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What are Progressive Lenses?

Progressive lenses, also known as multifocal lenses, help people see objects that are up close, in the middle distance, and far away. If you have trouble reading a road sign, get headaches whilst doing computer work, or find yourself squinting at your phone, progressive lenses may provide a solution.

They work by combining several prescriptions into one lens, so you don’t need to swap between glasses to see different distances. Progressive lenses are a common form of vision correction for people who have age related eye deterioration, often starting when they enter into their 40s and beyond. They are also an increasingly popular form of vision correction to help control shortsightedness amongst school aged children.

Keep reading to learn more about progressive lenses and whether they are right for you.

What are progressive lenses

Progressive lenses (also known as no-line bifocals) are multifocal lenses. They are designed to help people who have trouble with both near and far vision, as well as intermediate vision. Progressive lenses combine the three prescriptions that you need to treat these vision problems, all within the one lens.

At Oscar Wylee, we offer a range of lenses, including progressive lenses, so you can check your texts (close-up work), do your computer work (middle-distance work) and drive to the shops (far distance work), all with the same pair of glasses. We also have a range of lens indexes available, including high index lenses , so you can pick how thick your lenses are.

Progressive lenses vs bifocal and trifocal lenses

Progressive lenses are unique from other bifocal or trifocal lenses as they do not have a visible line separating each prescription or lens power. A bifocal lens for example has two prescriptions to assist with near and far vision, separated by a visible line. Similarly, a trifocal lens has three prescriptions, and two corresponding lines to separate each prescription. The transition from each prescription within a bifocal or trifocal lens is distinct.

Progressive lenses do not have this visible line nor are they broken up into these rigid sections. Instead, the prescriptions in a progressive lens are blended together, allowing for a smooth transition when switching between far and near vision.

Single vision lenses vs progressive lenses

Unlike progressive lenses, a single vision lens has just one prescription. This means that if you have trouble seeing things in the distance (nearsightedness) or close up (farsightedness), you will need two pairs of glasses, as there is only one prescription per single vision lens. An example of a single vision lens is our Oscar Wylee reading glasses. These glasses have one prescription over the whole lens, for near work only.

How do progressive lenses work?

Progressive lenses aim to correct both nearsightedness and farsightedness, whilst also helping with middle distance vision issues. They do so by combining three prescriptions into one lens. The top of the lens is powered to help you view long distances clearly. The middle of the lens helps you to see at an intermediate distance, and the bottom section helps you to see close up.

The progressive lens is designed without a visible line separating each prescription. This means that there is a gradual shift in the strength of the lens. You can write a text on your phone, then glance up at the television, and the change in distance vision will be smooth.

progressive lenses illustralion

The pros and cons of progressive lenses

Everyone’s eyes are different, so the corrective glasses that we need to help with vision issues will vary from person to person. This is especially applicable in the case of progressive lenses. Whilst these lenses are revered by some, for others they are too hard to get used to and end up being the wrong choice. It is important to assess the pros and cons of progressive lenses, and talk through your decision with your Oscar Wylee optometrist and dispenser, before deciding to purchase.

Benefits of progressive lenses

Progressive lenses have a range of benefits from vision correction to convenience considerations. Progressive lenses are effective in treating a wide range of eye conditions, including far and nearsightedness. They can also help those with astigmatism. Progressive lenses are effective in treating presbyopia, an age related condition in which the eye struggles to focus on objects, specifically close objects.

Source: Good Vision for Life.

Another major benefit of progressive lenses is their convenience. With three prescriptions all on the one lens, you do not need to switch between several pairs of glasses.

Progressive lenses disadvantages

A major disadvantage with a progressive lens is how hard they can be to adjust to. One of the main reasons for this is what’s referred to as “soft focus”. Through the central corridor of the lenses, starting from the top (distance prescription) running through to the bottom (near prescription) is where you will get the best vision. The further away you look from this corridor, the more distortions, or soft focus, you will notice. The wider this corridor, the larger the area of clear vision and the easier it is to adapt to.

