If you’ve needed help with your distance vision in the past and you’re over the age of 40, you’ll notice at some point that you also need help with reading material close up. In the past, this meant either juggling distance and reading glasses, or choosing “bifocals” or “trifocals”.
Progressive lenses have made the need for “bifocals” or “trifocals” more appealing. With no visible line dividing the lenses, progressives do away with a significant visual distraction (and help to achieve a more youthful appearance!). Progressives also mean you can rely on just one pair of glasses.
What’s it like?
Although a transition period is definitely needed, the success rate in adapting is very high. From our extensive experience, we can say that 97 to 98% of people adapt comfortably and quickly to their progressives.
It’s important to be aware of the symptoms that can be experienced during the initial period of adaptation:
- Nausea / dizziness, including ‘swimmy’ or ‘swaying’ sensation in vision
- Depth perception (e.g. feeling uncertain about how far away some objects are from you)
- Uncertainty around stairs, changes in level
- Changes in peripheral vision can make the main field of vision feel narrow
Most issues will be particularly noticeable in the first few minutes of wear, and symptoms can persist for 2 to 4 weeks. However, in most cases, the adaptation period is just days.
What can I do?
The flexibility and benefits to be gained from switching to progressives is very much worth it for most people. There are a number of things you can do to help make the change progress more quickly.
Preparing for progressives
- Be prepared to tell your optometrist about your main activities (work, hobbies, home tasks, etc.) so that you can have the right lenses customized to your lifestyle.
- Choose frames that are extremely comfortable and well adjusted to your face.
Once you have them
- Spend time getting used to the new areas in your lenses: near, intermediate, and far. Learning these zones and using them properly will make a huge difference.
- The most critical thing you can do is to commit to wearing your new progressives exclusively. Taking the change slowly by alternating with your previous lenses will only make the change harder and draw it out.
Personalizing your lenses
Step one that we talked about above is really important. We all live differently, and it’s important for your optometrist to know if you spend much more time outdoors and focusing more on intermediate and distant objects, or if you typically spend more time working in an office setting, studio, or kitchen where you’re switching your eyes between more things in close proximity.
A good understanding of how you live will help your optometrist to fit your lenses to your lifestyle and increase your comfort with the whole process.