MAV and multifocal/progressive glasses

Hi all,

Very new to all this. Just been diagnosed and only about 6 weeks in to experiencing symptoms. My short, middle and long distance vision isn’t great and I usually wear multifocal/progressive lens glasses. Absolutely cannot wear them now I have MAV. Just wondering anyone else has had experience with this? Is it something that will go away/that I’ll adjust to (and be able wear them again) or is this it for me and multifocals for good? Neurologist said people with significant vestibular problems (including MAV) usually cannot tolerate multifocal/progressive lenses or even bifocals.

Any others’ experiences would be welcome.


I only wear them when sitting down so that I can switch from reading to watching TV. I have single distance lenses for walking and driving and intermediate lenses for music playing. Very annoying to have all those pairs of glasses but it works best for me.

Interesting topic, as I have been thinking about asking this! Without repeating my whole story yet again - I have been many years with Menieres, before the beast morphed into MAV last year.
I have worn multi-focals for many years, although the last pair never seemed ‘quite right’. As part of trying to sort out the vertigo - I had another eye test (postponed a couple of times due to the vertigo) - and then went into remission, during which time I had cataracts removed from both eyes and of course new specs. Although my distance vision is now good enough to drive without them, and I can move around O.K., it was decided to give multi’s again. It was after all this that I suddenly presented with this whole new set of symptoms that most closely matches MAV. I have not been officially ‘diagnosed’, and after about 4 months it has settled/I have it under control/whatever. BUT, I am noticing that I’m fine with the glasses on as long as I am stationary…i.e. sitting doing something, (as you say, Margaret) but walking around with them on seems to make me wobbly! Also, the computer (a huge trigger for me) seems to be worse if I have them on. I can sort of manage if the print is fairly big without the glasses, but it’s blurry. I’m coming up for my 1 year post-op check, and was thinking about asking about bi-focals…disappointed to hear they are no better. Unfortunately, for what I do, I require both close and medium simultaneously. (sigh!) Like everything else - it seems we have to find a way to adjust our lives for the beast! Hope you can find a way round this, Sideshowally! Please share if you do!

It is really weird isn’t it. I was ok for years walking around with multifocals but now find it impossible, hence all my new pairs which is both annoying and expensive. Everything sitting down seems easier though, even talking as I found this morning. I was talking to a friend, went dizzy quite dramatically and had to ask her to follow me so I could sit down. She was concerned but I just carried on with the conversation because the dizziness subsided once I sat down. We get used to it I guess but it scares those who watch us.

Yes, basically I have just got to REMEMBER to ‘put them up on my head’ when I walk - I really don’t need them for day to day stuff - unless I’m trying to read a recipe or instructions or something…it is just habit as I wore them constantly for so long! Another little annoyance!

Then you have to REMEMBER they are on your head :joy::joy:


Oh we’ve ALL done THAT! :wink:

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Thanks for all your comments :slight_smile: I’m finding the multifocals impossible to wear even when sitting still, but they are less triggering if I’m not moving. Pretty useless that way though if you need them for walking and driving etc. I’ve now ordered two new pairs of single vision (reading and distance) as my specialist seems pretty adamant that people with ongoing vestibular problems really struggle with multifocals, it’s just too much conflicting information for the brain to compensate for. I guess I’ll be doing the 3 pairs of glasses thing from now on (reading, distance and computer). Sigh. I might try the multifocals again in a few months as maybe you do get used to it once your symptoms are under control. Good luck everyone!

Sounds like a good plan. You may well be able to return to the mulit-focals, at least for some tasks later. Better to go with the flow than excite the beast unnecessarily!
Hope you soon improve.

Has anybody tried clip on magnifying lenses? I mean, dorky doesn’t begin to describe the look, but they’ve made a huge difference for me. I clip them on my regular single focus glasses when I’m working on the computer. When I need to, I can flip them up to see in the middle distance. It doubles my screen time before MAV sends me sliding towards the floor. For a knowledge worker like me, it’s the difference between disabled and employment.

How is this any different than using a bigger font size. Also you can set brightness to the warm/page/text setting. It is soothing on eyes. Also I take a break every 15 minutes or else I see double.

My optometrist said it’s about the focal point of your vision. Changing font size will make a blurry thing bigger, but not clearer. The clip on lenses are set at your proper focal point, like bifocals, but can be flipped up or removed for long or medium range vision without introducing the same problems progressive lenses do for people with MAV. IDK, it works.

And I have my brightness all the way down, work in the dark and often wear sunglasses - like a blind cave fish.


UPDATE: My new neurologist just told me that multifocal/progressive lenses shouldn’t be a problem for me now as my symptoms have been mostly well-controlled for a while (I’m still sensitive to visual stimuli like flouro lights and scrolling and get some rocking after travel, but that’s about it). So, I’ve tried out my old progressive lenses and even though I’m still getting used to them, I seem fine. HURRAH! Goodbye to three separate pairs of glasses, lol. I’d be interested to know if anyone else has had similar success. I’m so glad I gave it a shot :slightly_smiling_face:


Great to see that word “Update”. On forums plp get frozen in time it seems, then disappear and one wonders what became of them. Great to know you have recovered. To what do you attribute this success? Meds, the VRT, passage of time. It would be good to know. Most interesting your comments regarding glasses. Most informative. Thanks again. Vision and balance so closely linked. I’ve stuck to my bifocals throughout but I’ve heard many stories linking progressives etc with vertigo attacks. Unfortunately it’s an area little research has been carried out so still very much trial and error unfortunately. Helen


FURTHER UPDATE: So my success was short-lived, unfortunately. Once I got the new progressive lenses (at a slightly higher strength than my old ones) I only tolerated them for a few days before the vertigo starting sneaking up on me. It seems like the increased strength was a bit too much for my poor brain to handle. But, my optom did up a pair of bifocals for me instead and they’ve been much better. I might give the progressives a try again at some point but I’m happy enough with being able to wear bifocals. Seeing clearly again at a distance and close up is fantastic.

Sorry, Onandon03 I didn’t answer your question re what I think my improvement in symptoms can be attributed to. I think it’s a combination. Medication got me back to about 80%. And diet was a big factor too (elimination of most potential triggers at first and I’ve been able to slowly add almost everything back in except coffee and wine). Then I think time has done the rest. I’m still not 100% but closer to it, for sure.

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Yes, I think you are right. Getting it to settle seems to require a ‘package’ of measures. Trigger avoidance, diet, lifestyle changes, medication and exercise. All play a part. And time too. Glad you’ve sussed it and on the mend. Helen

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