Thursday, November 17, 2016

Can't Adjust to Your New Eyeglass Prescription?

Not only do I suffer from extremely dry eyes,
I also suffer from what's called Chromatic Aberration.

It's a very rare thing, which means I see yellow lines on objects and words when I look through my glasses.  This can be very annoying.  Especially, if you can't find a fix.  Most people with chromatic aberration issues can't use polycarbonate lenses.  This is how I first came to find out there was an issue.  I was about 21 buying my first pair of glasses since getting married.  The only other pair of glasses I had ever owned my parents bought me when I was 14.  My eyes were feeling dry with contacts, so I needed to make the switch.  This was before HD was all the rage.  They talked me into polycarbonate over plastic because my prescription was +3.25 and plastic lenses can be thick.  I was freaking out.  I didn't understand why all the words were underlined in a thick dark yellow.  The corners of objects also had a thick yellow line.  What was going on?

So, I took back the glasses.  The optician said sometimes people can't use polycarbonate.  He didn't explain it any further.  So, I broke my glasses about a year later.  Needed new glasses again.  The optometrist told me to try the polycarbonate lenses again.  That for some reason if your prescription changes so can you tolerance of polycarbonate.  No such luck.  I had to return them for plastic again. 

The next time I needed glasses, I needed a new optometrist.   I made sure to tell the optometrist about my intolerance to polycarbonate.  He said he'd never heard of that before.  He sent me to the optician for glasses and they too had never heard of it.  They recommended special coating.  However, these special coatings brought on the chromatic aberration issues.  I returned them.  So again, I left with the cheap and very thick plastic lenses. 

I had three  pair of glasses before even the plastic lenses weren't working.

Then, tragedy struck.  What am I going to use.  I went to three opticians before any had even heard of an intolerance to polycarbonate lenses.  Which now also includes HD and Plastic.  I am in serious trouble.

The optometrists all say talk to the optician, they will know the best lenses to help you, I just do the exams.  I thought to myself, really I thought that was your job!  You talk to the opticians, and they don't know anything.  None of them have any real training that goes beyond these are thinner and clearer.  And no, they have not heard of an intolerance to polycarbonate lenses. 

Then finally, an optician tells me she has heard of the intolerance it's called chromatic aberration or Color Fringing.  It's very rare, but with all the Lasik surgeries, it's becoming more and more common.  It's the way the light hits the lenses and bends like a prism and I see the yellow.  A better explanation is it's why the sky looks blue.  Mine is natural though, I have never had eye surgery.  Unfortunately, her suggestions didn't help me.

I have been to three opticians who could not help me.  Hundreds of dollars later and I still have no new glasses.  After the second lens don't work, most opticians just think I'm crazy. There is very little on the internet about eye wear chromatic aberration.  If you look on the eye issue websites, there are tons of people who have the same problem as me.  "Help, I see yellow lines!!!"

So, I decided it was time for the big dogs and made an appointment for my dry eyes and chromatic aberration.  Because, I have to figure something out.  I either need new glasses or to fix my dry eyes, so I can wear contacts.  I'd love to get Lasik, but there is a chance the chromatic aberration could come without wearing glasses and with my dry eyes it's just not recommended.  I have been in eye therapy including taking Restasis for over a year, visiting my ophthalmologist every three months.  Honestly, I am no better off then when I started. He even said the opticians are trained to help me with glasses and that I'd have to ask them.  Seriously, what am I paying these trained professionals for.  I have been stuck with ugly outdated glasses for ten years.

This year I have spent hours researching the topic and this is what I found:
  1.  Chromatic Aberration is like being allergic to polycarbonate lenses. It causes color fringing by the way the light passes through the lens.  It is rare and does not affect very many people.
  2. The higher the Abbe Value in the material, the less chromatic aberration.
  3. Plastic CR-39 has the highest Abbe Value and that's why they seem to work the best for chromatic aberration sufferers.
  4. Trivex has the highest Abbe Value in a specialty lens and is thinner than plastic.  Although plastic's Abbe Value is still fair higher, and might be the only option.
  5. Round and oval shaped glasses work the best to fight chromatic aberration.
  6. Smaller frames help control the chromatic aberration.
  7. Have your optometrist check for the accuracy of base curves during your eye exam possibly looking into aspherical curves. This helped me immensely.
  8. Check the streach of the lens.  Some manufacturers are mixing polycarbonate with acrylic to save on cost.
  9. Cleaning chemicals used on the lens prior to applying special coatings such as anti-reflection, scratch resistance, and UV protection can cause chromatic aberration.
  10. Anti Reflective coatings made of zinc alloy are better for chromatic aberration than those made of magnesium fluoride.
  11. Just keep trying different lenses until you find one that works, most eyewear distributers have a guarantee of satisfaction.
  12. If possible, contacts might be a better option for chromatic aberration sufferers.
  13. Eye Surgery could cause chromatic aberration to be a new issue with your eyes.
Some of the most helpful websites I found during my research:
Abbe Value

I hope my story helps you in your chromatic aberration issues.  I wanted to share my story, because I found so many people during research who are suffering from the same thing, without any answers.  My story might give you a starting point or the answer to your chromatic aberration problem.  Talk to your eye care specialist to see what lenses are right for you.  Good Luck!

UPDATE: After many, many different eyeglasses and Optometrist visits I finally found something that made a huge difference.  Base Curve.  Apparently, the stronger and thicker your glasses get the more flat on the front and curved on the back of the lenses they are made.  This causes the feel of looking through glass bottles.  If they adjust the base curve, it helps tremendously.  Mine were adjusted 3.5 and they are so much better.  Learn more about base curves here. This year they adjusted to a 2. My doctor said most people like a 6, some like a 4. But I like a 2. I need progressive now,  so that's an added challenge, ugh!!!

Trying sclera lenses.  Not gonna lie they are expensive.  $1,000 each eye and $1,000 for and evaluation EVERY YEAR!!! I'll update when I get through the trial period. They are huge and hard to get in and out,  lots of practice. Update:Unfortunately,  they did not work for me. 

Ortho K is another option.  These lenses reshape your eye and you only wear them at night.  They are about the same as sclera lenses the first year. But then you can buy retainer lens to maintain and they are cheaper. 

Important Terminology

A medical doctor specializing in issues of the eye.

A individual with a doctorate in optometry specializing in eye exams for eyewear and minor other eye issues.

A person who is "trained" to sell and supply eyewear.

Abbe Value
The number given to describe the amount of chromatic aberration of eyewear lenses.

Base Curve
Refers to the curvature of the lens.

*I am NOT a medical professional. 

Always consult a medical doctor before beginning a new treatment. 

I am just sharing my personal experiences, please do your own research to see if these tips might be helpful to your individual situation.
Every eye is different, and results may vary.
Follow all directions instructed by a medical professional.

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