Are Progressives the Lenses for You?

So, you’re 40-something, and you’ve been starting to hold things you want to read at arm’s length, or taking your glasses off when you need to see something close-up.  You’ve passed another life milestone in that you now need glasses to read.  If you already needed glasses, that means you’re going to need a whole new kind of lens.

Choices of Lens for Reading and Distance

While you can get glasses that are just for reading, if you need distance glasses odds are you’d rather have the convenience of having both in one pair of glasses.  You have several options:

  • Bifocals–Bifocals will add a half-circle at the bottom of the lenses for you to read with while the rest of the lenses have your distance prescription in them.  People tolerate these fairly well, but many don’t like the abrupt change, and the line can be very annoying.
  • Blended–These are sometimes an option.  They work exactly like bifocals, but instead of a visible line, there is a blur between the borders of reading and distance prescription.  Some people prefer this option because they don’t look like they are wearing bifocals, but there is still an adjustment period as you get used to the blurry line between your reading and distance vision.
  • Trifocals–Similar to bifocals but they add a layer above the bifocal for the intermediate distance so you can see at roughly car dashboard distance as well.  These can be quite useful, but they can be hard to get used to as well because you have to find the right area to look through, and now instead of one line annoying your vision, you have two.
  • Progressive–These lenses take care of all the line issues.  Progressives have no lines, and ‘progressively’ get stronger as you look through lower and lower parts of the glasses.  You still have a learning curve as it takes a while to learn where to look through, but you won’t have those annoying lines to contend with.

So You’ve Chosen Progressives

Progressive lenses allow you to see at not just two or three distances, but all distances.  By merely tipping your head, you can adjust the lens. This allows you to look through the correct part of the lens for whatever distance you are looking at.

By using progressive lenses, you will avoid having the abrupt change in vision distance, and you won’t have to move your book closer or farther.  All you’ll need to do is find the right spot to look through in the lens.

Sounds perfect, right?  Keep in mind that there may be an adjustment period in getting used to using your new progressive lenses.  The sides of the lenses can be blurry, so you won’t be able to read a book peripherally, but will have to turn your head side to side.

Why are my progressive lenses blurry on the sides?  While some peripheral blurriness can be attributed to materials like high index plastic, in progressive lenses it’s simply a side effect of the manufacturing process.  According to Varilux, a manufacturer of progressive lenses, it’s “due to power changes that occur in the periphery of the lenses.”

Some people can adjust right away to their new progressive lenses, while others may take a while.  If, after a couple of weeks you aren’t more comfortable, make sure to return to your optician.

Progressive lenses have many advantages over other types of reading lenses, but they may not be for everyone.  Contact us when you’re ready to take the plunge into reading glasses, and if progressive lenses will be right for you.  See the world in a whole new way.

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