Around the age of 40, most people (even those with “perfect vision”) begin to experience problems focusing on near objects and fine print. These normal age-related changes, called presbyopia, are caused by a hardening and loss of flexibility of the intraocular lens (inside the eye). As these changes begin, reading and focusing become harder causing eyestrain, blurry vision, and headaches.
Reading glasses and Bifocal glasses can help with these changes – but most people have trouble multi-tasking with these types of glasses. Reading glasses only work for a short range of close distances, and Bifocals do not provide any intermediate vision (the area between 24 inches and 10ft) – and have visible lines etched into the lenses. As the world has become more technology-focused, Progressive glasses have replaced these other types of glasses as the best option for meeting every day vision needs, as they allow multi-tasking at all ranges – and are more attractive cosmetically (no lines).
In a Progressive lens, the distance prescription is set in the top “straight ahead” position (perfect for tasks such as driving or watching TV). As your eyes travel downward in the lens, the prescription changes gradually in a gradient fashion, allowing you to focus on closer and closer objects (such as the computer screen or dashboard of your car). The bottom portion of the lens gives the strongest “reading” prescription, giving clear vision for close objects and fine print. There are no “lines” or harsh transition zones in a Progressive lens – the lenses are smooth and clear, and look like a regular pair of glasses.
Benefits of Progressive glasses over bifocals or reading glasses:
- Vision for all distances (near, far, and in between)
- Ability to multi-task without removing glasses or switching pairs
- No “lines” etched into the lenses (lenses are smooth and clear)
- Smooth transitions for the eye between different distances (no harsh “jumps” in vision)
However, not all Progressives are created equal. Older style progressives utilize a “hard” design that gives a very narrow intermediate and reading corridor. These older progressives are pre-made, in a “one size fits all” approach. Many people have a hard time adjusting to these older lenses due to the very narrow reading areas, and enormous amounts of side distortion. In contrast, the newer styles of Progressive lenses are “freeform” and “digital” – they have a much wider reading and intermediate area, and a lot less side distortion than the older style Progressives. These modern Progressives are custom lenses designed specifically for your measurements, your prescription, and the frame that you have chosen. “One size fits all” may be adequate for a t-shirt, but it is not the best approach when it comes to something as important as your vision.
In my office, we offer the latest in technology – digitally surfaced, freeform, custom Progressive lenses. Each pair is custom-made to a patient’s own measurements and prescription, and takes into account the width and depth of the frame selected. My staff of American Board of Opticianry certified opticians have the up-to-date skills and knowledge to correctly fit and measure these lenses that I prescribe for my patients. We are currently accepting new patients, and would be happy to discuss these types of lenses with you – please stop by or call for an appointment!
-Dr. Mika Fu