How to Choose Progressive Lenses

Progressive lenses designed for your eyes only! Check out how to select the best progressive lenses and how to avoid mistakes

When you are fortysomething, you have (almost) everything: wisdom, experience, a car, a house, family and work. Everything you dreamed about is in your pocket along with your glasses. Oh, yes! Vision is one of the precious little things, which will betray you as years go by. Not necessarily, but it happens to most in their forties. You suddenly find yourself carrying glasses in every pocket. A pair for each activity: driving, computer and reading glasses.

Then something amazing happened! The progressive lenses were born and your pockets were emptied. Actually, these types of lenses were patented in the early 1900s. No resemblance with new age progressive lenses, but still the efforts began more than a decade back. What’s revolutionary about progressive lenses is that their technology has reached the point of perfection.

Those with experience in traditional bifocals know well that there is a thin line separating the two types of lenses. Take this literally! Bifocals consist of two different lenses separated by a thin line for close and far-viewing. There is no line whatsoever with progressive lenses. They are the absolute masterpieces for perfect far and near vision and everything in between. This is a simple guide for those who are willing to get progressive lenses for the first time.

What are progressive lenses?

The distance from your eyes to your smartphone, book, grocery products, bank statement and the road is completely different. That’s the distance progressive lenses are called to cover. With bifocal lenses, you could only read by looking down or drive by looking up. You had to reposition your glasses or remove them depending on your activities. Progressive lenses are multifocal. There are progressive (as the name of the lenses implies) lens zones for near, long or intermediate distance without any lines that would make vision difficult and tiring. In other words, you will be able to drive but also lower your eyes to look at your shoes. Your eyes smoothly travel from up down and backwards without the frustration of being interrupted by lines or being unable to see intermediate distances. No wonder why they are called invisible bifocals!

A useful guide before buying progressive lenses

* Don’t rely on previous prescriptions. In order to get the right progressive lenses, you will need accurate measurement with state of the art equipment.

* Style is of the essence! We are well aware that you’d prefer to choose discreet frames in a small size, but progressive lenses must be bigger than single vision glasses. Since they must cover near, long and intermediate distances, they need space. The good news is that there is a huge variety of colorful frames and you can always choose rimless glasses.

* Talk with your optician about your personal needs. If you spend hours on your computer, he will put emphasis on the intermediate section of the lenses. Your personal requirements will change if you are a cab driver or a salesman. These are the reasons why progressive lenses are custom made and why you should trust an optician with plenty of experience.

* Let us warn you. Progressive lenses are expensive. For good quality lenses, you will probably spend around $700 to $1,000 just for the lenses let alone the frame. You can probably save a couple of hundred dollars, but the quality won’t be as good. You see, the technology of progressive lenses is highly advanced since the goal is to enable you to see without distortions or moving your head in all directions. If you need extras, like UV filter or extra thin lenses, estimate an extra $100-$250.

* There are great manufacturers on the market. To avoid confusion, speak to your optician about your needs and ask the pros and cons of each brand. Hoya, Zeiss, Essilor, Tokai and other brands all make high tech progressive lenses but there might be differences to what they currently offer.

* Although opticians use cutting edge technology for the preparation of progressive lens glasses, accuracy is of the essence. So, don’t be embarrassed to ask whether possible mistakes will be corrected by them.

* In spite the fact that the technology of progressive lenses is changing rapidly, some of them might be sensitive to high heat. Don’t forget to ask your optician about it and avoid approaching the heated oven. Let someone else check if the meal is cooked or remove your glasses.

Are there any disadvantages? Myths and Facts about progressive lenses

One of the disadvantages is that progressive lenses are expensive. If you add to that your need to change them every 2-3 years, you can easily do the math. Your vision capabilities will keep changing for many years to come and you will have to get new progressive lenses every time. For this reason, do get the best ones you can afford but don’t empty your bank account.

Another downside of progressive lenses is the adjustment period. If you are not used to wearing multifocal glasses, you will feel strange when you first try them on. The whole idea of getting progressive lenses is to keep your glasses on no matter what you do. If you are lying down and try to look sideways, you might not be able to. Don’t let these things upset you. It takes a while till you get used to these lenses. After all, most people wouldn’t see sideways without glasses either.

If you want to check them out, do a small experiment. Go on your computer and check out whether you can read your emails and still talk to your spouse across the room and clearly see your shoes. If everything seems alright, you will be too!

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