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Headaches after obtaining new glasses (not a new Rx)
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Headaches after obtaining new glasses (not a new Rx)

I am a 28 year old male, and I have worn glasses and contacts for about the last 16 years. I almost exclusively wear my glasses, though - due to eye allergies I rarely wear my contacts more than once or twice a month. My current glasses prescription (-2.50 left eye, -3.25 right eye) has not changed since 2003. I wore the same pair of glasses using this prescription since 2003 until very recently. I have regularly seen the same optometrist every year since I was a child.

Late last year the frame on my old pair of glasses was damaged, and I decided to pick up some new glasses. I had had my regular eye checkup a few months earlier and everything checked out, my vision was the same, etc. So in January I went to a nearby Lenscrafters, bringing my old glasses. Lenscrafters used their machine to take the prescription off my old lenses and used it to make two new pairs of glasses for me (two different style frames). Unfortunately, I did not anticipate any problems after getting my two new pairs of glasses, and I threw out my old pair with the damaged frame.

Within a week of wearing the two new pairs of glasses, I began experiencing pretty severe headaches, and a general ache in my eyes. It seemed to happen equally with either pair of the new glasses. Mostly the headaches would occur when focusing on something stationary for a while (computer screen, reading, etc.), although they did occur in general to a lesser extent. I do work approximately 8 hours a day on a computer, however I worked in this same manner for several years prior to this without any issues. I spoke to my optometrist and she said that sometimes even though the prescription may not be different, it may take my eyes a while to get used to the new glasses.

After about 2 months the issues did not subside. I visited my eye doctor and she did some tests. She found that in both pairs of my new glasses, the prescription was slightly stronger by 1/4 diopter in each eye (-2.75 left eye, -3.50 right eye). She said that it was a very slight difference and that most people would not be affected by it, but then she did a test (I am unsure of what it is called) where I look at the eye chart with half the letters covered by a red light and half covered with a green light. She asks if one side is clearer than the other or if they are the same. In both eyes with both glasses, the green side was more clear, and she said this indicated that the slight increase in prescription was affecting me.

With this information I took these two pairs of glasses back to Lenscrafters and pointed out that they had given me a slightly incorrect prescription. They refitted the glasses with the correct prescription lenses. I had hoped this would alleviate the headaches and eye pain, but it has still continued since then. It really feels like there is a pulling sensation on my eyes when I focus on something, and it almost feels like my eyes would be more relaxed if I were cross-eyed. I called and followed up with my optometrist again but she didn't really offer any additional help. She seemed to think that if the prescription was correct, then it could not be my glasses. I have a hard time believing that, considering that I had never had these issues before and they started almost overnight once I started wearing these two new pairs of glasses.

I have noticed that if I wear one pair for a few days in a row, and then switch to the other pair, it is worse on the day I switch (though no matter how many days in a row I wear one pair, I still experience pain). The two pairs of glasses are slightly differently shaped (one is more rectangular, one more oval). I'm not sure if this could be part of the issue.

I'm really at the end of my rope here, and my optometrist seemed somewhat disinterested the last time I asked about it. I could really use a second opinion. Do you have any idea what could be causing these issues? Is there some possible issue with my glasses that may not have to do with prescription strength that could be causing eye strain and headaches?

Thank you in advance!
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13 Comments Post a Comment
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233488_tn?1310696703
Lenscrafters usually has a 30 day money back guarentee. If they do ask for your money back. Otherwise I suspect you're stuck.

JCHMD
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Avatar_m_tn
Thank you for the advice - though I wasn't trying to find out if I could get a refund on the glasses, but rather what could be causing these issues.
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233488_tn?1310696703
1. The glasses may not be the right RX for you 2. The glasses may not be made properly 3. you may not be able to adjust to the proper RX in which case the strength of the glasses may need to be dialed back.

This is what you pay your "eye doctor" to help you work out.

JCH MD
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Avatar_m_tn
I am aware of what I pay my optometrist for. As you can see from my above description, I have been in thorough communication with her in regards to this issue. I have posted to this website in hopes that someone may be able to offer me a helpful second opinion.

As I said above, the glasses have been adjusted to the correct prescription and I am continuing to suffer the same degree of eye pain and headaches. My optometrist confirmed that the glasses had been corrected in my follow up visit and has also confirmed that my eye sight remains the same as it was 6 years ago - no better, no worse. Therefore, I would think that one could rule out possibilities 1 and 3.

