John McIntyre, whom James Wolcott calls "the Dave Brubeck of the art and craft of copy editing," writes on language, editing, journalism, and other manifestations of human frailty. Comments welcome. Identifying his errors relieves him of the burden of omniscience. Write to jemcintyre@gmail.com, befriend at Facebook, or follow at Twitter: @johnemcintyre. Back 2009-2012 at the original site, http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/news/mcintyre/blog/ and now at www.baltimoresun.com/news/language-blog/.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Consumer note

Seriously myopic—I’m talking about vision, not thinking, thank you—since childhood, I’ve been wearing thick eyeglasses for fifty years. I know some of the lines of letters on the eye charts by heart. There have been occasional difficulties with prescription lenses, like the time the ophthalmologist reversed the numbers for the correction of my astigmatism, but nothing previously like my experience this year.

I went to Doctors Visionworks in Towson Town Center this spring for an eye examination and new glasses. I need two sets of bifocals, one with the distance and close focus for ordinary use, one with computer-distance and close focus for editing. (I once tried trifocals, which drove me nuts, continually bobbing my head trying to get the range.)

The optometrist prescribed lenses, which, because of my extreme nearsightedness, take some time to prepare. I called when they were due and was told that the lab had made a mistake and had to do them over. So I waited.

I finally collected the glasses, which seemed to be OK. You may know that it takes a little time to adjust to new lenses, and I began to feel that something was not quite right. I finally determined that the distance focus through the left lens was sharp but the focus through the right lens was slightly blurry.

I went back to Doctors Visionworks, which guarantees that it will make good. I was examined by a different optometrist, who wrote a slightly different prescription, and they sent out for new lenses without any difficulty.

When I called about the new glasses, the person who answered was a little stiff with me. They would be ready on the date on the order (which I had not seen) and not before.

In fact, they were delayed for an additional week because the lab had once more made a mistake and had to do the lenses over again.

Now I have them, and have discovered that one pair was so shoddily fitted that the right lens tends to pop out of the frame. I could take it back—I suppose they would still be willing to make good—but God knows how long their lab would take and what would be wrong after that.

So I’m saving up another few hundred dollars so that I can see an ophthalmologist and go to a competent optician. I don’t intend to have any further commerce with Doctors Visionworks, and now, I think, neither will you.