Progressive Lenses for Presbyopia

by Sep 4, 2019

Presbyopia is the term given to the acquired farsightedness that most people experience in their 40’s.  This condition, which is characterized by blurred near vision due to the loss of focusing ability, is a frustrating process that is impossible to ignore.  Luckily, many options exist to address the symptoms of presbyopia. Over-the-counter reading glasses are a cost-effective option, though frequently putting on and taking off glasses to address reading needs can be tedious.  Lined bifocal glasses are a more efficient option, but many people find the line of the bifocal optically confusing or cosmetically annoying. Progressive lenses are an option for lenses that treat presbyopia that avoid these problems.  These lenses can be worn fulltime, provide clear vision at a wide range of distances, and do not have the annoying line associated with no-lined bifocals.  


How Do Progressive Lenses Work?

Progressive lenses contain a three different prescriptions within one lens.  A power gradient is ground into the lens, meaning the top, middle, and bottom portion of progressive lenses contain different optical powers.  The top of a progressive lenses contains the distance prescription, providing clear vision for distances about 6 feet and beyond. The middle portion of the lens is designed to correct for an intermediate distance, such as the dashboard of a car or a computer screen.  Like a lined bifocal, the bottom portion of the lens contains the reading prescription, which can be used to provide clear vision for near work.  


Are Progressive Lenses Right for You?

No-line bifocal lenses can be an option for many people experiencing presbyopia.  If you are interested in wearing glasses fulltime, but wish to avoid the cosmetic draw-back of a lined bifocal, then progressive lenses should be considered.  Beyond the benefit of cosmetics, removing the line of the bifocal eliminates the possibility of a distracting and disorientating image jump that can occur in lined bifocals when shifting fixation from distance to near.  Progressive lenses have the added benefit of providing clear vision at intermediate distances, which lined bifocals and reading glasses are unable properly do. The wide range of clear vision and the seamless progression between optical powers makes many people consider vision through progressive lenses to be most similar to natural vision before the onset of presbyopia.  


What to Expect with No-Line Bifocals

While progressive lenses have many positive benefits, there are some other aspects to consider that may make the lenses difficult to initially adapt to.  In order to fit the distance, intermediate, and near prescriptions into one lens, the optical laboratory must grind the lens so that some mild distortions are present in the lens periphery.  This means that the eyes should maintain fixation through the central portion of the lens, and avoid looking through the side of the lens in order to prevent a disorienting “swimming” effect.  It may take some time, even up to two weeks, to adapt to new progressive lenses and their specialty design. It is particularly important to take care with tasks that require depth perception, such as going up and down stairs, during the first few weeks of using a progressive lens.  While the lens design may require a short adaptation period, many people are thrilled with the vision they have with progressive lenses once they are well adjusted. 


Our eye doctors and staff at Nittany Eye Care excel in the diagnosis and management of presbyopia and progressive lenses.  Call us at (814) 234-2015 or schedule an appointment online.  Our optometrists provide the highest quality eye care services in the State College, Matilda, Spring Mills, Tyrone, and Lock Haven PA areas. 

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