5 Frequently Asked Questions About Progressive Lenses

Progressive lenses are multifocal glasses that allow you to see at many distances without the presence of a bifocal line. At Crowfoot Vision Centre, we recommend progressives lenses to patients who don’t want to wear bifocals or switch between different pairs of glasses. In this post, we’ll walk you through what makes progressive lenses so unique, some of the common problems associated with them, and what you can do to make the adjustment period more manageable.


1. What are progressive lenses?
Progressive lenses, sometimes called “no-line bifocals,” are designed for people that experience problems seeing up close as well as at a distance. With progressives, the magnifying power changes gradually on the lens surface, allowing for a seamless progression from distance to near vision. This is a marked improvement from bifocals, where the top and bottom parts for distance and near vision are separated with a visible line.

2. Why choose progressive lenses?
Progressives cost more than bifocals, but they offer major benefits. The slow progression between magnifying powers prevents the image jump associated with bifocals, where images appear to abruptly change position when your eyes move across the bifocal line. Plus, progressive lenses look the same as single-vision glasses, which is appealing if you want to avoid bifocals for cosmetic reasons. For more information, check out our blog post on choosing between bifocals and progressive lenses.

3. What are some common problems during the adjustment period?
Progressive lenses can be difficult to get used to. Many people experience dizziness, headaches and problems with depth perception when first wearing progressive lenses. These are normal side effects and should go away as you adjust to having multiple magnifying powers present in one lens.

4. What can you do to adjust to progressive lenses?

It takes time to figure out where to look when wearing progressives. For instance, when reading, you’ll need to tilt your eyes slightly downward to see through the near-vision portion of the lens. To use your intermediate vision while at a computer, tilt your head slightly back to see through the correct portion of the lens. You’ll also need to turn your whole head rather than just your eyes when looking to your left and right. This will help with the peripheral distortion that occurs at the lenses’ edges.

If you’re still struggling to adapt after two weeks, you should contact your optometrist. You may have the wrong prescription, the glasses may not have been properly fitted or the pupillary distance (PD) may have been incorrectly placed on the lenses.

5. How do you get progressive lenses?
The best way to avoid problems is to purchase progressive lenses directly from your Calgary optometry centre so your eye doctor can confirm that the glasses are right for you. Our optometrists are happy to discuss progressive lenses with you as well as multifocal options for contact lenses. To make an appointment at Crowfoot Vision Centre in Calgary, contact us today.

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