Life With Trifocals

February 21, 2008

After a week of wearing trifocals I have come to some conclusions.

They are better than progressive lenses for me.  The blurred, fun-house-mirror effect the progressive lenses had is not present at all with trifocals.  This isn’t to say that there isn’t some adjustment required.  When I got my first set of bifocals in May 2003, I experienced some adjustment.  At that time I remarked,

...all I can see are these two areas of different focus bobbing up and down in front of me. It is very distracting. The worst part, so far, is finding a new head position for things. It seems like the line between short and far is always getting in the way....

I would agree with that earlier incarnation of me, and add that having two lines in one’s field of view is even more distracting.  That my posting from five years ago echos some of my thoughts today, comforts me.  Especially in light of my memory of bifocals.  I remembered them fondly (if one can think of glasses fondly).  With some time and patience I think the lines on these lenses will disappear too.

Having three focal ranges is nice, extra lines notwithstanding.  I can read the syringe markings for Nekko insulin clearly and easily for the first time.  Reading in bed is enjoyable once more.  I can print documents at work two-to-a-page, and read the result.   The intermediate range works fairly well for my desktop workstation at work.  I can see the text clearly again.  The height of the intermediate range isn’t quite tall enough to see the entire screen without tilting my head a bit.  This makes me aware of the lines above and below that portion of the lens.  Hopefully my conscious awareness of those lines will fade over time.  There is even some added sharpness at distance, although it is slight enough that I can get by without my glasses for activities like driving.

Several years ago I tried a pair of lenses that had anti-glare coating on both sides.  At the time I cleaned my glasses rather haphazardly, usually with the pad of my finger to brush away the large bits of debris on the lens.  This fingertip cleaning method caused huge smears and smudges on the glare coating.  I took the glasses back and had the coating removed.  I was offered glare coating again with these glasses and turned them down, remember my earlier experience.

Now that I’ve had the glasses for a week I wonder if the glare coating will help to minimize my awareness of the lines between the different focal areas.  I have only touched the lenses once or twice so far, in an attempt to learn to use the little micro-fiber cloth instead.  If I can learn this habit I will opt for the anti-glare coating on my next lenses.

To sum up my experience so far, if you can’t abide the blurry effects of progressive lenses, go for the trifocals.  I think you like them.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.