Changes happen throughout your body as you get older, and your eyes aren't immune to the effects of the aging process. As you age, the lens of your eye becomes more rigid, which makes it harder for you to focus on objects that are close to you. This change makes it hard for you to do things like read a book, and in years past, you would've needed to get bifocals. Eyeglass technology has moved forward in recent years, so while your parents probably wore bifocals, you have another option: progressive lenses. Here's what you need to know about them.
What are progressive lenses?
When you were younger, you only needed your glasses to help you see objects that were far away. Your lenses were a solid piece of plastic, and the entire lens had the same prescription strength. Now, you need one prescription for seeing far away objects and another for seeing near objects. This is why some people wear reading glasses, but switching between multiple pairs of glasses is annoying. Progressive lenses allow you to have multiple prescription strengths within a single pair of eyeglasses.
How do they differ from bifocals?
Bifocals consist of two separate pieces of plastic, each with a different prescription. The distance prescription makes up the top half of the lens while the near prescription makes up the bottom half. These glasses have a visible horizontal line through the lens; many people don't think this line is attractive, and it can also be hard to get used to looking through it.
Progressive lenses are made of one solid piece of plastic to avoid the visible horizontal line that bifocals have. They have gradual transitions between your prescriptions for near vision and far vision to make them both more attractive and easier to use than bifocals.
Can they also replace trifocals?
Some people need three vision prescriptions: one for near vision, one for far vision, and one for intermediate vision, such as using a computer. If you're one of them, trifocals aren't your only option. You can also get progressive lenses. These lenses can be made with smooth transitions between your three different prescription strengths.
Are progressive lenses hard to get used to?
Bifocals are well-known for being hard to get used to due to the visible line that runs across your field of vision. This line can make images jump as they move past the line and can give some people headaches. With progressive lenses, you don't need to worry about the problem of images jumping in front of you, but there is still an adjustment period.
You need to learn which parts of your lenses to look through for certain tasks. You need to look:
- straight forward when you are viewing an object in the intermediate distance;
- down when you are viewing a near object;
- up when you are looking at something far away.
For many things, like reading or using a computer, this is intuitive, but some tasks require a bit more adjustment. For example, if you look down at your feet when you're walking up the stairs, you'll probably look through the near distance portion of your lenses; when you have progressive lenses, you need to learn to use the intermediate distance portion.
Most people get used to their new progressive lenses quickly. If you're having trouble getting used to your new lenses, make a follow-up appointment with your optometrist. The lenses may need to be adjusted.
Progressive lenses are a great way to correct aging vision without the inconvenience of reading glasses or the unattractiveness of bifocals. If you are having trouble seeing near objects with your glasses, make an appointment with your optometrist to see if progressive lenses are a good fit for you.