Why Progressive Lenses are Blurry on the Sides and How To Adapt

Progressive lenses offer a total solution for anyone who is seeking a single pair of eyeglasses to optimize clarity. Before the advent of progressive lenses, people would have to change their eyeglasses for different purposes. When progressive lenses first made their debut in the late 1950s, the multi-purpose construction of progressive lenses captured the attention of consumers. However, they were large and featured a visible multifocal line. In recent years, new technology has led to an evolution in progressive lenses that has virtually eliminated most complaints except for those pertaining to blurriness on the sides of lenses.

What can you expect as you adapt to progressive lenses?

One of the most commonly reported side effects of progressive lenses is blurry or fuzzy peripheral vision. The blurriness is usually most noticeable through the lower portion of the lens and to the left and right of near and immediate zones. The sensation is most pronounced when individuals first begin wearing their progressive lenses and is exacerbated when they looking straight ahead directly into their glasses.

What causes progressive lenses to be blurry on the sides?

The strength of progressive lenses is actually the factor that leads to initial peripheral blurriness. Progressive lenses tend to be blurry on the sides because each lens promotes three fields of vision:

  • An upper lens segment designed to help the wearer see objects in the distance
  • A lower lens segment designed to help the wearer see objects within very close proximity
  • A portion of the lens in the middle that facilitates a change in lens strength

Peripheral blurriness or haziness is a sensation that typically develops because more than one lens strength has been incorporated into one lens. The wearer also might feel as if he or she is moving from side to side.


How can you cope with the blurriness?

People who invest in progressive lenses should be aware of the potential for blurred peripheral vision. They should expect to experience an adjustment period as they grow accustomed to their new lenses. Most important, wearers should recognize that the blurriness typically begins to decrease within the first two weeks of full-time wear. During the adjustment period, here are a few measures that you can take to combat the blurriness:

  • Make a concerted effort to look through the correct section of the lens
  • When looking into the distance, point your nose in the direction you are looking
  • Consider switching to a different progressive lens design if the blurriness is pronounced
  • Contact your eyewear provider or eye doctor if the sensation continues after two weeks of wear

How have progressive lenses recently evolved?

With each passing day, progressive lens manufacturers show their dedication to quality lens improvement. Today’s progressive lenses are comfortable, flexible, and full of updates that delight consumers. Below are some of the top ways that progressive lenses have evolved in recent years:

  • The size of the zones for reading use has been expanded to facilitate comfort for researchers
  • The size of the intermediate zone has been increased to accommodate computer users
  • Current models have fewer peripheral imperfections and improved optics
  • Progressive lenses are now manufactured to fit with smaller frame sizes
  • Today’s progressive lenses are increasingly manufactured with polycarbonate and high-index plastic
  • Wearers can now choose from a variety of optional features such as anti-reflective coating

Justifying the Higher Price Tag

Progressive lenses are advantageous because they essentially include three different lenses into one primary lens. Not surprisingly, progressive lenses tend to be a bit more costly than standard lenses. Additional factors that can contribute to their higher price include the following:

  • Lens material: Polycarbonate lenses are thinner but pricier while plastic lenses are less expensive
  • Customization: Progressive lenses that are highly customized tend to be more expensive
  • Type of lens: Digital progressive lenses are more sophisticated and costly than standard lenses

What are some steps you can take to ensure a positive experience with progressive lenses?

Clearly, progressive lenses differ significantly from standard lenses in terms of their parameters and capabilities. By taking the time to select the perfect pair of lenses and remembering that you may experience some blurriness, you can help make sure that your transition to progressive lenses is a smooth one. Below are some tips to help foster a positive experience with your progressive lenses:

1) Do your homework. Lens technology continues to evolve on a daily basis. Make sure that you familiarize yourself with options such as lens material and optional anti-reflective coatings before you place your order.

2) Remember the adjustment period. Remember that most people experience a week or two of peripheral blurriness as they adjust to their progressive lenses.

3) Choose a set of glasses that you love. Thanks to recent updates to progressive lenses, you have a more extensive selection of eyeglass options than ever. You can even find styles with smaller frames.

5) Make sure your prescription is accurate. If you decide to purchase progressive lenses from an online provider, make sure that you transfer all information accurately in order to avoid mistakes with your order.

Selecting a Dependable Provider for Progressive Lenses

The key to purchasing stellar progressive lenses is to find an eyewear provider that is dedicated to ensuring that you are pleased with your lenses. As a leading online provider of progressive lenses, Rx-Safety has the inventory and expertise required to guide you in your selection of the perfect set of progressive lenses. For additional information on purchasing the perfect pair of progressive lenses, please contact us. Our team of eyewear specialists looks forward to meeting all of your eyewear needs!

  1. Tim says:

    Hi Phil, It sounds like a bifocal lens would suit you best. These will typically have a distance lens at the top and a reading portion at the bottom. There are several types but you might like the style we call a “thumbnail” because the reading portion looks a little bit like an upside-down thumbnail on the lens. These lenses will not be blurry on the sides excepting for if your Rx is extremely high.

  2. David Good says:

    The top is for distance and the bottom is for reading so you can have good vision while driving. Look up to see other cars, look down to see your speedometer.

  3. Phyllis says:

    I bought progressive lenses and find the blurriness on both sides which I was not told about. And when I park the car and I’m walking I find I walk to the left. Why would that be?

    • Melissa Richard says:

      Progressive lenses have no corrections on the sides which is why they are blurry. We would not be able to say why you are walking more towards the left. You would need to follow up with your dr in regards to that.

  4. Phil says:

    Thanks for the explanation! It’s not just me and I know it could get better!

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