Other common problems

Nausea and headaches are some of the most common problems people face when first using progressive lenses. Dizziness may also occur along with blurred vision. Whilst most find their vision eventually adapts, many people will have increased difficulty adjusting to progressive lenses. For these people, progressive lenses may not be the right choice.

Get a Full Quote in Store

Get fitted for your multifocal glasses at Oscar Wylee by visiting us in store and talk to our friendly staff for a complete quote.

All major health funds accepted.

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How to adjust to progressive lenses

Even if you have worn glasses previously, there is often a period of adjustment that is required with progressive lenses. The following are steps you can take to make the adjustment period easier:

  • Wear your new lenses as much as possible. The more they are used, the quicker your eyes should adjust.
  • Start using them in a familiar environment like your home. While sitting on your couch, in front of the tv and holding your phone in front of you, try getting used to looking through the different zones of the glasses.
  • Don’t give up and go back to your old glasses. This can push back any progress you have made with your new progressive lenses.
  • You’ll need to move your head when looking around, pointing your nose in the direction you want to see, not just your eyes. For example, if you are about to walk up a flight of stairs and you are only using your eyes to look at the floor, you most likely will be looking through the near vision prescription and it will distort the steps.

At Oscar Wylee, our progressive lenses come with a 1 month vision warranty. Come in and see the team if you are still having difficulty adjusting to the progressive lenses within this period. If you want to learn more about Oscar Wylee’s warranty policy, you can have a look at our warranty page.

Getting used to progressive lenses with astigmatism

Astigmatism is a condition in which the cornea part of the eye is misshapen. This means light does not focus properly on your retina, causing vision to be blurred or distorted. Like anyone else adjusting to new glasses, people with newly diagnosed astigmatism, or those who have had their astigmatism prescription changed, may experience nausea, dizziness and headaches, as well as visual distortions, whilst adjusting to the glasses. However, generally astigmatism would not affect or increase the difficulty of adapting to multifocals.

Source: Good Vision for Life

How to tell if your progressive lenses are correct

There are certain tells you can look out for when deciding if your progressive lenses are right for your eyes. If you find yourself needing to move your head or your glasses significantly when using progressive lenses, you may need to have your frames readjusted, to better fit your face.

Blurring is another common complaint when getting new progressive lenses and something to keep an eye on. Blurring along the sides of the glasses is normal. Due to the design of the progressive lenses, they have to have soft peripheral focus/distortions as a by-product. However, if you feel the blurriness is beyond this area, or if you experience blurriness lasting longer than the adjustment period, you may need to have your progressive lenses examined.

The good news is that all of these issues can be fixed by coming into Oscar Wylee. Our in-store team can consult with you and figure out how to correct any issues with your progressive lenses.

Progressive lens prices: How much do they cost?

At Oscar Wylee, we provide three types of progressive or multifocal lenses to suit your needs: our Multifocal Standard lens, Multifocal Premium lens and Multifocal Elite lens. You can choose one of these multifocals for your glasses at an additional cost on top of your Standard Optical Glasses selection.

Our Multifocal lenses are not available to purchase in our online store however. So make sure to visit us in-store for further quotes and purchases.

Who uses progressive lenses?

Progressive lenses can be worn by anyone who has trouble with their vision. However, they are most often used to treat those in their 40s and beyond, who have vision problems that stem from aging. These vision problems may include presbyopia. They have also been shown to help reduce myopia progression in young children.

Do I need progressive lenses?

If you are having trouble seeing objects at far, intermediate or near distances, and are unsure if you need progressives lenses, the best way to move forwards is by having an eye test. At Oscar Wylee, our experienced optometrists provide Medicare bulk-billed eye tests. You can book a test online or visit your local Oscar Wylee store to discuss an appointment. It is recommended that you see an optometrist at least once every 2 years for an eye test.

If you already have glasses and think you’d prefer a progressive lens over a single vision or bifocal lens, come into one of our stores and speak with our experienced staff who can assist you.

book an eye test with Oscar Wylee

Book an eye test

Oscar Wylee offers bulk billed eye tests, so there are no out-of-pocket expenses for eligible Medicare card holders.