Without glasses for ten days :(

Well, I’ve done a really stupid thing. Actually, a couple of stupid things, and the net result is I’m going to have to live without glasses for ten days.

Last night, I broke my only pair (yeah, I know I should have had a spare, but I didn’t).

Because I only need my glasses for distance, I take them off for close work - which means they spend a lot of time on top of my head when I’m not needing them.

Last night - not for the first time - they got tangled in my thick, unruly hair. Instead of carefully unravelling it, I got in a temper, and just tugged. The hair was fine - the glasses weren’t. The frames didn’t snap, but the actual lens - clearly beyond repair.

Then the second mistake. I haven’t had my eyes tested since being diagnosed with MS. I’ve also had an intermittent problem with an inflamed eye, which might or might not be related, but nobody seems to be able to get to the bottom of.

Rememering past discussions here, I thought: “Aha. My eyecare needs are getting more complex. Maybe I need to see a more traditional optician, who takes a bit more time and trouble, and not go back to Vision Express, who are not really interested in ‘non-mainstream’ sight problems.”

So, I went to a small local optician. Explained I broke my glasses, but also about the MS and the recurrent sore eye problem, to see if he had any words of wisdom about that.

Well, to be fair, he was a nice, personable young chap, but his knowledge of MS seemed to be zero. All he said was: “We can’t do anything about it”.

“Well yes, I know, but I thought I’d tell you, in case you could detect anything unusual during the examination. I thought you might need to know I had MS?”

Then he embarked on a complex description of symptoms I didn’t feel I could relate to. Evidently he had at least grasped MS is a variable condition, but he seemed to expect my eyesight would be better and worse on different days, which I haven’t found to be the case - probably because I’ve never had optic neuritis, that I know of - and still haven’t today, according to his examination.

I’m not sure if this “expecting” my vision to fluctuate, when I can’t really say it’s been my experience, was just misguided, or an attempt to sell me more (or more expensive) glasses.

He tried to make out (well, that’s my interpretation, anyway) that although I’d not been experiencing any problems reading, because I have MS, I ought to have reading glasses or varifocals, because my eyes would get tired more easily. WHAT? My preferred way of reading is without glasses at all - I don’t want damn varifocals or separate reading glasses, when the only problems I have are with distance, and I can see better than most, at close quarters. Why the heck would I want glasses for activities that don’t currently require them, just because I have MS?

So I refused reading glasses, and definitely refused the varifocals. I’ve heard they can be quite tricky to get used to, and why bother, when you’re perfectly comfortable without?

Anyway, all that aside, a much more rudimentary test than at Vision Express, and he just shrugged when asked about the bouts of inflammation, and said he’d no idea what that’s all about (in common with everyone else!)

Then the real killer: after spending an age in the shop, trying every conceivable frame, and eventually settling on a main AND a spare, this time, I was told: “That will take about ten days then. I’ll mark it as urgent, and they might be through a bit quicker.”

So, ten days without glasses. During the Olympics.

I can’t watch them (or anything) on TV at all. I can just about watch on streaming video, on a tablet, because you can hold it a lot closer. But worse than that, in ten days’ time, I’m expecting to set off for the real Olympics, for the closing ceremony. So it’s touch-and-go whether I’ll get my new glasses in time, and if not, it will be a complete waste of time, as I won’t be able to see a thing.

So annoyed, as I knew it wasn’t an “express” service, and I knew I wasn’t obliged to buy glasses at the same outfit that did the prescription. I could have taken my 'scrip and gone back to Vision Express, who would have done it in two hours. I just thought that as I was in a bit of a spot, it would most sensible to go ahead and get the whole lot done at once. I knew they wouldn’t have anything for me the same day, but I didn’t expect them to say 10 days!

I nearly fell over! Not that that’s difficult, these days. I still could have walked out of the shop, and said: “I’ll take it elsewhere, thank you, if you can’t do it any quicker than that.”. VE would have had a much bigger choice of frames, too. But stupidly, I just said, sadly: “Oh, OK then”, and paid half the money up-front. Which means I can’t now ring up and cancel the order, and go to VE instead. I did tell them I’m setting off for the Olympics in 10 days, which won’t be much fun without glasses, so hopefully something will turn up before then.

