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Presbyopia and Progressive Lenses

It’s nearly inevitable everyone of a “certain age” will need some assistance to see close. Most people begin to notice a need for multifocal glasses after age 40. This is when the normal aging process of your eyes cause the lens to be harder and less elastic, making it difficult to accommodate from distance to near.

There was a time when this would mean that you would be stuck with bifocals or trifocals. They had a harsh line across the bottom that not only announced your age, but also caused an annoying image jump when moving between the upper and lower portion of the lens.

Today’s first choice when needing a multifocal lens is to select a progressive addition lens. PAL’s, as they are commonly called, look exactly like a single vision lens while allowing you to see at all distances. As in many cases of modern technology it does require a small amount of patience and persistence while adjusting.

The technically advanced design of a progressive lens is a single lens with several focal lengths.  This allows the wearer the ability to use all focal lengths by effortlessly moving your head allowing you to see up and down with your eyes. Most people, given time do not even realize that they are utilizing all focal lengths, the movement becomes so natural.

Tips for wearing progressive lenses successfully

Discussion. Begin with a conversation with your optician. There are many options in progressive lens designs, a discussion with your eyecare provider can help ensure that you are selecting the correct design for your needs.

Frame selection. Choosing a frame that allows adequate vertical depth to maximize utilization of all three focal lengths is important. The frame may look fantastic on you but if its not the right frame for your prescription and lens choice it will only frustrate you…and your optician. 🙂

Measurements.  Be mindful of your natural posture while your optician is measuring for the height of your progressive lens. Make sure the frame is place in a position that you normally like to wear your glasses, meaning if you tend to wear glasses a little low on the bridge of your nose the measurements must be taken accordingly.

Picking up your new glasses. When you arrive at your eyecare providers to pick up the new glasses, take the time to sit with the optician. Be sure the glasses are comfortably sitting securely on your face. If they are not fitted properly and sliding down your nose it makes the adjustment to the progressive lens nearly impossible.

A few other things to keep in mind is give yourself time to adjust, don’t switch back and forth between new and old glasses. Wear them as consistently as possible. Move your head to see things, not your eyes, and point your nose at what you want to focus on. When you walk look straight ahead, not down at the floor.

When reading hold material about 16 inches away from your eyes and look through the bottom of the lens. Set your computer screen just below eye level.

In closing remember that progressive lenses are a multi-functional pair of glasses to be worn for general daily use. If you have hobbies or an occupation which require extended periods of a near only focal length you may want to consider an additional pair of task glasses for use in these special purposes.

By Lynette Terzieff, ABOC

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