Progressive lenses are the types of lenses you wear when you’re trying to correct presbyopia along with other visual conditions. If given one of these particular diagnoses with the suggestion to go with a progressive lens, it means you use the upper part of the lens to see further away and the bottom part of the lens to see up close.
Sounds kind of like bifocals or trifocals, right? That’s exactly what they are, except there is no line separating the two types of lenses. Progressive lenses aren’t very different from one another regardless of the brand. That doesn’t mean they’re exactly the same though. Confused yet?
We’re going to walk you through the different types of progressive lenses and give you some information regarding some of the more trusted brands so you can be in the know.
Different Types of Progressive Lenses
There are several different types of progressive lenses – standard, short corridor, computer, Ground-view, premium, and Transitions. Each one serves a different purpose, and depending on what you need, you’ll find what you’re looking for.
Standard progressive lenses are the most budget-friendly of the bunch. They will work for just about anyone that needs bifocals or even trifocals. The price you can expect to pay for progressive lenses depends on the brand, but you can expect to pay no more than around a couple hundred dollars to cover the cost of your basic lenses.
If you choose to go with standard lenses, you’ll see that they give you a wide enough area to use for reading, but you may need a different sized frame to give you vertical height to do other things like driving. Having a bigger lens gives you a smooth transition as you go from looking out at the horizon to reading a book on your lap.
Short Corridor Lenses
If you decide your lenses must be smaller, that’s okay, because you do have options available to you in the form of short corridor lenses. They are made for smaller frames, but they are harder to fit correctly. When you choose to go in this direction, clear your optician’s skills to know that you won’t get lenses configured improperly.
These lenses are almost double the price of standard lenses, but at least you don’t have to sacrifice fashion to be able to see on a daily basis. The downside to these lenses, aside from the price, is that you may have difficulty going from seeing far away to up close because the lenses are so much smaller.
Working in an office may mean that you need these computer lenses or office lenses. These are the glasses you would wear when you’re in front of a computer. They are designed to give you visual clarity up close with a typical range of anywhere between a foot and a half to a full six feet in front of you.
If these are the lenses you need, you can expect to pay about the same as you would for standard lenses. When you wear them on a regular basis, your posture will get better, too, and your eyes will feel better when you stare at a screen for hours at a time.
These are better than standard lenses because they prevent you from having the stiffness in your neck you would otherwise get from trying to look out of the right part of the lenses. There is a downside to these lenses, though, if you need to wear lenses on a regular basis. These are meant to be dedicated for office purposes, so you’ll need a regular pair, too.
Ground View Lenses
If you enjoy the outdoors and want to stay active, then these might be the progressive lenses for you. They’re designed to reduce visual distortion that you would otherwise experience with standard lenses by employing what is called a “ground-view” technique. Lenses made in this manner result in vision that feels more natural.
These are more expensive than standard progressives, but they are worth the extra cash if you want to maintain an active lifestyle. You may have to shop around for these lenses, though, because they’re not a type that is typically carried by most providers.
Premium progressive lenses are the top-of-the-line lenses and are the most expensive of the progressive types. You can end up paying as much as four times the amount that you would pay for standard lenses. These are also known as free-form or wave-front lenses. They have a more extensive reading area and offer a clearer vision as well.
What makes these lenses unique is the way they are surfaced digitally and are customized to your eyes. These also fit well into any kind of frame. Additionally, because they are made perfectly for your eyes, they’re much easier to adapt to when you put them on. You may even feel like you don’t have progressive lenses at all with these types of lenses.
Transitions is the trademarked type of lens, but they are not progressive lens. There is often confusion about the two, but Transitions are what is known as photochromatic. They get darker outside under UV light and stay clear when you’re inside or in your car.
You can get progressive lenses that include Transitions technology to give you a single pair of glasses that you can wear anywhere and anytime. The only downside is when you select to have Transitions lenses they tend to add on a couple hundred dollars to the total price of your lenses.
Top 4 Progressive Lens
Now that you know the different types of progressive lenses, it’s time to get into the different brands that are out there.
