I got rid of the varifocals - Yay!

Well, I took them back today, and said I want to go back to single vision distance lenses.

I know I’ve done the right thing, because I immediately felt a weight off my mind, that I’d been making do with nearly £500-worth of the “wrong” glasses.

I also took the opportunity to pick completely different frames, as they said it didn’t make any difference if I was getting them “remade” anyway. For a while I’ve been feeling that not only was I not getting on with the lenses, but I’d made a mistake with the frames too, as they weren’t flattering.

I wasn’t going to push my luck and ask for different frames, but when they said it would make no difference (to price on my side, or effort on theirs) I jumped at the chance!

Logically, of course if you need new lenses anyway, it doesn’t matter if they stick them in different frames for you, but I never thought of that - LoL.

And I got a £65 refund for the difference between Varifocals and single distance.

Not absolutely sure it shouldn’t have been more than that, but it was horribly complicated and illogical the way they worked it out. To my over-simplistic way of thinking about it, everything else - including the replacement frames - was exactly the same price, so the refund due should have been a straight subtraction of Single Vision price from Varifocal price.

But somehow they didn’t do it like that, there was a whole load of argy bargy about my discount second pair (which I’m keeping). As my replacement glasses, even with cheaper lenses, will still be pricey enough to qualify for exactly the same discount, the second pair could have been taken out of the equation altogether, and just do: “Price of original primary pair - Price of new primary pair”.

But no, that was far too straightforward, and they had to make a meal of it.

So at some point I’m going to need a tranquiliser before I go through the maths and check it works out exactly the same, despite being done in a madly complicated way!

But apart from that, all fine - should be about a fortnight to get my replacements.

I wondered whether to put: “For Ssssue” in the title, as I’m particularly interested to hear how she has fared with resolving the identical dilemma.

But all replies welcome, of course.



Tina, I don’t blame you for getting rid of varifocals, I couldn’t get on with them either. I found the reading area was far too small, and if I nodded my head I almost lost balance. Bi-focals are fine for me.

Ignoring the optician’s complicated maths, I think you got very good service.

Now, don’t sit on them, leave them on the bus, down the library or at the doctors. I’ve done all of those.


I kept mine!!!

The reason (really) is vanity. When I don’t wear glasses my eyes look knackered all the time. If I have specs on I can hide my eyes behind them. So I don’t look ill all the time or quite as old!

I’ve sort of been getting used to them. I’ve been wearing them all the time, to read as well as for distance. I suspect that’s why Tina and myself have had such difficulty getting used to them: we’ve got used to taking them off to read, use computer, do everything really, and just putting them on to go out or watch TV. And as I do very little of either, I’ve been living my life without glasses for about 3 years. So it’s getting used to wearing glasses to read at all that’s been a major problem.

I’m still not 100% comfortable with changes in distance. And when they’re smeary it’s impossible. I’ve been cleaning these glasses a lot. Luckily I bought a job lot of lens cleaning wipes from a famous on line store for just a few pence.

Today, as luck would have it, my eyes feel really tired. This has been a side effect of the varifocals, but then I don’t know how much is varifocals and how much is fatigue!

I did also think that if I gave up on the varifocals I’d never risk it again. I definitely didn’t want two pairs with different prescriptions and I’m not too keen on the idea of bifocals either. The trouble now is that I’ve got used to reading with glasses on and actually it’s slightly better than reading without them (so long as I don’t move my head to fast!). When they’re clean and I forget about them (get into a good book with no other distractions) they’re great. Honest.


Exactly the same as you, Ben. I found the reading area very small. Additionally, my reading prescription is very mild - so much so that I do not really need reading glasses at all. The trivial correction is not worth the drawbacks of the very small reading area, and the distorted peripheral vision when I’m looking straight ahead.

I picked up a pair of single vision last week, which were supposed to be only my cheap emergency reserves, and immediately felt more comfortable with them than with the much more expensive varifocals. There is definitely something wrong when you would rather wear the cheap backup than your main glasses!

For some reason I’d expected trouble taking them back (even though I was still within the 60-day “total satisfaction” guarantee), as it’s not often you have to go back with £500-worth of kit (whether it’s glasses, or anything else), and say: “I don’t want this. I’m just not getting on with it.”

