Insider’s Guide to Progressive Lenses

If you have Presbyopia or other blurred vision problems, your optometrist may have prescribed eye glasses with progressive lenses. The symptoms of presbyopia usually begin at around age 40. People start to experience blurred near vision when working at a computer, reading a magazine, or reading a map. Even the nearsighted may notice blurring at close range when they wear their normal eye glasses or designer eyewear to correct their far distance sight.

So what is presbyopia, and how do eye glasses with progressive lenses help? Let’s take a look at some questions you may have about presbyopia, and what you can so to combat its symptoms.

What Is Presbyopia?

Presbyopia is a natural process caused by age. It is attributed to a gradual thickening of the lens inside your eye. As the proteins in the lens age, they become harder and less elastic. This causes a loss of flexibility in the lens of your eye. The muscle fibers in your eye also weaken as you age, which can also result in less elasticity in the lens. Over time, your eye has a harder time focusing up close due to this lower elasticity.

How Are Progressive Lenses Different From Bifocals?

Bifocal and progressive lenses both have multiple focal strengths, each for a different length of sight. Most lenses use the main (upper) part of the lens of the eye glasses for distance vision. They use the lower portion for the stronger near vision prescription, for work up close. Some trifocal glasses also have a ‘mid-range’ section for good vision in between.

There's a drawback. Bifocal and trifocal glasses have a lined transition between points of focus. Images seem to ‘jump’ as your eyes move from one focal point to another. Progressive lenses offer a gradual, seamless transition from one focal point to another. There is no visible line between the two prescriptions like you'd see in bifocals. This helps a lot when you're changing your focus from far away to up close, without the image jumping between points.

Are There Different Kinds of Progressive Lenses?

There are several different kinds of progressive lenses. Some lenses give you an edge-to-edge prescription area. Other lenses have a smaller inner area for near viewing, with another strength just to the sides of the near focal area. Still other lenses have a wider near focal area and a smaller far distance area. Your optician can help you select the best style of progressive frame for your spectacles.

How Can I Adjust to Progressive Lenses?

Like any new tool, it takes some time to get used to your new eye glasses with progressive lenses. Here are a few tips that you can use to adjust to your new pair of spectacles:

  • Try not to switch back and forth between your old prescription glasses and your new eye glasses. This only increases the time it takes to get used to your new eye glasses
  • Instead of moving your eyes to look at objects outside your line of vision, try moving your head. Use your nose as a guide to ‘point’ at what you want to see. Then  move your chin up and down to bring it into focus
  • Wear your eye glasses high on the bridge of your nose increase the range you see from each lens
  • Practice, practice, practice! The more you practice wearing your progressive lenses, the easier it will be to use them. A good way to practice is to read a book or magazine while watching TV. Go back and forth between the two, adjusting your vision each time

Progressive Lenses Simplify Your Life

When your designer eyewear has progressive lenses, you don’t need to worry about switching back and forth between different pairs of eye glasses to see different distances. You'll never need to peep over your bifocal glasses to see something again.

If you're in the Los Angeles area, and you'd like to learn more about progressive lenses, stop by Hoff Optometry and Eyewear in Venice.  Dr. James Hoff and his team of expert vision care specialists will be happy to explain all the options available.

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