Progressive eyeglasses: what are they and how do they benefit you?

When shopping for eyeglasses from Alensa, you have the option to select an innovative new form of multifocal lenses -- progressive eyeglass lenses-- for your favourite frames. You may be familiar with the older bifocal or trifocal lenses but progressives take the concept into a more advanced dimension. Progressive lenses manage to combine three optical zones seamlessly into one eyeglass lens, providing vision correction for nearby, medium distance, and far away. Progressive multifocal lenses essentially do away with the visible harsh lines that characterise bifocals and trifocals. It’s not wrong to call them “upgraded trifocals” as they provide a sleeker all-in-one solution with invisible transitions, for those in need of multifocal correction .

Woman with progressive glasses

What does a progressive lens look like?

The lens has been asymmetrically designed to accommodate the way the eyes work. Each zone gradually transitions into the next one without any breaks.

  • The top half of the lens is used for seeing in the far distance, e.g. the surrounding scenery or road.
  • The middle area helps see things at an intermediate distance, e.g. a computer or the car dashboard.
  • The bottom part is designed to see nearby, e.g. a book or smartphone.
  • The areas to the side are always slightly blurred or distorted due to how progressive lenses are built to ensure their functioning properly. This is called peripheral distortion.
Progressive lens zones

Seeing through each zone typically works by slightly tilting the head and shifting your focus to a different area of the lens.

Who needs them?

Progressive lenses are used to correct a vision condition called presbyopia. This condition is usually associated with age and makes it harder to see things up close, on top of any other refractive errors the patient may have (nearsightedness, etc.). It therefore requires glasses or lenses that have an additional correction, allowing the user to once again see clearly across all distances. You’ll often see this value described as ADD on your eye prescription. As mentioned before, progressive eyeglasses provide an upgrade to bifocals. Like trifocals, they provide a correction for nearby, medium distance, and far away, whereas bifocals do not include the medium distance field. So, this type of lenses is for users that, for example, need one lens to read a book, look at the computer screen, and see what’s in the distance clearly.

What are the advantages of progressive lenses?

There are several huge benefits to switching to progressive multifocal eyeglasses:

  • You’re set with just one pair of eyeglasses that is able to provide accurate vision correction across all distances.
  • There are no harsh, visible lines separating the optical zones, which means that your glasses will look more youthful and modern.
  • Because the zones now gradually transition into each other, you’ll no longer notice "image-jumps" (where an image abruptly changes shape/position when viewed from a different optical zone).
  • Your progressive lenses will receive an amazing set of standard lens enhancements in our shop.
  • You can upgrade your lenses even further with a blue light-blocking filter, self-tinting function or turn them into permanently tinted sunglass lenses.
  • You can choose between different categories of progressive lenses, depending on your needs.

What to keep in mind regarding progressive lenses

For those looking to wear progressive eyeglasses, there are a couple of things to make note of:

  • Learning how to switch between optical zones happens quite naturally but it takes some time for your brain to adjust. You may find them slightly uncomfortable in the beginning but, as time passes, you’ll find them far more comfortable than bifocals. However, a very low number of people never fully adjust to using this type of lens.
  • The peripheral distortions are unavoidable for any type of progressive lens. Your eye and brain usually adjust to this well and you learn to see through each zone efficiently without being bothered by any distortions in your periphery.
  • Progressive lenses have a slightly higher price tag attached to them but offer a lot of benefits in return.

What’s the difference between our types of progressive lenses?

Our most basic “Classic” lenses provide all the basic needs for those looking for a good, solid progressive lens. Choosing a more advanced lens, however, increases the comfort and quality of the lens. More advanced technologies are used to shrink the peripheral distortions and widen the optical zones for intermediate and close distance. So, the choice on whether you're fine with a basic one or need a more advanced one is yours.