Are Progressive Lenses Right for You?


It can take quite a while to get used to a new pair of progressive eyeglasses. Many people love them immediately.  However, is it common for some users to experience headaches and dizziness for a short time, while others never get used to them. Wearers who adjust well to them get hooked.  Progressive lenses offer the best vision correction for all distances in one pair of eyeglasses.

What are progressive lenses?

Progressive lenses offer a smooth transition between focal length zones to enable both distance and reading vision. They are much like bifocals, without the visible, distracting lines. Besides progressive lenses and bifocals for patients over 40, other options include reading glasses or trifocals.

Eventually, everyone who reaches a certain age will develop presbyopia. This condition results in farsightedness due to reduced elasticity of the eye lens that typically occurs somewhere between middle and old age. This change is hard for anybody, particularly those who never needed to wear eyeglasses when they were younger.

Can older people with presbyopia wear contact lenses?

Older contact lens wearers need to use one pair for distance and a second to see up close. For cataract patients, a replacement lens is implanted into their eyes. Some people choose to have one new lens created for distance and the second for close vision. Currently, lens implants to change focal length are in the early stage of development.

Problems with progressive lenses

In the meantime, it can be difficult adjusting to lenses with multiple focal lengths. It can be even more challenging for people who have previously worn traditional bifocals. For some people, it is easier to transition from single vision glasses to progressive lenses. It is common for frustrated users to give up and stick with single vision lenses for driving and distance, and add a second pair for close distance.

With continued advancements, there is a much higher success rate for newer progressive lenses. Regardless, there is always a transition period to be expected. Both the eye and the brain need to adapt to the variations in the lenses. Luckily we have a complex, yet highly adaptable sense of sight. It shouldn’t take long to learn how to use progressive lenses effectively.

Adjusting to progressive lenses

During the transition period, you may experience blurry areas around the lens edges. You may move your head more and your pupils less, particularly when trying to view close distances. The lower part of the lens is for viewing near distances. For driving and far distances you will look through the upper part of the lens.

Be patient and accept that getting used to progressive lenses will take a bit of time. Get to understand the separate areas and how they are positioned in the glasses. Wear your progressive lenses all day, every day when you first get them.

If you are still having problems adjusting to progressive lenses after about three weeks, contact your optometrist to schedule an appointment.