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Ophthalmology & Optometry/Bad distortion / fish eye lense effect with new glasses


I started wearing glasses when I was young and wore them constantly for about six years.  I switched to contacts and wore ONLY contacts for about 6 years after that.  Just recently I decided to get a new set of glasses after all these years.  I purchased a set of large plastic frames with high index lenses.  My RX is -5.25 in both eyes.  It hasn't changed since I wore glasses 6 years ago.

Immediately after putting on my new glasses I noticed a horrible fish eye distortion.  Flat walls or edges of straight desks all look curved and warped.  If I stare at a flat wall it curves away from me on my left and right, also curves away at the top and bottom of my view.  Like I'm staring at a very large ball.

The doctor told me to wear them a few days and let my eyes adjust.  I wore them for four days and nothing changed.  I brought them back and they said since I chose such a large frame and I have a high prescription, I was getting the fish eye effect.  I chose another much smaller set of metal frames and waited 7 days (again) for them to fit them with lenses.  I picked them up yesterday and I am still getting the effect BUT it is a bit less than before.  All though it is still extremely noticeable.

The doctor was not in at the time and the women that worked up front keep telling me its normal and I have to adjust to it.  But I never remembered having any distortion at all when I used to wear glasses.  I feel like they don't understand what I'm trying to explain to them.

My questions are, is this normal? Could it be because of high index lenses (which I didn't have when I was younger)?  Could it be the size of the frames or even the frames at all?  Or did the doctor/lab mess up somewhere two times?  

I spent $289 on these glasses and just got to know if I need a refund to go somewhere else.  Looking at a telephone pole and seeing it curve isn't normal haha.

-Thank you for your time to read this doctor.

Dear Dustin:  Please understand that if the lenses were made correctly, that is with no warpage or optical distortion of the optical properties of the ophthalmic lenses, then adaptation is correct for the either the high index or polycarbonate lens. Because you are highly myopic (nearsighted) and do not wear eyeglasses, just your contact lenses, the visual perception is different with both types of vision correction modalities. This is why, in my practice, I always recommend to all my patients, to wear eyeglasses at least an hour or two each day when they remove their contact lenses, and furthermore perhaps even wearing their eyeglasses 1 day a week while giving their eyes a rest from the contact lenses. Yes smaller frames gives less distortion that larger frames primarily because your lenses are thicker at the edges and thinner in the center. The smaller and rounder frames gives the least amount of optical distortion as a rule.  Also try looking through the center of the lens by pointing your nose toward your visual target and not peering off to the side.  Good luck.

Dr. Ken

Ophthalmology & Optometry

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Any and all questions with regard to ocular ailments, eye diseases as cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, etc , eye and visual sympomatology, eyeglasses, contact lenses, low or subnormal vision, pediatric vision conditions,and special and unique ailments will be discussed.


36 years of clinical experience in opticianry and therapeutic optometry. Still in private practice with special interests in vision conditions, diagnosing and treating ocular ailments, prescibing treatment plans which include medicine, eyeglasses, and contact lenses primarily. Although surgery is not within the realm of my area of expertise, I co-manage many pre and post -op surgical cases which include Lasik and PRK procedures.

New Jersey Society of Optometric Physicians American Optometric Association

B.A.,1968, Hunter College of the City University of New York B.S.,1970, Pennsylvania College of Optometry O.D.,1973, Pennsylvania College of Optometry Therapeutic Pharmaceutical Administration Certification, New Jersey 1992

Awards and Honors
Clinical Efficiency Award, 1973, Pennsylvaania College of Optometry

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