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What are Progressive Lenses and how do they work?

by Eric Gathoni

What are Progressive Lenses and how do they work?

What are Progressive Lenses?

Progressive lenses are a type of lens that provide multiple focal points for clear vision at different distances. Unlike traditional bifocal lenses, which have a visible line separating distance and reading correction, progressive lenses have a gradual change in lens power from the top of the lens for distance vision, to the centre for intermediate vision, and finally to the bottom for reading vision. 

These lenses are designed to correct presbyopia, a common age-related condition that makes it hard to focus on close-up objects. They are often considered the most natural-looking and versatile option for correcting presbyopia as they give a seamless and continuous field of vision. However, it may take some time to get used to them, especially for people new to multifocal lenses.

How Do Progressive Lenses Work?

Progressive lenses work by having multiple points of focus within the same lens. The lens design starts with distance correction at the top, then gradually changes to intermediate correction in the centre, and finally to reading correction at the bottom. 

This gradual change in lens power allows you to see things clearly at different distances without switching between multiple pairs of glasses. When you look through the top of the lens, you'll see objects in the distance clearly. As you move your eyes down the lens, the power gradually changes, so you can see things at intermediate distances like your computer screen clearly. And when you look through the bottom, you can see things up close clearly, like a book or menu. This design provides a smooth transition between different focal points, without the noticeable line between distance and reading correction that you'd find in traditional bifocal lenses. 

Progressive lenses direct the light rays to the correct part of the retina, allowing you to see clearly at all distances.

What is better progressive or bifocal?

The decision between progressive lenses and bifocal lenses depends on what's important to you. Here are a few things to think about:

How they look: Progressive lenses give you a more natural look because they don't have the visible line that separates the distance and reading correction. Bifocal lenses, on the other hand, have a noticeable line that divides the two types of correction.

Versatility: Progressive lenses are more versatile in terms of correcting your vision because they give you multiple points of focus for clear vision at different distances, including intermediate distances. Bifocal lenses only have two points of focus, one for distance and one for reading.

Adjusting to them: Some people need a little time to get used to progressive lenses because they're different from traditional bifocal lenses. Bifocal lenses are usually easier to get used to because they've been around longer and are a more straightforward design.

Cost: Progressive lenses tend to be more expensive than bifocal lenses.

In the end, it depends on what you need and want. If you want a more natural look, versatility in your vision correction, and are willing to spend some time adjusting to them, then progressive lenses might be the way to go. But if you prefer a more straightforward design, a shorter adjustment period, and are looking for a more budget-friendly solution, bifocal lenses might be a better choice for you. The best decision for you will depend on your specific needs and preferences.


How long does it take to get used to progressive lenses?

The adjustment period to progressive lenses varies from person to person and can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.

Are there any disadvantages to wearing progressive lenses?

Some people may experience visual distortions, such as swim or wobble effect, during the adjustment period. However, these effects usually go away as the wearer gets used to the lenses.

Can progressive lenses be made for high-index or ultra-thin lenses?

Yes, progressive lenses can be made for high-index or ultra-thin lenses to provide a lighter and more comfortable solution for correcting presbyopia.