In the meantime, I’m blind as far as any distance work is concerned, and totally peed off. 10 days is an awfully long time to be stuck with no glasses at all - not even an old pair. I don’t always wear them around the house anyway, but not to be able to watch telly at all is a nightmare, especially as I was laid off only last week, and had particularly wanted to relax and enjoy the Olympics.


Anyway, the only good news is that apart from my vision being pretty cr@p, which I always knew anyway (mine is cr@p, my father’s was cr@p, my brother’s and sister’s are both cr@p) there are no signs of any problems specific to MS. I wish I’d never even mentioned it now, as it just seems to have been used as an excuse to try to flog me reading glasses I didn’t really need, on the assumption I’d get “more tired”. At least I stood firm on that one!


That’s horrible to be without for 10 days,hopefully they will be ready before then. Just a thought, have you tried contacts? I wear them for distance and have specs as my “spare”. You could always go into a high street optician and say you are considering contacts lens and they often give you a free weeks trial so they could be a back up.

Good luck and enjoy the closing ceremony,I’m sure it will be brill and I think Take That are performing!


Tina, I find that having a more complex prescription, I am extremely short sighted it always takes longer for lenses/glasses to be ready because of the way they have to grind the lenses. And its not unusual for those of us with poor distance vision to find that our near vision improves as we age (I am looking forward to this as then i might not fall asleep in bed with my glasses on and bend them out of shape).

Your intermittent inflammation sounds like episcleritis, which can be self limiting, its one of those eye conditions that can be linked with autoimmune disorders. Next time you get the inflammation see your GP and make sure he gets you to see the eye casualty on the same day and they will be able to diagnose. You’ll probably end up with some steroid eye drops.

Hello, Thanks for your replies. To cheat, and answer both at once, I would love to wear contacts, but fear I couldn’t, because of the recurrent episodes of inflammation. I think contacts are probably a no-no for anyone already prone to sore, irritated eyes, as they may make things worse. I am already on steroid drops, and yes, I agree it’s probably some sort of immune thing. It’s worsened over the years, in my opinion, during the same timescale I’ve developed and been diagnosed with MS. So too much of a coincidence for my liking. But nobody medical seems to accept, or even suspect the two are related, despite my raising this. I’ve been lab-tested more than once for infection, which showed my eye showed LESS bacterial activity than most people’s. On one occasion, an opthalmologist was so confident it was an atypical presentation of chlamydia (Yuck!) that he put me on oral antibiotics, without even waiting for the test result. Well, guess what, the antibiotics didn’t work, and no, I DON’T have chlamydia, which I’d never seriously thought I did, but you go along with it, don’t you, because you think they know best? Every time it happens again - those times it drags on enough for me to go to the doctor’s that is - we start again down the “infection” route, and I have to point out that no, we’ve been through all this before, remember? And it wasn’t an infection! I know off by heart now, that the antibiotics aren’t going to work, and we need to skip straight to the steroids. My doc prescribes these only reluctantly, and I know you can’t use them indefinitely, but they’re the only thing that touches it at all. Everything else is a waste of time. My doc concedes issues like this are sometimes linked to auto-immune disease, but not to MS, according to her. I’ve had complete rheumatology screening - twice - en route to my MS Dx. All clear for lupus, RA and other nasties in the rheumatology spectrum. So looks like it will never be explained, and I just have to live with it, and go running back for more steroids when it gets really bad. It’s starting to depress me more than some of the more classic MS symptoms, because it’s only minor in its way, but so damn demoralising, when you keep having a sore eye. It also damages my confidence, because it’s very visible, and makes me feel it’s no longer possible to look nice. The pain and fatigue, at least nobody can see. I can literally put on a brave face. But a puffy, streaming eye is impossible to disguise. T. x