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Opthalmic Prescription


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I wonder if somebody can help?

Some months ago, both Mrs G & I had eyetests done since 5 years had passed since last time and both of us felt in need of stronger specs. This has been particularly true for Mrs G - she has no sight at all in her right eye and she has felt an increasing need to use a magnifying glass in addition to her specs in order to read a magazine!

We went to the dispensing optician to have the glasses made up - for her, its a plain glass job on one side. The problem is that from the moment we arrived home she said that there was no improvement whatsoever. Hmmmmm.

After a bit of a search, I've managed to find the old prescription, but although its undoubtedly quite simple, I can't decipher the difference. Essentially, is the new prescription stronger or not?

Old prescription. -0,25 add 2.50

New prescription. +0.50 (-0.50) 110degrees. Addition 2.25

Any help much appreciated. BTW, mine are great!
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Something looks very suspicious with the vision going from short to long sighted, or maybe its vice versa as I cant read the posting while responding.


Usually eyes go in one direction and get progressively worse so a +.25 will become a +.5 then a +.75 etc.

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 I used to be short sighted when I was in my late teens

Then in my mid thirties, I did not need glasses at all.

Then in my early fifties I needed glasses for mild, short and long sightedness.

My last few prescriptions have been getting a little stronger.


the last one said that I was no longer short sighted, but needed a

stronger prescription for long site. So I can now see to drive, but I

cannot read the dashboard without my glasses.

Eyes, as the muscle

hardens with age, affect everyone in different ways. That is what

happened to me, and I'm sure everyone will have a different story.
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I don't think it's quite as simple as that ... I wore strong [myopic] glasses for 60 years until I had my cataracts removed 3 years ago, some of you might rememberr my posting about it.

Over those 60 years my eyes, though always short sighted, changed up and down quite a lot ... and even earlier this year, when I had them tested again, though usually after cataracts the eyes don't change much, the astigmatism has ...

Whilst I accept that it is unlikely to move from slightly short sight to slightly long site, it is possible, and it is also possible that this is some sort of adjustment for reading. 

There was an optician posted on here in the past, maybe he still is around ...

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Be aware that while the end measure is the same the UK denomination is the inverse of the continental.  Er if standard in Uk is 10 and measure is -4 the continental measure would be 6.

Not 100% how it works but if I take a uk prescription to a dispenser here thats the sense of their transnslation.


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I disagree, the prescriptions and ordonnances are identical, follow the same format and use the same units, I am looking right now at ones from Boots UK and my French opthalmogist.


I was wrong earlier when I said that the short or long sigtedness gets worse, I have one short sighted eye (artifical lens after a catarcat op) and one long sighted one, they are both moving in the same direction (+ve) progressively more long sighted.


The "add" figure is the correction for close reading, it is normal for this to start after the age of 44 and to increase thereafter.


Whilst my opthalmos are clinically very good their patient skills especially the ability to listen are lacking, furthermore the eye tests are always carried out by internes or even stagaires and they just sign them off, twice I have had to take them to task for giving me a completely incorrect prescription, luckily I didnt pay out for glasses using it.


For eye tests and even diagnosis of glaucoma etc I have much more faith in Boots opticians that the French opthalmogist, also I can just walk in for a test and not have to wait 9 months, for clinical care and operations the French eye hospital is much better then the Brighton eye hospital.

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A few years ago in France I not only could see no better with the new specs but actually worse! I went back to the dispensing shop, they said "no problem - the Opthalmo says no actual problem with eyes so we will re-do the lenses so that they are correct"! Thy tried (with a machine) several strengths of lens and we agreed the right "correction". Problem solved. I am astigmatic and long sighted. I read a lot and do patchwork so need to be able to see properly.

Since this experience, which though settled Ok was annoying, we have used Specsavers when in the UK for our yearly short trip and they post the specs to us. Perfect.  We just pay the (small) eye test fee.

Mrs H

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Thank you very much everybody for all your help.

Nomoss' link to Specsavers website highlighted what is almost certainly the problem - the 'addition' is insufficient (in fact lower than before), thus no better.

Mrs H's post above though is great. So the plan is to go back to the dispensing optician, explain that it wasn't their fault, but is there any way they can help? Failing that, but perhaps additionally, go to Specsavers when we're back in the UK at Christmas and get them to start again. Posting the specs on would be fine.

Thanks again.
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Following routine eye test at my local Boots (previously Dolland and Aitchison) they recommended new glasses. There was hardly any difference in the prescription (their words) but old glasses wearing out so I decided to go ahead and order new one ones.

When I received the new ones they were awful, so distorted I could hardly see. I was advised that I would soon adapt to them[blink][blink].

