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What You Should Know About Progressive Lenses

Updated on July 24, 2018
Vellur profile image

A Botany graduate, Nithya Venkat enjoys researching and writing about topics that interest her.

Reading Glass
Reading Glass | Source

Progressive lenses are multifocal lenses that help to focus clearly on objects at different distances.

Progressive lenses have no visible demarcation lines, and they seamlessly integrate clear vision for - far, middle and near distance objects. These lenses also help to correct age-related vision problems.

Progressive Lenses
Progressive Lenses | Source

Why choose progressive lenses?

Before deciding to go in for progressive lenses, you should know what benefits these lenses have to offer and find out about the advantages and disadvantages of wearing progressive lenses.

Here are the two main reasons why you should choose progressive lenses -

1. Seamless transition of vision at varying distances

Bifocal lenses have a clear demarcating line in the middle. The top portion of the eyeglass helps to see objects that are far and the lower portion helps to see objects that are near and also helps to read.

  • since there is a line demarcating the top and the bottom portion of the eyeglass it is difficult to adjust to it
  • when you see straight ahead you can see the line on the eyeglass and this can be difficult to get used to and can get quite annoying
  • when you drive or use the computer it can be very difficult because you have to see through the line.

Trifocal lenses help to correct vision for far, middle and near objects, but the problem is that they have two demarcating lines.

In the case of progressive lenses, the absence of the demarcating line makes them a lot better. The eyes are subjected to a gradual transition of vision for far, middle and near distance objects. Since there is a gradual transition, it is easier on the eyes.

Bifocals, Trifocals and Progressive - Vision Zones
Bifocals, Trifocals and Progressive - Vision Zones | Source

2. Eliminates the Need to Carry Two Spectacles

Some people who do not like the demarcating lines choose to go in for separate prescription glasses - one for correcting far sight and another for correcting near sight.

When you have two different eyeglasses, you have to keep switching between the two, and this can get tedious, especially when you have to read something in a hurry.

Another thing is that you have to remember to carry both with you at all times or have one hanging around your neck.

Another advantage is that when you wear progressive lenses that are photochromatic you need not carry sunglasses to eliminate the glare from the sun and protects the eyes.

Types of Progressive Lenses

There are different types of progressive lenses based on the size of the vision zones.

Standard Progressive Lenses

Standard Progressive Lenses have a larger reading area, but you have to pick a large frame to fit all the three zones into the frame without having to cut the eyeglass. If you want narrow frames, then this will not be the type of progressive lenses for you.

Short Corridor Progressive Lenses

Short Corridor Progressive Lenses are for those who prefer narrow frames. When you choose a Short Corridor Progressive Lens, you must remember that the reading zone is very narrow.

Computer Progressive Lenses

Computer Progressive Lenses are also known as "Office Lenses" or "Near Variable Focus Lenses" are specially designed for office wear. These lenses offer a clear vision for distances ranging from 16 inches to 6 feet.

Computer Progressive Lenses are useful for those who want a clear vision for near and intermediate distances. For example, painters, artists, dentists, hairdressers and editors.

Premium Progressive Lenses

Premium Progressive Lenses are top of the line lenses custom made according to your preferences. They offer a wider distortion free reading area. These lenses are also referred to as "free form design lenses."

In the case of Premium Progressive Lenses, instead of trying to alter the size of the lens to fit the frame the progressive lens is custom made to fit all three zones of vision into the lens without having to cut or alter the lens size. These lenses are very expensive.

View through a progressive lens
View through a progressive lens | Source

Disadvantages of Progressive Lenses

Look at the image above to get a clear idea about the sides where the vision is distorted.

Vision Distortion on the Sides

Progressive lenses have many focal points that seamlessly integrate far, middle and near visions and because of this reason, there are two zones on the sides of the progressive lens that does not offer clear vision.

When a person sees through the sides of a progressive lens, the vision will be slightly distorted. The size of the distortion zones on the sides can be reduced when the progressive lenses are custom made.

Custom-made progressive lenses have very small distortion areas on the sides whereas in the case of standard progressive lenses the distortion areas are larger.

Perfect measurements

The optician should take precise measurements to make the progressive lenses. If the measurements are not correct, the progressive lens will not suit you, and the vision will be blurred.

Getting used to

It will take some time to get used to progressive lenses. You should follow all the instructions given to you by your optician. Some people may get headaches initially while getting used to progressive lenses.

Do not drive till you get used to the prescribed progressive lenses.

