If fine print keeps getting fuzzier, you may have presbyopia, a common condition that can be corrected with bifocal lenses. These ‘lined’ lenses let you focus on both near and distant objects, but there is no “in between” viewing area. Plus, everybody stares at those lines across your glasses because bifocals are for “old people” and you are not old!
The invention of bifocals is credited to Benjamin Franklin in the late 1700’s – that is some old technology! Now, progressive lenses feature an intermediate or ‘transition region’ that allows your eyes to focus in the area in between near and far distances. Progressives, or “no-line bifocals,” have a gradual curvature across the lens surface and provide not only clearer vision at near and far distances, but also smooth, comfortable transitions in between.
Today you can find factory molded progressive lenses at many major retailers and even on the Internet. These old-school progressive lenses are made for average prescription powers, standard fitting parameters, and limited frame sizes. Fortunately, all progressive lenses are not created equal!
Progressives provide a more natural correction of presbyopia than bifocals or trifocals. They are considered “multifocals” because there is a seamless progression from distance to near with an intermediate section in between. This provides many focal points in order to satisfy almost any visual need.
With progressives you can look up to see clearly across the room or down the street while driving. You can also look ahead to see your computer or someone sitting across the dinner table through the intermediate section. If you drop your gaze downward, you can read fine print comfortably through the bottom of the lens.
There is a corridor that runs vertically down the middle of the lens and measurements will be taken to fit the corridor in the right place so all powers can be accessed comfortably.
Progressives also eliminate a problem called “image jump” which is experienced with bifocal and trifocal lenses. The lines on the lenses create a drastic change in power which causes images to appear to jump as you move from distance to near. Progressives create a smooth, more comfortable transition from distance to near and back.
Progressive lenses are far more sophisticated and technologically advanced than their common name (often called “no-line bifocals”). The newest, best version of these lenses provides the closest thing to natural youthful vision that a presbyopic person can achieve. Progressive lenses provide an uninterrupted view of the world with a gradual focus change from far to near and everything in between without the traditional bifocal line that so many perceive as ugly and a sure sign of aging. The best brand of progressive lenses is far superior to conventional bifocals or trifocals in virtually every comparison except price. Yes, progressive lenses are technologically superior to bifocals and do cost more.