Hi, high myope (-8 plus astigmatism) here, I wonder about the experience from other higher myopes, related to chosen lens material and glasses size. I recently put on some of my old glasses, that’s why I created this post. My experience so far:
I was a contact lens wearer for almost half a decade, then started to work on screens for a long time so I switched back to glasses.
As usual with that prescription, recommendations given by opticians are:
- chose a small frame
- opt in for a high index
Did it like this, started to wear those glasses and noticed of course a lot of not corrected areas in my visual field, some distortion on the edges compared to contacts.
I still wore those for quite a few years and got used to it, then wanted to buy some sunglasses with prescriptions. I always liked Aviators, so I chose some regular Ray Ban Aviators. I had to convince the opticians to do it, because they were afraid of lens thickness. Opted in for high index 1.74 aspheric transitions and paid almost a fortune. Lenses were thick of course but peripheral vision was much better compared to other glasses, but recognized a lot of color aberrations.This is when you look on your side and red/blue/yellow is off from objects, especially noticeable when looking at street signs while driving. Of course you get used to it after a while.
Then I found a more appealing Aviator frame (not Ray Ban), original vintage from the 70s or 80s, a bit smaller and with a bit wider wires and wider temples than nowadays wire-type glasses. I expected this would make the thicker lenses a bit less visible (not invisible, but matching better together basically)
Put it to the optician, as per recommendation opted in for 1.67 aspheric transitions, paid a fortune again. After 1 year, the coating was full of scratches. Got the same pair again from ebay and reframed them with high index 1.8 mineral glasses, not transitions, to be much scratch resistant. In the meantime, I started to inform myself about lens material on the web, aside from what opticians are telling you in the store about lens thickness/weight.
As I missed the transitions in my glasses, I looked for mineral transition lenses, and realized they are only available with a lower 1.6 index. I thought I’m gonna give them a try and get them into the aviator frames and was surprised by the awesome peripheral vision. Never experienced it before with any other type of lens material or glasses style. Only few distortions and almost no color aberrations. I have worn them now for a couple of years and still think they provide me the best view ever from any kind of glasses that I had. And also better than with contacts due to my astigmatism.
To summarize, I went from
- small frame to large frame, which increased my peripheral view a lot
- high index plastic to lower index mineral lenses, which reduced distortion and color aberration in the larger peripheral view.
I did exactly the opposite of what all opticians recommended to me and I often had to insist on what I wanted. I recently wore my old smaller frames and I was shocked how much peripheral vision I am missing. It feels like 50% is just a blur compared to now. And compared to high index those additional 50% are much clearer and less distorted. But I would never be aware of it, if I would have never tried.
Of course, there are some other aspects worth to mention
- Lenses are quite thick, of course, almost 10 mm on the outer edge, with the frame itself being about 3 mm wide. But I don’t get the point by reducing 2-4 mm of lens thickness, and losing about 50% of your visual field. At this level of prescription, you get thicker lenses anyway and the minification of the eyes is always there. Any type of glasses will look different if you put the lenses into them, that’s just what I have experienced ever since my prescription came to a certain level.
- Mineral lenses are heavier, yes, but if the temples / nosepads are fitted properly, you will not notice it.
- Because they are mineral transitions, they have a slight tint, even when cleared up. But to be honest, since I wear them, I no longer feel weird when going inside and my lenses are still tinted. I just don’t notice the move from dark to clear and vice versa anymore, whereas with other transitions before I always felt the first few minutes completely weird, by wearing sunglasses inside.
- The 1.6 mineral transitions lenses were about 50% cheaper than the 1.74 high index plastic transitions
I know it’s not for everyone, some people don’t like larger frames and are picky about the lens thickness, and the transitions variant is definitely not for all. But personally I don’t care anymore about the thickness, as you get used to it, the same applies for people around you. That's just how strong glasses look like in the end, it's physics.
I never got informed by opticians about the details on the specific lens material (like abbe value) and peripheral vision impact. Why do they convice you, that you should hide that you are very shortsighted and in the end you get glasses with all the disadvantages of a reduced field of view? Although it's not the center vision, it still improves quality if vision a lot. In my opinion, this should be openly discussed about what the client is looking for, giving pros and cons. For some it’s an issue, for others not. Of course, if you give high myopic clients smaller frames with high index lenses, they will not notice the higher aberrations / distortion and lenses will look thinner. But they will also lose a lot of their peripheral vision. You get used to it, especially if you have never worn contacts before, but glasses are to me still some kind of medical device, which should provide you the best vision you can get.
So I am curious if someone had similar experiences when asking for a larger frame and lower index, which ended up having a better vision quality than before.