“Crazing”

The glasses in this stolen image look remarkably like my own, except for the lenses.. (and interestingly this image vanished only minutes after I found it). Clicking will take you to the source, however.

So I’ve been having a little trouble seeing lately.

I believe it’s just my glasses. With my corrective-lens sunglasses I see perfectly well, and I’ve been noticing what looked like scratches or smears on the lenses of my regular glasses getting worse these past many weeks. I figured they couldn’t be scratches because I had seriously tried to take extremely good care of these lenses—using only a soft cloth to wipe them, never abrasive kleenex—and usually just water or mild lens cleaner. I have always gone—at least for most of my life—with plastic, safety lenses (you wouldn’t believe how much my head and therefore glasses get knocked around building sets, aiming lights, and generally living my life), which don’t shatter and are much lighter in the frames.

Finally, as the problem has grown visibly worse (or probably I should say “ less visibly” except for the visibility of the scratches), on my way home from lunch with Janet last Wednesday, I went to my local optometrist to see what the glasses expert had to say. I was relieved to discover I had done nothing wrong, but disappointed to discover that my lenses were “breaking down,” from the inside as she told me. I learned it’s an unfortunate issue known a “crazing.” And there’s nothing that can be done about it: my glasses, at five years of age, are simply too old to repair; it’s a kind of natural process. Really? It’s never happened before.

So it’s time to do a little research. A quick Google search turned plentiful results, as always—at least 196,000 possible sources of information. As always with everyone using Google, I clicked on the first several and learned a few things. My first source was an inside-the-industry document. Go ahead click the link, take a look. —Back already? It doesn’t say much except to contradict the location of the “minute scratches.” The problem does seem to be specific to my kind of lens, the AR lens. So let’s see what another source says. Also within the industry, possibly even in Canada, but it hinted further information: heat appears to be a problem with coated plastic lenses, according to one of those posts a little further down that page even as little as 130°F. As the poster suggests, don’t leave your glasses in a car on a summer day. Still no real help for me either. So now we’re on to Yahoo Answers. Likewise, not much help.  Number four takes us back inside the industry, but focuses on crazing in the process of lens creation. However, wait! Our fifth source provides some real information and what my optometrist expert did not—a possible solution. (Apparently my optometrist wasn’t about to try to get the coating redone; these are, of course, the same people who missed Janet’s separating retina until the day immediate surgery was required a year ago.) And so on. I won’t bore you with everything I looked through; you can try your own search yourself (and pass the information you might get onto me, if you learn more than I have, please).

I did learn that crazing affects camera lenses, really pretty obviously, but also ceramics and tiles and acrylics in general. In fact the term may have started with the tile industry. All very interesting, but not much help to me. I did learn that UV radiation can cause crazing, which may explain why my sunglasses have not crazed. I also learned that dropping acrylics can craze them; since my sunglasses don’t fit in a regular sunglasses case, my regular glasses do kind of rattle around in the extra-large case the sunglasses usually sit in. Perhaps the light, the heat or the rattling have caused this problem, which I had never seen before.

My own spectacles—unfortunately you can’t see the crazing on the lenses.

My progressive lenses are just about worthless down on the inside bottom where the close-up reading corrections are. So even today as I am working on the computer, my glasses are sitting on the tip of my nose and I’m reading only through the upper half—the long-distance corrections. And my current optometrist offers no hope.

It appears I’m simply screwed.

Janet, of course, no longer goes to her old optometrist here in Maquoketa. The day of her disaster, February 4, 2009, the optometrist sent her instantly to Medical Associates in Dubuque, whom he also contacted. Janet called me at school to get me to take the rest of the day off and drive her to Dubuque, since she was effectively blind in one eye and her eyes were dilated. The ophthalmologists in Dubuque were under the impression that retinal reattachment by laser would be the order of the day. Ha! One look told them her condition was way past that solution, and she had to go to an actual eye surgeon. A year ago that meant another road trip—this time down ole Highway 61 to Bettendorf to Eye Surgeons Associates, Inc., where an extremely capable formerly Canadian ophthalmologist reattached her retina first thing the next morning. Subsequent problems getting her now elongated eyeball, which no longer matched her other eye’s nearsightedness at all, corrected with contacts proved frustrating at our local level, anyway. When she finally went back to Medical Associates in Dubuque, they came up with solutions rapidly. She is now a happy client with them in Dubuque.

At her suggestion, I will be, too. I have an eye examination set for a couple of weeks from now. We will see what changes happen then; maybe they will offer to try to fix the crazing along the lines of the suggestions I have found on the Internet. I am more confident I will have new glasses in about a month.

Crazy.

©2010 John Randolph Burrow, Magickal Monkey Enterprises, Ltd, S.A.

4 thoughts on ““Crazing”

  1. I have been having problems with my new glasses that I got when we moved to the St Louis area. My lenses scratched within months of getting the new prescription. I have been peering through a major scratch right in my line of vision since July or Aug….very frustrating. I tried to switch back to my old glasses, but cant see as well. Thankfully Im not blind, but I do need my glasses in order to read anything–computer, books, road signs, etc. I could get newe lenses but they indicated that I would most likely have the same problem again. Hmmm, I wonder if they know more than they are telling. Interesting story John. Good luck with the new doc.

    • Glasses AND your leg, Shark!? Many sorries from this end to you. My spex are driving me just a bit tense, so I am really looking forward to the eye appointment—regardless of cost, even.

  2. Why was the ophthalmologist formerly Canadian? The health care system in Canada (and curling) is sooo much better than ours.

    • I believe you caught the import of the comment, sir.

      —Greed, Mr. Koehler. Simple greed. (And evidently Canada made him excellent…)

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