Of course, I know the shop will already have a proportion of write-offs built into their pricing model - they’re not so daft that they’re going to lose out because not every customer decides to keep their glasses.


Oh, you’re the first person I’ve heard saying glasses make them look younger! I usually use a bit of slap for that, but it’s increasingly taking more than a bit - more like a cement works!

I didn’t have that issue, because as well as the glasses being a pain, I was increasingly convinced they didn’t suit me anyway. I’ve not had a single compliment since getting them - not that I have vast social vistas anyway, but I thought ONE person - maybe at college - might say: “Nice glasses - are they new?”

Nobody did, so I draw my own conclusions. I guess they are not very attractive - or certainly not enough for anybody to comment.

Funny you should say about the lenses always being smeary. In my case, I thought it was because of the aforementioned slap, but I seemed to have been having such trouble with the lenses that have just gone back - more than with my old glasses.

I wonder if there’s something about the technology they’re using now that means they’re less grease-repellent, or even attract the stuff? I’ve been finding even the proper lens-cleaning cloths just spread it around, don’t clean it off.

After a few months, I inevitably get lazy, and start wiping my glasses on my jumper, but when they’re new, I at least try to use only the right stuff - proper glasses cloths or camera cleaning kit - which should be just as good. It’s been driving me mad that they still look smeary when they’ve just had a good polish!

I might try varifocals again, but I suspect not for a good few years yet. If I reach the point I can’t read a book or the computer with uncorrected vision, I’ll have to think again, but so far, the freedom of not needing glasses to read a book beats any very minor correction they might make. My reading vision isn’t perfect, but it’s good enough not to cause discomfort, so why fix it?

Still, I hope we’ve both made the right choices, and it all works out OK.

I didn’t realise how worried I’ve been about this, and the idea I’d spent a shedload of money on a mistake.



Nobody actually says they make me look younger, it’s more of a negative than a positive thing. I get told I look ‘tired’ or ‘pale’ when I don’t wear my glasses. Obviously I also get the usual patronising ‘you look really well’ comments from time to time, usually from people who don’t know me too well. And often when I’ve been feeling particularly crappy. I just know my eyes look more tired, the shadows are darker and it’s harder to see how tired they look when I wear glasses. And since I can’t be bothered with make up any more, I go for the cover up of specs rather than the totally naked face.

I’m glad you took the VE bull by the horns and got what you wanted back. Ultimately I may have to give up and go back to single vision distance glasses. But I’m going to carry on with the varifocals for now.

It’s tough getting older.


Well Tina, if you don’t try them you’'ll never know, and many people swear by 'em. You’ve had a completely free trial, so well done, even if you did briefly fear you’d spent a shed load of money on something you were never going to use - and I know just how that feeling can gnaw away at you from deep inside.

I see that if you already have a prescription you can now choose frames and order your glasses on line, but I don’t feel much inclined to try that service, I’ll stick to the High Street optician. My late parents used to have a home visit, the complete service, and that seemed to work very well, so I’d do that if necessary.


I dunno, it’s weird. I seem to get stressed about everything these days, and expect people to be unhelpful.

I was alway a bit of a worry bunny. I used to think it was mostly caused by work, and that once I was free of that, it would go away, but it has just attached itself to other things.

It probably doesn’t help that experience teaches us customer service so often is a low priority, so that if you have an issue with goods or services, you’re almost expecting to have a fight on your hands, because it’s so often the way.

And when you know that having to argue for your rights makes you feel ill, it can feel even more daunting to go back and say anything wasn’t right.

It had to be done, though. At that price, I’ll try to get by with them for five years, unless I have really drastic sight changes sooner. And you can’t put up with the wrong thing for five years.

I’m very easily thrown by things, lately. Recently there’s been the doctors all resigning, the trouble with that will I witnessed (saw my neighbour today, and he didn’t mention anything, and neither did I, so I don’t know if he even knows his sister has instructed a solicitor).

Then last week I went deaf for a week - nothing to do with MS, but that’s depressing.

Just seems to be a succession of challenges, lately, even if they’re each quite minor in themselves.