shape. Regardless of shape, “thinner lighter lenses” will cost more (sometimes a whole lot more). An article in the Daily Wail back in March is interesting if you have time to read all the 500+ comments:

What this has done is to convince me that I will not have varifocals at any price… It has also convinced me that the average person in a spectacle shop (I could have written that with $$ instead of ss) has only had a minimal amount of training for the job. From this, even if the lens prescription is correct, how do you know that it will be in the correct place in front of your eye. Now I am thinking about how to get to an independent optician/optometrist to catch up on the months I have wasted on $$ Home Service.


Kind of reassuring (though naturally, I wouldn’t wish this on anyone) that I’m not alone in being anxious and procrastinating about this.

I think it’s because, deep down, I already know the answer is I don’t want to keep the varifocals, and I also know this is not the answer the shop would like, and they’ll try to persuade me to keep them. So I’m getting anxious about having to put my foot down, and say: “No, my overall experience is not better with these - I want to go back to single vision”.

Then there’s all the transport kerfuffle making me anxious as well. With only a 90-minute service, and that rather patchy, I can’t set off and KNOW I’ll get there on time, and be able to get back alright. A healthy person might find it annoying, but not much more, that they’ve got another hour or two to kill before the bus home, but for me, this is a very major obstacle to setting off in the first place. I can’t have a random “couple of hours” stuck onto my errand.

I would very much like to switch to M&S bank, as I’m pretty fed up with Barclays, and switching would give me access to a 6% M&S savings account.

But my local M&S is on the troubled bus service, so I’m wondering when (if ever) I would be able to get to the bank. It’s only a couple of times a year, to pay a cheque in, but the fact remains I’d still need to go occasionally - it can’t ALL be done online. Is there any point signing up with a bank I feel daunted about getting to?

And then there’s the other problem with taking two hours to be fit for anything in the mornings, and it then being too late to start anyway.

The new “revised” 90-minute bus service actually manages to have an unexplained two-hour gap between 10:00 and 12:00. Exactly the times (mid- to late-morning) when I would usually have got my act together enough to set off. 10:00 is a wee bit early for me, bearing in mind how long it takes me to feel human on a typical morning. 12:00 is too late, as that will be the entire afternoon gone. First “catchable” bus back will be the 14:30, as the 13:00 will only give me 40 minutes at the shops - and it’s a 10 minute walk each way to M&S, so just 20 minutes actually in there. Not sufficient. Probably not even sufficient to sort out a matter at the bank, if there happens to be a queue - never mind any shopping.

And do I need the stress of keep looking at my watch, and thinking: “I’ll have to give up and leave, in a moment, if this queue doesn’t move any faster.”?



In defence of the varifocal (with and without prism).

I have been wearing glasses since I was 15, and varifocals for the past 5 years or so, without a problem. I’ve been using my local $$ for around 20 years now. The staff appear to be well trained and proficient in what they do - unlike my previous opticians where I ended up with severe headaches due to the lenses not being lined up properly with my focal points etc.

There was an attempt to include a prism about 15 years back which lasted all of 4 hours before I took the ‘Beer Goggles’ back and got a set of straight distance with reaction lenses instead.

They got me to the local eye hospital in pretty smart time when I dropped in to check out a small blurry spot in my left eye vision (detached retina).

Since then, I’ve progressed to varifocals which I took to without any problems, possibly because I wear glasses from the moment I get up to the moment I go to bed, and in my latest prescription the addition of a slight prism which was a little odd for the first few hours and then settled in quite nicely. I usually wear them from morning to night - The only activity I don’t wear my varifocals for is Taekwondo, for which I have a pair of plain distance glasses, which are likely to be upgraded to high impact sports glasses at some point - must ask the opticians at $$.

The thing to remember about $$ is that they do not have any branches.

Every $$ store is a separate company. If you go through their website, they make no secret of it. The local owners have 50% and a $$ holding company have 50%. Of course the local owners have to buy the frames from a $$ company, and get the lenses fitted in an $$ owned factory - which is how the owners of $$ make their money.

So, if an optometrist gets it wrong - that is a local problem.
So then you get what happened to me this year. An employed optometrist, and his boss (an optometrist who is one of the local owners) test my eyes, and come up with two very different prescriptions. As it turned out, both were wrong.
Get a good optometrist, and a good frame fitter, and you have no problem at all; if either or both are incompetent, then you can end up with glasses that are just plain wrong for you.

If you find someone that gets it right, stay with them.