After several return visits to complain they did the test again, looked carefully at new glasses and found right lens had been put in left side and vice-versa!!!

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 In my bit of the UK it costs £20 for an eye test........ and the depassement d'honoraire that my opthalmo asked for in France and not reimbursed by my mutuelle was getting on for that amount.

Also, depending on which frames one wants, it is often possible to get the new glasses in a day, even an hour...... and if I have wanted something different....I have only had to wait a few days sometimes, that is all.

A friend from France got their test and two pair of specs the same day last time they were back, and that was in London.

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Idun, it depends more on the lens than the frame ... until I got my wonderful new eyes, whether it was the ordinary myopic lens, or the varifocals in later life,  I always waited at least a week to 10 days, and longer sometimes.  Simple lenses can be done quickly, more complex ones, not.

I do speak with some experience here - as I wore complex lenses for 60 years, and even now, with my improved eyes, the varifocals took at least a week.

Having said that, it also depends on what / which laboratory they use, and what their turnaround is. Still the premise that complex lens take some time is generally true.

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I would definitely suggest hesitating about having an eye test at Specsavers and having glasses posted on in case of problems with them. My husband and I had eye tests at a local branch a year last summer. My glasses have more complex lenses than my husband's, but mine turned out far better than his, and we both have varifocals.

He had to return to Specsavers quite a number of times as the glasses just weren't right. He had to go in for 2 or 3 complete changes of lenses and also went in for many tweaks to make them fit right. All this took quite a lot of time, several weeks.

I put it down to the skill of the person who did the original measuring and comparison of our glasses/lenses; the young woman I had was just more skilled than the chap my husband had. But it's the luck of the draw.

We both had Specsavers' ''made to measure'' lenses, which are their top of the range. All the staff we came across for the actual measuring and fitting were very pleasant and helpful, most just couldn't sort out the lenses for my husband.

We went back to our usual optician a year later and could have paid double (maybe more) than at Specsavers, but felt happier with what we have now. In fact, I had my prescription put into my Specsavers frames, which the optician said were good frames. I prefer the bigger variation (graduation) in the lenses available from the makers that our optician uses. I think my current lenses are Zeiss, which is what I definitely had there previously.

I must add that my husband bought his current hearing aids from Specsavers, having become fed up with his NHS aids. He compared Specsavers, Boots and our usual opticians, who also dispense hearing aids. He was very tempted to have them from our usual opticians, but having done a lot of research on the Internet he knew pretty much the brands he wanted and Specsavers were over £1000 cheaper for the identical hearing aids. The 3 months refund offer if not entirely satisfied was the cherry on the cake. In fact, he had a problem with them while in France which would have meant being over the 3 months by the time we went back, but the woman squared it with the manufacturers as we were out if the country. Excellent product and excellent service.
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I have never used Specsavers, I took a prescription in there and asked how much they would charge for the glasses I wanted and they were very expensive. I pay about half the price at a local opticians, shopping around is the only way to do it as far as I am concerned.

And that is easy....... once that prescription is in one's hands, one can go and try frames on and ask just how much they would cost made up to one's specification.

My frames, well, I have a big head, so sometimes it is getting hold of the frames for me, but I have only had to wait a few days nevertheless, rather than the lenses.

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  • 2 months later...
Well, it all worked out very well with Specsavers (GG - probably your local one in the UK!)

We made an appointment by phone from here in France on the 14th Dec - date given was Mon 21st. Duly fetched up and the Opthalmologist did a thorough eye test on Mrs G. She very discreetly said that in her professional opinion, the French opothalmo had got it wrong. She also said that what was really needed was a pair of varifocals and a pair of 'dedicated' reading glasses. It should have been obvious to us, but there you go.

With the Christmas break, we had no expectation whatsoever of the glasses being ready before we left the area on Sat 2nd Jan, but were quite relaxed because we knew that we'd be back sometime in the next few weeks (terminally ill family member).

We had a call on Weds 30th Dec to say that the glasses were ready for fitting. By any calculation, that's a 4-5 day turnround.

Mrs G is delighted, not only with the specs, but with the quality and speed of service. I've emailed their Customer Service people to tell them just that.
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Glad to hear that it all turned out so well for Mrs G, Gardian.

My husband went to our opticians on 2nd January for new glasses. He was told they would be 2 weeks, which would have just taken it past the date of our return to France. However, he had a call on 8th to say they were ready and collected them on 9th. Absolutely fine, no problems like he had with Specsavers. However, they did cost over £600 - just for lenses, as he copied me and had them fitted into his old frames.
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