A Quick Guide on Progressive Glasses

As another number adds to your age, your eyes also change. If you are already in your 40s, you can almost expect that you will have a hard time focusing on the website on your computer screen, the whiteboard in the conference room, or your favorite book. Good thing that progressive glasses are now here to help people who need to see far, near, and anywhere in-between.

What are Progressive Eyeglasses?

Progressive eyeglasses feature seamless increased magnification from the lens’ top down to the bottom to help you see clearly at every distance while only using a single pair of eyeglasses. You need to look through the upper part of the lens to see objects from a distance, the middle so you can focus on the intermediate items, and the lower part to see stuff up close. The prescription gradually changes across the surface of the lens to offer a gentle transition. 

Progressive Eyeglasses
Progressive lenses have three prescriptions in one pair of glasses

These lenses may come in handy for people who use single-vision glasses for distance because of astigmatism, farsightedness, or nearsightedness together with reading eyeglasses for close-up work because of presbyopia.

Are Progressives and Trifocals the Same?

No. Trifocals and bifocals have three or two different levels of magnification with a visible line separating them. You cannot find these visible transition lines in progressives. The truth is that there are many people who opt for progressive glasses since they don’t have the old-fashioned lines that are found on trifocals and bifocals.

Progressive eyeglasses for men
Many adults that need presbyopia treatment are a good fit for these progressive eyeglasse

However, there is another reason why the seamless transition is essential. That smooth transition between faraway and close-up viewing prevents that image jump people often experience with trifocals or bifocals. It is where objects change abruptly in apparent position and clarity when your eyes are moving across the lens’ prescriptions. 

Are Computer Glasses Also Progressives?

People working long hours in front of the computer can take advantage of the computer glasses, the subset of progressive eyeglasses that allots more space for intermediate distances on the lens.

Video: Are computer glasses safe for all day use?

Computer eyeglasses have correction especially made to focus on computer screens that are often positioned at a distance of approximately 20 to 60 inches from the face. These special types of progressives can help lower eye fatigue and eye strain and let you switch your focus easily between printed pages, computer screens, and whiteboards.

Common Downsides of Progressive Lenses

There is a bit of a learning curve involved when using progressive eyeglasses. Since there is no visible line that will serve as your guide, you need to train yourself into looking out of the right part of the lens for the specific task you are doing. You have to train your eyes into looking through the upper or distance part of the lens when walking. If you will walk up the stairs and you end up looking down through the lower part of the lens, it may seem that your feet are bigger than they actually are.

The progressive eyeglasses may also result to peripheral distortion every time you move your eyes from one side to another. Throughout the learning stage, you might also feel a bit off-balance or nauseated if you look through the wrong part of the lens. 

Another factor to consider is the price. Progressive lenses are notably pricier compared to multifocal or single glasses due to the additional time required for making a lens without lines and with multiple prescriptions.  

How to Adjust to Progressive Eyeglasses

It may take somewhere around one week to several months to learn and adapt to the right way of looking through the lens. In order to cut back the time for adjustment, see to it that you customize your lens and have a licensed optometrist or ophthalmologist to fit it. You also need to wear your progressives as often as you can.

Your nose should be pointed toward the item you are focusing on then adjust your chin down or up until the item looks clear. If ever you experience headaches or eye strain, you can always take a break and take off the glasses. However, it is important to continue trying. 

Who are Good Candidates for Progressive Glasses?

Many adults that need presbyopia treatment are a good fit for these progressive eyeglasses. Switching from a traditional trifocal or bifocal lens is a very common concern. However, rest assured that many people are totally comfortable with using their new pair in just a matter of 2 to 3 days. 

There are also other candidates who opt for progressive lenses since after making the adjustment, these offer more freedom for enjoying a plethora of activities. In particular, working in front of the computer or doing outdoor activities such as golf is usually easier when using progressives instead of bifocals.

Who are Not Good Candidates for Progressive Eyeglasses?

Among the most common reasons why people don’t switch to progressive eyeglasses is that the person is using bifocals and might already be comfortable with this decision or had a difficult time making the switch. Progressive lenses also often cost higher than traditional bifocals. Obviously, you need to talk to your optometrist if you want to know the right kind of lenses suitable for your eyes.

FAQs about Progressive Eyeglasses

  • Do you need to wear your progressives all the time?
  • This is not really necessarily. There are wearers who just use their progressive eyeglasses part-time whenever they need them such as while reading or at work. It is recommended that you wear your new pair full time after getting them first to allow your eyes to adjust. However, once the adjustment period is over, it is already perfectly healthy for you to wear them only as and when needed.

  • Can you wear your progressives while driving?
  • Yes, you can wear your progressive eyeglasses when driving. But, you should give your eyes several days to adjust prior to driving.

  • How do you get progressive eyeglasses?
  • Progressive glasses are a prescription and need a consultation with a professional optometrist. Correct lens fitting is important to enjoy a better experience using them.

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