For Eyeglasses

When you pick up new glasses, they may have to be adjusted to fit your face or to allow for differences in the height of your ears. Make sure there is no excessive pressure on your ears or nose, that the frames do not slip down your nose, and that both lenses are the same height and an equal distance from your eyes. And, of course, make sure you can see clearly at a distance and read comfortably.

If the frames start to feel uncomfortable after a few hours, return to your optician or optometrist, explain the problem, and ask for further adjustments. These adjustments should be free.

If the discomfort seems to be caused by the lenses and consists of mild eyestrain or objects appearing closer than normal, wait a few days. Often your eyes and brain need time to adjust to new lenses, even when the prescription is correct and they are properly positioned.

If you suffer substantial discomfort, mild discomfort that persists for more than a few days, dizziness, blurred vision, a tendency to tilt your head when driving or working, or some other strange reaction, return to your practitioner and explain the problem. The practitioner should check the lenses to determine if their actual correction coincides with your prescription. He or she should also check the positioning of the lenses in the frame and the positioning of the frame on your face.

For Contacts

When buying contacts, ask for a sample pair to try out. The practitioner should carefully check their fit on your eyes and how well you see using a standard eye-chart test. Also look left, right, up, and down several times while holding your head in different positions to check their fit. And try blinking, squinting, and closing your eyes several times. If the contacts don’t fit just right, ask to try out other options.

If you’re new to contacts, ask for help on how to insert your new contacts and how to remove them from your eyes, on the adaptation schedule (how long to wear them each day during the first few weeks), and on care and cleaning. Listen carefully, and practice inserting and removing the contacts while the practitioner watches you to make sure you can do it correctly. Ask for a written copy of instructions, and read them right away. Remember, all contacts can cause permanent eye damage if mishandled.

For contacts, you can expect a little discomfort during the adaptation period, particularly with rigid lenses, but you should suffer no real pain. If you do, remove the lenses immediately and return to the practitioner as soon as possible.

Most dispensers will refund some or all of your money if your eyes do not adapt to the contacts within a specified time. A few have a no refund policy but promise to make numerous adjustments, if necessary, to obtain a satisfactory fit. Neither arrangement provides foolproof protection. Dispensers with refund policies may give up quickly if you are hard to fit, and then offer only a partial refund. Promises to make extensive adjustments are not worth much if they are not made skillfully; and, remember, each adjustment will require your time.

Another strategy is to explain your recent problems to a different optometrist or ophthalmologist and have him or her perform another eye examination. This will always incur an additional examination fee, so do it only as a last resort.

Complain If Necessary

Obtaining compensation for your wasted expenditures can be tricky. Will the optometrist or ophthalmologist who wrote the erroneous prescription pay for the new set of lenses? Will the optician who incorrectly filled a correct prescription pay for the second visit you made to an optometrist or ophthalmologist?

If the party at fault refuses a fair settlement, file a complaint. Consumers can contact the Washington State Department of Health at 360-236-4700 for complaints against optometrists or opticians.