They’re here! My new specs! For all the world to see! To a point.

Calling all readers with grandma or granddad eyes

And anyone else interested in the hip advancement in vision correction called progressive lenses.

Yesterday I pick up the much anticipated new spectacles with the cool burgundy frames.

The frames I could not like more. Progressives lenses, read on.

I've made the switch from longtime single vision for distance to progressives by force of necessity. Unless the book or label on the bottle of whiskey is 6 inches from my face, I can't see it. This is problematic because I love words and need to understand what I'm reading and writing. The liquor I'll drink regardless.

For anyone unfamiliar with tri-field progressives, they work thusly:

They correct vision at a distance, intermediate and close up. Correct measurements and alignment are crucial to their workability and success. The pupil must fall precisely on the perimeter of the distance range.

Lens above the pupil is for distance. Below the pupil, the lens transitions from midrange to close-up in blended bands that are nonetheless narrow and distinct. Apologies to optometrists around the world for my laymen’s language.

Anyone who wears glasses knows the nausea that accompanies a new prescription (particularly one significant). At once you're astounded at the acuity and clarity and convinced the doctor's mistaken, there's no way your eyes changed that much or you need that much power.

The switch from single vision to progressives is that x 50.

The wooziness from a big 'script change comes as no surprise. The discovery is in the method of seeing! Totally different!

Bless Costco and Maureen; they don’t just slip on the progressives on a newbie and send you off in the world confused and weaving. Oh no!

Along with fitting adjustments is an instructional exercise. A large laminated card is handed to me by the wonderful Maureen. It explains progressives in various sized fonts. I’m instructed to read aloud and in doing so, I'm introduced to how progressives work and how to make them work. I’m a quick study. I grasp the concept and basics immediately. Implementing them in the real world is a matter of practice.

Training completed, I’m launched into the world. Thankfully the aisles at Costco are wide because I’m navigating forward like a drunken sailor with sea legs, arms outstretched and issuing warnings of a new progressives wearer coming through.

I venture over slowly over to Barbara, who btw love the frames! I seem to be doing OK, meaning I'm looking at her in the face while holding myself steady by the pole.

I learn progressives require: (a) shifting the eyes to the subject and (b) angling head and chin according to the spectacle's visual field of distance, midrange or close.

It sounds like a science. It is. Even the slightest deviation in eye, head or chin position alters the visual. The floor can appear to be suddenly rising  if viewed through the close-up field. On the other hand, whereas in the pre-progressives world a turn of the head is sufficient to look at the floor, in progressives it land you looking 3 feet higher at the stack of potato chips.

Not that that happened.

Progressives require learning and practice. They really are a different way of looking, which is why two weeks of wear, without fallback on other systems, are recommended.

I get through the first hour marveling at the acuity in vision and passing through the initial wooziness and disorientation. I seem to be looking people in the face, which is my intent, though I might, with a mere shift, unexpectedly be examining the meat in their basket or the button on a shirt. Practice.

I've mastered crossing Costco and am ready for the next challenge: the drive home. Newbies are recommended to use their old eye wear but I want the exercise plus the trip is short on uncrowded surface streets. Otherwise I'd have not chanced it.

I arrive home, yey! And kick the learning up another notch: cleaning, a fine exercise indeed as it involves multidistances and lots of movement. I do not vacuum the ceiling neither mop the closet so I'm doing well two hours in.

Later I drive at night and in the rain – success! Everyone loves the frames! Even the guys comment and you know how they rarely notice that stuff – no offense and thank you to those who do.

All’s going well, despite the fatigue and slight headache of the new prescription and more so the focus and effort involved!

At night's end, I'm ready for the next big challenge: the lap. This is a crucial one for the many hours I spend there.

I get all set up and situated and find … I can't read it!

Correction: I can — as long as the glasses are shoved as far up the nose as they’ll go, my chin is poised upright just so, my eyes cast down just so through the reading field, the laptop is no farther than x-distance and I keep my head and neck locked in x-position.

I'm not kidding when I say I spend hours experimenting to find what works. In the end, I discover the sweet spot … within a fixed range so narrow that even Gumby would find the contortions stressful.

Let not my experience be a statement about progressives. They're wonderful and terrific if all variables align. In my case, they don't. My case is not exceptional by any means.

So back to the optometrist from  hell. Two visits have been plenty and given this development and the need for further consultations and discussion of options – do I see bifocals perhaps? – I'm going to ask to switch.

In the meantime, I sit gazing at those beautiful specs and frames across the room. I'm sad.

Off I go now. See y'all later. In my monovision contacts.

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