Assuming that the glasses were not made properly, Is there any way of checking this? Is there a specific flaw that could cause the symptoms I'm experiencing despite the glasses being the correct prescription?
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233488_tn?1310696703
In every pair of glasses there are many variables (size, shape, lens materials, lens coatings, alignment in visual axis, tilt of optic, base curve of lens to name only a few).

Think of it this way. At home most of us have a closet full of shoes that are supposedly all the same size (for me size 11) but they all feel different. Some are very comfortable, some are very uncomfortable, but all size 11.. Glasses   same deal

I don't think I can help you beyond these insights.

JCH MD
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Avatar_m_tn
Ok I think I do understand and I appreciate the help. Maybe I will try taking the same frames and having new lenses made at a different eye care store.
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233488_tn?1310696703
good luck
JCH MD
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Avatar_n_tn
You should have lenscrafters check the pupillary distance of your eyes and the glasses.  If the center of the lenses in the glasses are not lined up with your pupils, this could induce prism...causing you to strain your eyes.

Also, have lenscrafters check the base curve of your old lenses and compare that to the new ones.  The base curve should be consistant among the same strength of lenses, but I know that at a lot of "one hour opticals" they will make base curve changes because they don't have yours in stock...but they don't want to lose a sale.

Another possiblity is the material the lens is made of....if they switched you from another type of plastic to polycarbonate this may cause problems.

Lastly...next time just get your spectacles at the optometrist's office where you got the exam!  I'm an optometrist and in these situations all the doctor can do is check your refraction and the power of the lenses...otherwise you have to keep going back to lenscrafters.
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Avatar_m_tn
Thanks Daniel, I appreciate the input. I've been researching on different websites and it seems, as you've said, that base curve, pupillary distance, and lens material have been the most frequently suggested culprits.

It's a frustrating situation to be in, because unfortunately I don't have the old lenses anymore, so I can't have Lenscrafters (or anybody for that matter) check what traits my old lenses had. I even requested my records from Pearle Vision, which is where I had gotten the old lenses years ago, but they don't have my records going back that far anymore. This leaves me a bit stuck as far as being able to find out what my previous base curve, lens material, etc. was.

One thing I'm unsure of is if there is a way to determine what my "proper" base curve should be without checking my old lenses. Is this something that can be determined by, say, examining the eye, or is this something that is more, "if the lenses feel comfortable than it is correct?"

Since I've been researching this issue, many people have suggested next time that I obtain my glasses from my Optometrist. This is really a new piece of information for me - for my entire life, my "eye doctor" has been the same Ophthalmologist. She does not provide glasses (I don't think Ophthalmologists in general do), but she has never advised me to specifically see an Optometrist to obtain glasses or contacts. I am really disappointed in her service the more I hear about the things she should have been advising me of, and I am considering not returning to her in the future.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi,

Interesting post.
Seems to help explain a problem a friend has been having with glasses.
Hope you find an optometrist you can trust and get all your glasses parameters  properly adjusted.

Best wishes,
Sophia
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Avatar_n_tn
There is a chart that lets the optician know which base curve is most appropriate for the power of the lens. Its standard across the industry.  You can have Lenscrafters measure it for you using a 'lens clock'...a small instrument with a gauge that they press against the surface of the lens.  They can then compare that reading to the standard.
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Avatar_m_tn
I see, that bit of info actually helps quite a bit. Of course the more I know before I go back to Lenscrafters, the better equipped I can be to discover any error they may have made. I have not consciously noticed any sort of prism effect or distortion, even when I first put on these new glasses. But I suppose even a small difference could cause strain on the eye and maybe not be visually noticeable.

In that same reasoning then, I am wondering what the normal procedure for determining the pupillary distance is. Both times when I went there, they simply accepted my Rx, and then later that day gave me the glasses. They did not examine my eyes in any way. Does that sound normal, or would you say it's usually standard practice to check on a client's pupillary distance as part of a visit for new glasses? Or, again, would this be something they would typically only look into if I reported a problem? I am having a hard time remembering what occurred the last time I got new glasses, because that was about 6 years ago.
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Avatar_m_tn
Hi, I was just wondering if you found a solution to the issue you were having with your eyeglasses. I am experiencing the same symptoms. Can you please tell me how you resolved it?
Thanks,
Angelo
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