Statistically, people over the age of 40 are increasingly likely to develop vision problems called presbyopia. For most this is a natural part of the aging process and it represents an unavoidable change in the condition of their eyes. Particularly in the lens of the eye, which has a propensity for stiffening, which affects the eye’s ability to focus properly.

In the past corrective lenses like bifocal or multifocal eyeglasses were the only way to correct these types of vision issues. As a less costly alternative to surgical intervention. Though today, the corrective lens landscape has continued to change, to the point where innovative alternatives like progressive lenses are increasingly attractive.

What Re Progressive Lenses?

Progressive lenses are essentially “No-Line Bifocals.” They give your eyes a more youthful appearance compared to traditional bifocals or even multi-focal lenses. They are designed to help individuals with presbyopia to see clearly at all distances.

What Are The Advantages Of Progressive Lenses Compared To Bifocals?

Traditional bifocal eyeglass lenses have only two powers. The first is for seeing things at a distance, such as across a room. The second is for seeing things up close such as reading a newspaper. Unfortunately, some objects that are in between these distances such as a desktop computer screen can still be a little blurry or otherwise out of focus when viewed through bifocal lenses.

This usually causes bifocal wearers to develop a habit of bobbing their head or lowering the bifocal eyeglasses to use their natural vision for mid-range objects. After some natural trial and error a lot of new bifocal wearers simply “Live With” these foibles. Though some bifocal wearers who work long hours in front of a computer screen will adapt by sitting incredibly close to the screen. This in turn leads to an increased risk of eye strain and other symptoms associated with Computer Vision Syndrome.

Progressive lenses are designed to be compact, which means the lenses can be smaller for the slim, often low profile frames that are popular with a lot of eyeglass wearers these days.

Since progressive lenses closely mimic your natural vision, you are less likely to experience the problems faced by traditional bifocal wearers. They can even be available in trifocal or multifocal powers for people with other vision abnormalities that go beyond age-related presbyopia.
Being able to hold your head in a comfortable position, makes it easier to look straight ahead and adjust your vision from near to far or the intermediate-range in between. This also helps avoid problems with “Image Jump” which is more than a simple annoyance when using traditional bifocals.

Are There Any Drawbacks To Progressive Lenses?

While they certainly represent the cutting edge in corrective lens technology, progressive lenses still aren’t perfect. Many people who transition to progressive lenses will tell you that they do take a little bit of getting used to. Many notice a soft blur at the edge of their peripheral vision. Especially when viewed through the lower half of the progressive lenses. Many progressive lens wearers will notice this blurring effect being more prominent in the right or left of the intermediate and near zones.

As time goes on, your eyes and your brain’s ability to perceive the messages they produce will gradually start to adapt. For most people, these minor peripheral blurred areas tend to go away in 7 to 10 days. If you are still having trouble with blurred peripheral vision after 2 weeks of consistently using progressive lenses, you should consult with your eye doctor or optician. In many of these cases, a minor adjustment might need to be made to the progressive lens to match the unique characteristics of your eyes.

Are Progressive Lenses More Stylish Than Traditional Bifocals?

Beyond their technical ability to help correct a wide range of vision issues, many presbyopia sufferers choose progressive lenses over traditional bifocals for their esthetic value. Right off the bat, the lack of visible lines like you see with bifocals, trifocals and many multi-focal lenses simply don’t exist with progressive lenses.

At the same time, progressive lenses are more compact. This means they can more easily fit into smaller frames, which happens to be a very popular style these days. They are certainly going to be smaller than the equivalent bifocal or trifocal lenses, which are typically large and require much larger, and often obtrusively thicker frames.

Are Eyeglasses With Progressive Lenses More Comfortable To Wear?

The compact nature of progressive lenses also means they tend to weigh less and can fit into smaller, lightweight frames. This translates to superior comfort for people who need to wear eyeglasses for long periods or who need eyeglasses as activewear.

Do Progressive Lenses Cost More Than Bifocals?

In general, progressive lenses do cost more than bifocals and trifocal lenses. This is one of the tradeoffs of choosing progressive lenses over bifocals. On average, you can expect to pay around $100 more for eyeglasses with progressive lenses, compared to the equivalent bifocals. Though for most, this is a cost they are more than willing to shoulder for the better functioning and more esthetically appealing lenses.

Are Progressive Lenses More Durable?

While durability can vary from one manufacturer to the next, the superior material quality needed to produce progressive lenses does tend to make them more durable, and scratch-resistant than the equivalent bifocal lenses.

Can Progressive Lenses Have Any Special Features?

The superior material quality and engineering of progressive lenses also make it easier to imbue the lenses with special properties. Anti-reflective coating is very popular in progressive lenses. It nearly eliminates distract lens reflections that lead to glare problems when driving at night.

At the same time, many progressive lenses can be given a special photochromic tint which helps reduce eye strain when you are out in the sun. There are even some progressive lenses that are available as polarized sunglasses.


While progressive lenses do cost a little more and might take a week or two to get used to, they are none the less a much more effective, comfortable, and attractive option for addressing age-related presbyopia. If you have a little bit of wiggle room in your budget, progressive lenses are a truly wise investment for correcting your vision.