How to Adapt to Progressive Lenses

Our vision changes as we age, requiring many people over 40 to need different glasses for reading and seeing distance. Keeping track of multiple sets of glasses can be a pain. Some days it’s hard enough to get out of the house with your car keys, let alone multiple pairs of glasses and sunglasses.  As a result, your doctor may recommend that you try progressive lenses. While progressives can be great, they do take a bit of time to adapt to wearing. With a little patience, you’ll soon be enjoying one pair of glasses for all your vision needs!

What Are Progressive Lenses?

Progressive lenses are multi-focal lenses with three viewing areas: distance-, intermediate-, and near-vision. The primary viewing area in a standard progressive lens is for distance, with a smaller area at the bottom of the lens for near vision, and an even smaller area for intermediate vision in the middle. The clear viewing area is located in the central “corridor” of the lens. Since these areas are blended together, there’s a noticeable but expected blur when looking at the edges of the lens.

Zenni currently offers three different types of progressive lenses

  • Standard Progressives: designed primarily for distance vision with narrow near- and mid-range viewing areas, they offer greater comfort and visual clarity within 20+ feet.
  • Near-Range Progressives: designed for people who spend long periods of time at a desk or other confined workspace, they offer greater comfort and visual clarity within 3 feet.
  • Mid-Range Progressives: designed for people who need enhanced up-close vision with the ability to see the entire room more clearly, they feature narrower near-range vision with a greater mid-range vision for comfort and visual clarity within 10-14 feet.

How bifocals are different from progressives

The Difference Between Bifocals and Progressive Lenses

Many confuse “bifocal” or “trifocal” with progressive lenses. (Transitions®, a brand of photochromic lenses that turn dark in sunlight are also often confused with progressives.)

The main difference is that bifocals and trifocals have a visible line in the lens. Progressives have a seamless, invisible design where the power “progressively” changes throughout the lens.

Read more about the difference between bifocals and progressives.

How to adapt to your new progressives.

Adapting to Your Progressive Lenses

Because of how they’re designed, there’s an adaptation period in learning to wear your progressive lenses. We recommend that you get in the habit of turning your head toward the object of focus instead of simply moving your eyes. For example, if you see a pedestrian about to cross the street, turn your head toward the person instead of just shifting your eyes. Otherwise, you’ll be looking through the blurred edges of the progressive.

For new wearers, get used to your new lenses gradually by increasing how much time you wear them over the first few days. Try not to switch between different glasses, since this will lengthen your adaptation period. Remember that you’ll need to turn your head and move your eyes in order to find the “sweet spot” for the activity that you’re focusing on.

For experienced wearers, a new pair of progressives – even in the same prescription – can still have a slight adaptation period. This is because no two pairs of progressive glasses are the same. For example, some people are more sensitive to viewing through multiple areas in a small lens, so switching to frames with a larger lens size can provide greater comfort and ease of adaptation.

While most users have great success with wearing progressives, they aren’t for everybody. If you’re still having trouble adapting after a couple of weeks, with headaches or feeling off-balance, contact your eye doctor to check your prescription and lens placement.

Shop our wide selection of progressive glasses today.

About the Author: Dr. Mori Ahi, O.D.

Dr. Mori has over 10 years of experience in eye care. She earned her undergraduate degree from UCLA and her optometry degree from the New England College of Optometry. She has worked in a variety of eye care settings and is passionate about helping her patients find a great pair of affordable glasses