A single lense showing the effect of progressive lenses on a piece of paper with printed words.

Common Problems with Progressive Lenses

Shortly after the age of 40, the eyes begin to lose their elasticity, resulting in a decreased ability to focus on close-up objects. This condition, called presbyopia, often presents itself through symptoms such as blurred vision and eye strain when attempting to read a book. Those with presbyopia may be pleased to learn that modern science has created a new eyeglass lens capable of treating this condition.

Also referred to as "no-line" bifocals, progressive lenses offer an array of benefits to those struggling with close-up vision, including the elimination of the hard lines traditionally found on bifocals. However, finding the right pair of eyeglasses can often prove a more difficult feat than expected, and progressive lenses come with their own set of disadvantages. Here are a few things to consider before deciding to buy progressive lenses:


Benefits of Progressive Lenses

The overall benefits of progressive lenses are found in their functionality and their youthful appearance. Here are a few benefits to consider when selecting the right glasses for you:

Single Pair of Glasses

With progressive lenses, there's no need to buy multiple pairs of eyeglasses. The lenses compensate for long-distances, short-distances, and everything in between. People can ditch their store-bought readers for an all-encompassing pair of progressive lenses.

No Bifocal Line

Progressive lenses welcome the opportunity to feel young and fashionable. Traditional bifocals, on the other hand, present noticeable lines between each different lens power, which can be a minor annoyance to anyone sporting a pair. Modern science, however, has done away with those pesky lines, and instead offers a natural gradient of varying powers. Possibly the most worthwhile benefit is the way in which progressive lenses look like any regular pair of eyeglasses.

Since there are no visible bifocal lines, presumptions about age based on the look of your lenses won't be a problem. With progressive lenses, people are now free to pick out both the eyeglass frame of their choice, as well as the actual lenses.

Smooth Transition

Older versions of bifocal and trifocal lenses had not yet fully integrated a transition between the different lens powers, as noted above. Users of these lenses were left with a line between each different section making for an abrupt transition from one distance to another. Progressive lenses, on the other hand, more closely resemble natural vision.


Progressive Lenses Disadvantages:

Due to the lack of a hard line, people must take time to adjust to progressive lenses. A few problems people may experience with progressive lenses include:

Dizziness

The three different focal lengths of progressive lenses can make wearers susceptible to dizziness, as well as vertigo. From long- to medium- to short-distance, the lenses offer a gradient of increasing strength. While the top section is meant for walking, driving, and other activities that require long-distance sight; the bottom section is meant for reading, writing, and other activities.

A common mistake people make when first wearing their lenses is looking out of the wrong focal length, causing their vision to be blurry and leading to an overall feeling of dizziness. This issue can be fixed by properly adjusting the glasses to your face, as well as learning to move your head when looking for something, rather than just moving your eyes.

Peripheral Distortion

An additional side effect of progressive lenses is the way in which they blur peripheral vision. Most glasses cause an initial distortion to vision, whether progressive or not. However, the three different segments found in progressive lenses can make that distortion feel more prominent than with other pairs of eyeglasses. In due time the distortion is likely to dissipate, and most people claim it takes about two weeks to adjust to progressive lenses.

Depth Perception

People tend to move only their eyes when looking at an object. However, the gradient of increasing lens power means wearers need to be extra vigilant in how they go about looking at an object. When wearing progressive lenses, it's important that you are moving your head and not just your eyes when focusing on objects at different distances. Essentially, your nose should be pointing at the object you are intending to look at. Prior to adjusting to this little nuance, progressive lenses can cause depth perception to feel off.


Getting Used to Progressive Lenses

Practice makes perfect with progressive lenses. Wear them around the house for simple tasks in order to acclimate to their features. For instance, alternating between watching a TV show and reading a book can help your eyes become naturally used to making the adjustment.

In the meantime, don't wear your new lenses for any matters where eyesight is critical, such as when driving a car, until you are fully acclimated. Work your way up to these sorts of critical tasks. Lastly, keep wearing them. If they're causing any trouble for you, there may be a temptation to take them off and go back to your eye doctor. However, chances are your eyes just need a bit of time to adjust to your new progressive lenses.