Progressive additional lenses (PAL) were an important shift and big step in optical lens technology from the old bifocal lenses. Despite the advanced technology, there are a lot of misconceptions about how difficult it is to adapt to them. In truth, the right lens design personalized for your lifestyle requires less adaptation than you might think.
As we all get older, the crystalline lens in our eyes becomes less malleable, meaning we need additional support. This is known as presbyopia and happens to everyone, usually around the age of 40. The stereotypical old solution is readers that are easy to lose and frustrating to juggle with single vision lenses.
In this article, we’ll break down some of the complaints and symptoms you might feel while adjusting to progressives, how to adapt, and the importance of personalization.
Adapting to Progressive Lenses Complaints and Symptoms
You may have heard stories about adapting to progressive lenses. The most common fear we hear is about using stairs and feeling uncomfortable when using them. You may have these issues because the power/dioptres in progressive lenses gradually change from far to near. This differentiates progressive lenses from single vision lenses where there is only one power over the whole surface of the lens and from bifocal lenses where there are two fixed powers in the far and near zones.
You will adjust to these symptoms, but we wanted to call them out here, so you know what to expect:
- Depth perception issues/you are not sure how far away some objects are from you
- Dizziness or nausea
- Swim and sway effect
- Discomfort or not feeling safe using stairs
- Peripheral vision distortion feels like a narrow field of vision
- Difficulty adapting during the first few minutes
- Difficulty focusing between different intermediate and near distances
This list might seem long, but you may or may not experience any of these. If you do, know you will adjust, and the symptoms will go away. Adjusting to progressives requires you to use your head, eyes, and posture slightly differently to get the most out of your lenses. The more your lenses personalized to your needs, the faster you will adapt.
The benefits of a versatile lens that allows you to live your personal lifestyle are well worth the adaptation time.
How to Adapt Quickly
There are several things you can do to adapt to progressive lenses more quickly. Some of these are ways you should change how you use your glasses, and others are as simple as working with your optician to personalize your glasses.
How to adapt to your lenses more quickly:
- Wear them as your primary pair. If you try and ease your way in by changing them with your previous spectacles, it will take far longer to adjust.
- You’ll need to find and use new areas in your lenses instead of using whatever space is most convenient. There are three main areas: far, intermediate, and near. Learn the zones in your lenses and use them properly.
- Make sure you have a comfortable frame that is adjusted for your face
- Make sure that the optician fits the lens in the right way with the right equipment.
- In the exam, tell your optician about your main activities (e.g., hobbies, at work, with family, etc.). Knowing all your needs, they can suggest the right lens design specially personalized for your lifestyle.
Personalizing Lenses for You
Prescription/power is changing in progressive lenses from far via intermediate to till near; this is called a corridor. The most important thing you need to know about progressive lenses is that they can be personalized to your lifestyle to be most effective, including the corridor.
When choosing new progressive lenses, make sure the solution is tailored for you. The more the design (i.e., the corridor) is adjusted to your visual needs, the easier and faster you will adapt to your new pair of lenses.
What does it mean to be personalized? If you spend a lot of time with books, screens, and objects close to your face, you will need a lens that focuses more on the near. If you spend most of your time outdoors, then you won’t need the same level of support for close objects, and your lenses will focus more on far and intermediate distances.
Why You Should Get Progressive Lenses
You might be wondering why you should go through the process of adapting; some of those symptoms sound super annoying. Trust us, it’s still worth it to switch to progressive lenses if you need readers or bifocals.
Progressive lenses mean you don’t have to switch between multiple spectacles unless you are in a specialized circumstance. You will still want to change to a prescription pair of sunglasses/polarized for a day outdoors or when in the car, or a computer pair of glasses with specialized features for spending hours in front of a screen.
An adequately personalized progressive pair of glasses will fit with your life, so you should be wearing them when doing most things. They’ll work with you as you make a fantastic dinner in your kitchen alternating between reading the recipe, prepping the food, everything in between.
A Note on Bifocals
You may have held onto your bifocals instead of making the switch to progressives. Making the switch will give you a more fluid experience and more adaptive visual areas based on a variety of distances instead of only two. The most challenging part of adapting to progressives is you may feel a little “lost” until you find and get used to the right areas which usually happens automatically and quite fast.
Make the Switch
Progressive lenses free you from juggling readers and standard single vision lenses, while also giving you a variety of visual areas that work for you at any distance. The fluidity and personalization of progressive lenses will give you an entirely new visual experience. If you are considering making the switch, work with your optician to find the right lens and personalization for you.