Presbyopia, or farsightedness caused by reduced elasticity of the eye’s lens, affects nearly everyone older than 65.
About 42 percent of Americans who are in their prime are nearsighted. For them, a simple pair of reading glasses can’t solve the problem of presbyopia, and that’s where bifocals, trifocals, and progressive lenses come in.
Options For Correcting Presbyopia
Bifocals are simply glasses with lenses that have one area that corrects nearsightedness and a smaller area in the lower half that corrects farsightedness. As presbyopia worsens, middle distances can also become difficult to focus on. This can be corrected by trifocals, which add a strip in between the two prescriptions in bifocals, allowing wearers to see things like their computer screens better.
The trouble with bifocals and especially trifocals is that the lines between the different sections of the lens are difficult for the wearer to ignore, causing a jarring “image jump” effect, and they also serve as a giveaway to other people that they’re getting older. Fortunately, people who are nearsighted and dealing with presbyopia have another option that doesn’t have these drawbacks, and that’s progressive lenses.
How Progressive Lenses Work
So how do progressive lenses do the same job as bifocals or trifocals without those pesky lines? Unlike bifocals and trifocals, which are multiple lenses combined into one, a progressive lens is a single lens. The prescription gradually changes along a corridor of power from distance vision at the top to middle vision in the center to near vision at the bottom. This allows wearers to see at all distances, depending on how they tilt their heads.
There is a tradeoff to make this complex lens design possible, which is that anything seen through the bottom corners of a progressive lens will look blurred. However, newer designs and technology are helping to reduce this flaw. In addition, when optometrists examine patients for these lenses, they take measurements of the eyes and frames so they can put that corridor of power in the exact location it needs to be so patients can see normally.
Tips On Adjusting To Progressive Lenses
Like any new prescription, progressive lenses require an adjustment period. If you’re thinking about trading in those trifocals for some sleek progressive lenses, or if you’re new to progressive lenses and struggling to adjust, here are some tips to make the process easier.
- Make sure your glasses are properly fitted so that they stay high on your nose where you can get the most out of them.
- Move your head to see different things, not your eyes, and point your nose at what you want to focus on.
- Practice focusing on different distances by reading a magazine while watching TV.
- Stick with them! Switching back and forth to your old glasses will make adjusting much more difficult, so resist the temptation!
Come In To See Your Optometrist
Don’t hesitate to come to your local Vision Source® member optometrist with any questions you have about progressive lenses. They’ll be happy to prescribe you the perfect lenses as well as help you find the perfect frames, and they can’t wait to see you!
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