1. Varilux S Series Progressive Lenses
The Varilux lenses are one of the most advanced types of progressive lenses out on the market, and they are a marked improvement over the progressives of times past. They use several specific types of technology that improve your overall experience.
Nanoptix is a technology that is used to eliminate what is called “swim.” Swim happens when you change what part of the lens you’re looking through as you go from one power to the second power. The curvature of the lens changes which causes distortion that looks like you’re looking through water. Nanoptix tech changes the shape ever so slightly to remove the swim effect.
This technology makes progressive lenses that are meant to optimize the overall field of vision by incorporating your prescription information from each eye into both lenses. The resulting effect is a pair of lenses that synchronize your vision.
4D is designed to make sure that the dominant eye has the sharpest vision available to it. The reason is that your dominant eye is what leads your motor skills and other intangibles like depth perception. It is meant to optimize your vision in your dominant eye.
2. Varilux Physio Progressive Lenses
If you currently have progressive lenses and feel like it’s difficult to see clearly when it gets dark, that’s a normal response with standard progressive lenses. There’s a biological reason for it. Your pupil naturally dilates when the light goes down in order to absorb as much light as possible so you can see in low light conditions.
When you’re wearing progressive lenses, because of the way the lenses are designed to go from a single power to an additional power, there is an increase in light scatter. As a result, the light doesn’t enter your eye as efficiently with older standard lenses compared to what is coming out today.
The Varilux Physio lens works to solve that issue by correcting lenses to give you a sharper vision and increase the amount of light that makes it to your eyes. If you foresee yourself being out and about at night fairly often, then these are the lenses for you.
3. Varilux Comfort Progressive Lenses
Comfort lenses are fantastic options for those who wear progressive lenses. They offer an easier transition between powers, wider vision areas that allow the use of peripheral vision, and reduced astigmatism to further reduce swim.
They were designed to compensate for people’s natural movements to include the way people move their bodies, heads, and eyes in relation to visual stimuli. As a result, they provide an excellent experience for the average person. As visual demands naturally increase with today’s technology, these lenses allow you to easily go in between visual zones.
4. DEFINITY Progressive Lenses
DEFINITY lenses are ground-view lenses. That makes them the best option for active individuals such as those that enjoy sports. Their design is intuitive in the way that when you look through the lenses, you feel like you’re using a single lens pair of glasses.
Not only do you see clearly at any distance, the ground-view capability means you have an extra zone at the bottom of the lens that lets you focus on the ground without any issues. You can also use that same zone when you’re using your computer or anything else that demands your eyes work properly.
Why You Would Need Progressive Lenses
Progressive lenses can help with several different vision conditions. Your average person could likely even receive some sort of benefit to either their near or far vision, but ideally, you would want to wait until presbyopia begins.
That doesn’t mean you have to wait to get progressive lenses, even if it is recommended. To help you make sense of this, if you’re the type that needs multiple pairs of glasses for different activities like reading, using your computer, watching TV, as well as other things, you may actually be a candidate for progressives.
You don’t have to have had vision issues before being diagnosed with presbyopia either. It happens to just about everyone as you get older. Presbyopia begins when you start having blurry vision up close when you’ve never had an issue with it before. For people that are nearsighted, you will notice it when your eyes start to see blurry images even while wearing corrective lenses for seeing farther distances.
You’re also a good candidate for progressives if you have astigmatism. Astigmatism is the result of your eye not being round but instead, is more shaped like a football. The difference in angles results in the light hitting other places around the inside of your eyes instead of the center like it is supposed to.
Progressives are useful for astigmatism because it encourages your eyes to work more efficiently as they peer through the various zones on your lenses. These zones filter light in such a way to improve your vision, so it can be useful when considering what types of lenses to use.
A Few Last Words on Progressive Lenses
As you get older, your eyes are going to start having trouble. It’s a normal thing almost like a rite of passage. Chances are that you’re probably going to need glasses at some point to compensate for these differences in your vision, too.
Those glasses are going to have progressive, bifocal, or trifocal lenses depending on what your needs are. Thanks to advances in technology, you have a choice now that includes lenses that not only correct your vision appropriately, but they also can conform to your lifestyle.