Getting the Run Around at the Eye Doctor

I'm hoping someone can help me with this problem. I'm a badly nearsighted contact lens wearer who occasionally wears eyeglasses and who has astigmatism in one eye. Within the past few years, I noticed my ability to see up close in both eyes has decreased, so I bought OTC reading glasses for when I am wearing my contact lenses to tide me over until I went to my next scheduled eye exam.

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At that exam, I mentioned this to the eye doctor and requested bifocal contact lenses. I understand there are two different methods to do this: either I can wear one lens for the nearsightedness and the other for the age-related farsightedness or I can get two lenses with bifocals in each. Needless to say, the eye doctor told me that "my eyes weren't bad enough yet to warrant that" and that I was going to have to wear the OTC reading glasses instead.

When I asked how bad my eyes had to get with the presbyopia before I could get bifocal contacts, she did not really answer my question. So, I went back to the OTC reading glasses. At my next exam, I had a different eye doctor, and I went through the same request with him. I again left the office that day with no bifocals and not a clear answer as to why. I should mention that this is a chain eyeglass/contact lens company where patients see an "independent doctor of optometry" and where patients are more or less just a number. I have been willing to live with that because of their prices. However, I am beginning to wonder if I am getting the run-around at this chain, where I have been a patient for about 28 years.

Does this scenario seem right to those of you contact lens wearers out there? Is there a real LEGITIMATE MEDICAL REASON for denying my request for the bifocal contact lenses? I suspect that they are denying my request because they are probably not easy to adjust to, and they don't want to take a loss on the lenses if I can't wear them, which their return policy states they would do. I'm not sure if this is the case, and I need some advice, please help! Thanks in advance for the replies!
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Tori

November 12, 20080 found this helpful

I called my eye doctor and they said that if a patient were to come in and request bi-focal contacts, that they would order a set for them to try for two weeks. If they adjusted well, and very few people do according to the doctor, they would order them a one month supply for about 3 months to make sure that they would continue to like them. Also, they would check their vision each month before they ordered a new set. After that they would order in 6 month intervals with the vision check at each interval for the next year. After that it would be like them wearing regular contacts with yearly check ups.

Bad part is that they said a lot of insurance companies do not cover the bi-focal lenses and that they do not cover the repeated vision checks.

If you are really interested, I'd call around to a few eye doctors in your area and find out their policy with bi-focal contacts. Good luck

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November 12, 20080 found this helpful

I suggest at your next exam you go to a different eye doc not affiliated with this chain. Better still, go to an ophthalmologist who is an MD and ask her. Any doc who does a refractive exam must, by law, give you the prescription so you can fill it anywhere you choose. It isn't possible for anyone here to definitely answer your ?? Since we don't know your eye situation, but certainly you are entitled to a straight answer from the doc you choose.

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November 12, 20080 found this helpful

Are you talking about "America's Best Contacts & Eyeglasses" by any chance?

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November 12, 20080 found this helpful

I had the same problems, beginning several years ago. I am afraid that the best solution I found was to use contact lenses and the OTC reading glasses. I was told, too, by an independent doctor, that my eyes were not a good case for the bifocal lenses. I have just bought a good pair of no-line bifocal glasses, however, that I love. I still wear my contacts and reading glasses most of the time. I guess it's just a "getting older" thing! ;)

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November 12, 20080 found this helpful

I suspect they're a bit more trouble than what your doc is willing to put into you. One doc tried the 2 different contacts for my near and far problems and when I "still" had not adjusted afer having them in for 10 minutes he said they wouldn't work for me. A couple of years later I went to another doc who said they require about a 2 week trial and then maybe an adjustment or two. So, I suspect your doc isn't willing to go to that trouble.

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November 12, 20080 found this helpful

Sometimes you can get help at Walmart vision. The one in Rome, NY took an hour with my husband and diagnosed his cataracts which were ready for surgery. She recommended a surgeon who is excellent. Several other vision centers had brushed him off saying his glasses were "fine".

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November 12, 20080 found this helpful

I have had bifocal contacts for at least five years and am very pleased with them. They are far superior to the monovision method, which gave me very poor side vision. I had an easy fitting and made only a couple of trips to the eye doctor. My lenses are SofLens Multi-Focal. If you go to the bausch.com site and click on "Bye, bye readers ..." on the lower left corner (scroll down to it) you can print out a coupon for a free trial pair and also click on a link to find a doctor who prescribes them. Of course, you'll have to pay for a fitting, which is more expensive than the lenses. The lens price is quite reasonable - you can check it at lensprice.com. My insurance pays a fixed amount toward any prescription glasses or contacts and lets you choose what you like.

The only problem you might have is your astigmatism, depending how severe it is. I am very near-sighted, with no astigmatism. Good luck!!

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November 14, 20080 found this helpful

Check with your insurance company regarding whether or not they will cover bi-focal lenses. Then go to a good eye doctor, not an inexpensive one. Explain your concerns and see what happens. Even if you cannot adjust to the bi-focal lenses, at least an explanation is better than ignoring you completely. I would seriously consider changing eye doctors.

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November 14, 20080 found this helpful

Hello,

I am an optician in Canada! I would have to see your prescription to say for sure but it does sound like you are getting a run around from your eye doctor! You should definately call around to find someone who will fit them! It can be a bit difficult to find bifocal lenses that will work for you so the doctor may have to try a few different brands or switch to a monovision fit before you find what works! It can take a lot of their time which may be why they arenunwilling to fit them for you!

Hope this helps,

Cara

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November 14, 20080 found this helpful

I strongly suggest you be seen by an Ophthalmologist who is an MD. After 28 years your symptoms seem greater than you should trust to an optometrist. Depending on your diagnosis, your insurance may help with the charges. Eyesight is so extremely important and worth the cost. You are hearing some someone who has macular degeneration.

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December 9, 20080 found this helpful

As an optometrist, I can assure you that your problem is a very common one. I am not a fan of multifocal lenses because they require compromise (and I want my patients to have perfect vision). Rarely do they provide good vision at both distance and near so the patient must decide which is most important for their needs. There are several brands of multifocals and not every lens works for every patient, which may translate into several visits.

The adjustment period varies from patient to patient--some adjust immediately, some take 2 weeks. As for the suggestion that you see an ophthalmologist, that's great if you need surgery but I don't know any ophthalmologists who fit contact lenses--they are surgeons. I recommend that you ask around and find a patient optometrist who will be honest with you but still take the time needed to get the best vision possible with the lenses you'd like to try. There are some out there! I wish you 20/20 at distance and near:-)!

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April 5, 20120 found this helpful

Bifocal contact lenses do not work well. Very few people are happy with their vision after being fitted. There is lots of time and lots of your money spent. We have tried to please the patient and the Ophthalmologist, going thru Many pairs of lenses and many visits. If you end up with no lenses you want your money back, the Ophthalmologist wants his time and expense covered. It is a no win...they don't work well and both parties end up unhappy in lots of cases. Been doing this for 35+ years.

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