Price of progressive lenses

Progressive lenses are more expensive than a bifocal or a trifocal lens. Another point to consider is that most insurance companies do not cover progressive lenses.

In Short

Many people choose to wear progressive lenses because they are very comfortable once you get used to them. These lenses do not have the demarcating lines that can make seeing a difficult experience. When you drive or use the computer, vision through a progressive lens is much better than a bifocal or a trifocal lens.

Would you go in for progressive lenses?

See results

© 2015 Nithya Venkat


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    • profile image

      Sukhdev Shukla 

      16 months ago

      Very useful information, Nithya. I have been using progressive lenses since many years and find these very useful and convenient.

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      The person who measured me was short, and my chair could not be adjusted lower, so that my view of her nose while measuring me, was not horizontal. The dot was too high and the area of distance vision is too small. This could be useful information to your readers to prevent similar problems

    • Vellur profile imageAUTHOR

      Nithya Venkat 

      3 years ago from Dubai

      RTalloni bifocals are great for those who are used to it but some prefer progressive lenses. Thank you for your visit.

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      I've found progressives to be helpful recently but I hope yet to go back to the bifocal contacts which were amazing to wear.

    • Vellur profile imageAUTHOR

      Nithya Venkat 

      4 years ago from Dubai

      annart it takes a while to get used to these lenses but once we get accustomed to them it is great, thank you for stopping by.

      AliciaC thank you and am happy that you got to know about progressive lenses.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks for sharing the useful information, Vellur. I knew almost nothing about progressive lenses before reading your hub, so I appreciate the education!

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      4 years ago from SW England

      I use progressive lenses or varifocals as we call them in Britain. It took me a few days to get used to them, especially going up and down stairs, but now they're fine. Much better for going shopping; it was tedious having to take reading glasses to look at all the labels!

      Useful, informative hub.


    • Vellur profile imageAUTHOR

      Nithya Venkat 

      4 years ago from Dubai

      ChitrangadaSharan progressive lenses must be made well or else it will cause a lot of problems and will not suit the user. Thank you for your visit and vote up.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      4 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Good analysis of progressive lenses!

      I am wearing progressive lenses since 4 years and am quite satisfied with it. But you are right that precision is very important and it should be made by an expert optician in this field.

      Very useful and informative hub, voted up and thanks!

    • Vellur profile imageAUTHOR

      Nithya Venkat 

      4 years ago from Dubai

      torrilynn thank you and am glad this was helpful.

    • torrilynn profile image


      4 years ago

      thanks for your review on the advantages and disadvantages on progressive lenses. they were very helpful indeed. voted up.

    • Vellur profile imageAUTHOR

      Nithya Venkat 

      4 years ago from Dubai

      Jackie Lynnley am glad you came to know about these lenses, they are great to use.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      4 years ago from the beautiful south

      I just have the no line bifocal and I so hated getting glasses but it is much better to see than be vain and blind! I have heard there are bifocal contact lenses; will have to look into that. Thanks for the info on these; had no idea about these. ^+

    • Vellur profile imageAUTHOR

      Nithya Venkat 

      4 years ago from Dubai

      FlourishAnyway thank you and am glad you were able to get an idea.

      PegCole17 great that you got used to them, they are easy on the eyes and great to use. Thank you for stopping by.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      4 years ago from Northeast of Dallas, Texas

      Progressive lenses are really great but it does take a bit of getting used to them. Mine made me dizzy for the first few days after I received them. Have had several pairs now and enjoy using them.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      4 years ago from USA

      This is very helpful. I'm not there yet, but my mother is! Another good thing to look forward to. You did a great job describing pros, cons (I had no idea), price, etc.

    • Vellur profile imageAUTHOR

      Nithya Venkat 

      4 years ago from Dubai

      billybuc thank you, once you get used to progressive lenses there is no looking back.

      Faith Reaper thank you, progressive lenses are great. Thanks for the many votes, tweet and pin.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 

      4 years ago from southern USA

      Useful hub here. I believe I am a good candidate for progressive lenses as I know my eyesight has changed.

      Up useful and interesting, tweeting and pinning

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Good information. I've worn glasses since I was five...and progressive lenses for a number of years now. I like them. It took about two days for my eyes to adjust to them, but after that it was very easy.

    • Vellur profile imageAUTHOR

      Nithya Venkat 

      4 years ago from Dubai

      vasantha Tk thank you, progressive lenses have great advantages. Thanks for the vote up too.

    • vasantha  T k profile image

      vasantha T k 

      4 years ago from Bangalore

      Interesting write up, I am using progressive lenses. Voted up!


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