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Progressive glasses are glasses that have lenses with three prescription powers. They are like bifocals, but without the line between prescription powers. Progressives are also optimized to allow viewing at intermediate ranges. This special lens technology makes the transition between different prescription powers smooth.
Progressive lenses work by creating a seamless and gradual shift between three visual correction powers as your eye moves down the lens. You can see mid-distance objects by looking straight ahead, objects in the distance by tilting your head slightly upward, and glancing slightly downward to see close-up objects.
Progressive eyeglasses blend three prescriptions seamlessly so you don’t experience image jumps or see visible lines on your lenses. Progressives provide the convenience of multiple glasses prescriptions in one pair, so you never need to worry about forgetting a pair at home when you’re out. There is also no need to switch pairs when you move between tasks like reading and driving.
Traditionally, progressive eyeglasses have been more expensive than other types of multifocal lenses. Progressive lenses can also make wearers feel a bit nauseated or dizzy when they first begin wearing them.
There is sometimes a bit of distortion — known as a “swim effect” — at the edge of progressive lenses that can affect peripheral vision. Most of these side effects disappear once a wearer’s eyes have adjusted to the lenses.
Progressive lenses are good for reading, computer use, and other everyday activities like driving. The only precaution you may want to take is to ease into driving when you first start wearing progressives since it can take some time to adjust and become comfortable wearing them.
While the cost of progressive lenses depends on factors like where you buy them and what your insurance covers, they’re generally more expensive than single-vision and other multifocal lenses like bifocals.
Adding standard progressive lenses at Eyebuydirect costs just $49, and adding premium progressive lenses costs $89 (not including the price of your preferred frames). These prices are a fraction of what you would pay elsewhere.
Some people adjust to progressives almost immediately, while others may take a few days or even a few weeks. If you haven’t adjusted to your progressive lenses after a week, you should speak to your eye doctor about it. Your glasses may need an adjustment or progressives may not be the right option for you.
While it can take a little while to adjust to progressives, the more often you wear them, the easier the adjustment will be. Wearing them every day for at least a week (without switching back and forth with your old glasses) will help your eyes get used to the different powers in the lenses.
Note: If you are struggling to adjust to your new glasses, you should continue to use your old glasses for driving until you are comfortable with the progressives.
The peripheral blurriness that people associate with multifocal glasses is actually caused by incorporating three lens powers into one lens. The blurriness can be disorienting at first, but as your eyes adjust to the glasses, you should stop noticing it.
If you continue to be bothered by this blurriness after a couple weeks, your glasses or glasses prescription may need to be adjusted.
Choosing between bifocals and progressive glasses is both a matter of preference and convenience. Progressive lenses are great for people who wear glasses every day because they need vision correction at multiple distances. Progressives also give you a younger, fresher look.
On the other hand, bifocals are good for folks who only need glasses occasionally or who have trouble adjusting to progressive glasses.
When it comes to progressive glasses, frame size is an important consideration. Bigger frames work better with our standard progressive lenses, and smaller frames work better with our premium progressive lenses.
It’s important that frames are tall enough for the entire range of vision provided by progressive lenses to fit within them. Frames with a very short lens height will likely not fit progressive lenses well.
For example, most cat-eye frames are a poor choice, as they will minimize the area of the reading lens. Look for frames at least 30mm tall to give you the best progressive glasses experience.