Buying Glasses? Consider Progressive Lenses


If you're looking for glasses or contact lenses, you may have come across the term "progressive lenses." But what are progressive lenses, and how do they differ from other types of multifocal lenses? In this article, we'll explore progressive lens technology and help you decide if it's right for your vision needs.

Progressive lenses in brief

Progressive lenses are a type of lens that can be prescribed to people who have presbyopia or astigmatism. They're also recommended for those with vision problems in both eyes (called binocular vision) or when wearing single vision prescription glasses.

Progressive lenses offer significant advantages over standard bifocal and trifocal lenses, including:

  • Increased field of view

  • More flexibility in selecting the best power for different tasks

  • Increased comfort and ease of use

Your glasses prescription

A progressive lens prescription will have a higher number than a single-vision prescription, but lower than a bifocal or trifocal. For example, a typical single vision prescription is written as: -0.25; +0.75 x 130 (left) and 0; +1.00 x 150 (right). A progressive lens would then be expressed like this: -0.50; +1.00 x 135 (left), -2.00; +2.50 x 155 (right).

The first part of your progressive lens prescription indicates the powers of each eye’s central area—the primary focus point—while the second part provides numbers for peripheral vision.* This means that with one pair of glasses on and another off, you’ll see more clearly around your primary focal point when wearing progressive lenses.*

Reading glasses vs. bifocals vs. progressive lenses

Progressive lenses are a little more difficult to adjust than standard reading glasses, but you will still find them very easy to use. The bifocal lens has two focal points, one for distance and one for near vision. This means that if you use your computer or read a book while wearing your bifocal glasses, they will be far more difficult to adjust than progressive lenses.

Progressive lenses also have multiple focal points so they're easier to use in many circumstances. If you have presbyopia (age-related eye deterioration) and need reading glasses but don't wear them all day long, progressive lenses may be the best option for you because they provide both close-up and distance vision without having multiple pairs of glasses or switching between two pairs of different types of lenses throughout the day.

What type of progressive lens is best for you?

Before you decide to buy progressive lenses, it's important to understand how they work and whether or not they are a good fit for your lifestyle. Progressive lenses are not for everyone. There are a few situations in which the use of progressive lenses may not be ideal:

  • People with presbyopia (an age-related condition that causes vision to become blurry at near distances) should consider using bifocals or trifocals instead of progressives due to their immediate need for accurate distance vision.

  • People with astigmatism (a misshapen cornea or lens) may also benefit from traditional glasses over progressives. By providing clear vision at all distances, traditional glasses can help those with astigmatism achieve better overall visual acuity than by using just one type of lens material like standard plastic used in most progressive frames. This is because certain types of plastics can distort light depending on what direction it's coming from and cause confusion when trying to read text straight ahead; however with regular glasses there isn't any distortion caused by different types of plastic so finding the right prescription will ensure clearer vision no matter where your eyes look!

Progressive lenses for astigmatism

If you have astigmatism, you may be wondering if progressive lenses can help. As a matter of fact, yes! Progressive lenses are ideal for people with any kind of vision issue that makes it difficult to see close up or far away. They will also help with reading, computer use, driving and general vision.

If you don't know what astigmatism is, here's the deal: It's when the curvature of your cornea (the clear front part of your eye) isn't perfectly round. That means light focusing onto the retina (the back part) doesn't happen evenly across the entire surface area of your eyeball—and that can cause blurriness and distortion when looking at objects close up or far away from where they should look straight ahead without turning their heads while wearing glasses only corrected for one distance but not both simultaneously like wearing bifocals instead because progressive lenses provide better visual acuity than bifocals do because they can correct for nearsightedness and farsightedness

Progressive lenses for kids and teens

For children and teens, it’s important to note that progressive lenses are not recommended for those under 13. The reason: the way your eye focuses in on objects changes as you grow up and reach puberty, so it may be possible that a child who needs progressives will outgrow them by age 13 or 14. Because progressive lenses aren’t prescribed for children under 13 (and younger), there aren’t any studies about how well they work for this age group specifically. If you have a young child who is nearsighted or farsighted and is struggling with their vision, your best bet may be prescription glasses or contacts to correct their eyesight until they reach adolescence.

When you need multifocal lenses, progressives can be a good solution.

If you have trouble seeing up close, such as when reading or working on a computer, and you don’t need to see clearly at a distance too, progressive lenses may be worth considering. They work well for people who want to avoid bifocals or are looking for the convenience of one pair of glasses for both near and far distances.

Progressive lenses are designed to provide clear vision at all viewing distances without switching frames—so they can provide both intermediate and distance vision through multifocal lenses in a single lens design. Unlike those who wear bifocals or trifocals (which require two separate sets of glasses), those with progressive lenses can use their preferred frame style throughout the day—including sunglasses—and still be able to see clearly from far away when needed.


If you have astigmatism, reading glasses aren’t always going to be the best solution. Progressive lenses can be a good option for people with this type of vision problem. They can also help if you need reading glasses but still want to keep your distance vision clear and strong. If you have presbyopia and are considering multifocal lenses but aren’t sure where to start, talk with an optometrist who can help you decide which type is right for your needs