Wide Eyed

New Progressive Lenses Offer Better Vision Without Tell-Tale Lines

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But the new technology with a wider vision area gives less of that edge blur, Mercer notes.

That adaptation also is easier if you’re younger, Garrett and Mercer say. “If someone comes in at age 75 and wants to get progressive lenses, I tell them there’s about a 50 percent chance they’ll get used to it, switching from non-progressive lenses to progressives,” Garrett says.

To make that adjustment easier, you’ll need to wear your new progressive lenses most of the day. “If you go to progressives, you have to wear them to have any chance to get used to them,” Garrett says. “You can’t be somebody who wears them half the time. If you’re only going to wear them some of the time, I wouldn’t advise it.”

Finally, new progressive lenses also offer different options based on what kind of vision you need for your work, hobbies and life in general, Mercer says. “Share that information with the optician,” she advises.

Lenses can offer larger zones for the vision that you need the most. Whether you’re a target shooter, seamstress, computer jockey, musician or bookworm, there’s a progressive lens suited for you.

Contacts Are Different
For contacts wearers, multi-focal lenses offer some of the benefits of progressive eyeglasses. But there are key differences. In multi-focal contacts, there are rings of different vision power—think of a bullseye target, Mercer says. Usually, the center ring is near vision, followed by intermediate vision and then distance vision in the outer rings—although sometimes the configuration is different.

These lenses are harder to get used to, Garrett says.

“You’re getting all the visual information at once,” Mercer notes. “Your brain has to learn to disregard the parts that aren’t needed and concentrate on the part of vision that’s where you want to look.”

About 40 percent of people who try multi-focal contacts can successfully wear them, Garrett says. You can get these contacts on a trial basis to see if they’ll work for you.