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How to Adjust to Progressive Lenses

Progressive lenses are multifocal lenses that correct for nearsightedness, farsightedness and everything in between. They’re different from other multifocal lenses, like bifocals, because they have a gradual transition from top to bottom instead of two separate prescriptions. It often takes time getting used to progressive lenses as you transition between prescriptions, especially if this is your first pair of glasses with progressive lenses.

Quick Tips for Progressives

Parts of a Progressive Lens

progressive lens
  • Distance: The top of the lens is for viewing things at a distance—the cars in front of you while driving or your friend across the room.
  • Intermediate: The middle has a smaller area for viewing intermediate objects—desktop computers and that same friend standing next to you.
  • Near: The bottom has a small area for things close to you like a book or a cell phone.
  • Prism: The lower left and right periphery of a progressive lens make objects look blurred and distorted—these are called peripheral distortions. This distortion is normal and part of why there is an adjustment period for progressive lenses.

Tips for Adjusting to Progressive Lenses

  • Start Early: Start wearing your new glasses at the beginning of the day. If you switch to a new prescription during the day, your brain will have a difficult time adjusting.
  • Be Consistent: Only wear your new progressive glasses. Switching between different prescriptions will make adapting to your new prescription difficult.
  • Check Fit: Ensure your glasses sit high on the bridge of your nose. If your glasses slide down throughout the day you’ll have a harder time finding the best eye and head placement.
  • Use Your Head: When viewing objects in front of you that are at a distance or within an arm’s length away, slowly raise and lower your head until they come into focus. When viewing something off to the side, point your nose toward what you’re looking at and repeat the previous movements. When reading something close up, drop your eyes down so they’re looking through the bottom part of the lens. When looking at the floor tilt your head toward your chest and look down so that you are looking through the top of the lens.

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Single Vision vs. Progressive Prescriptions

Learn the difference between single vision and progressive lens prescriptions.

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