Taking the Mystery out of Proximity Lenses

Today’s opticians have all kinds of lens technologies at their disposal so they can find exactly the right lens for each and every patient. One option is glasses with proximity lenses, also know as mid-vision or indoor lenses. They’re specially designed to provide comfort for people with presbyopia when they’re performing tasks involving near vision

We asked Dr. Frédérique N. Goulet, optometrist and co-owner of Opto-Réseau’s Voyons Voir clinic in Boucherville, to talk to us about proximity lenses and why she recommends them for her patients.

So what exactly are proximity lenses?

“Proximity lenses are multipurpose lenses designed to provide clear, sharp vision and be comfortable in tasks requiring intermediate and close-up vision.”, explains Dr Goulet. “Their range can be precision-calibrated to cover the exact distances the wearer needs—from a couple of centimetres away to several metres.”

Who are they for?

Since the lenses include near-vision correction, they’re mainly designed for people with presbyopia, which is a form of farsightedness related to age. Presbyopia generally starts sometime after age 45, though some people with hyperopia—farsightedness—can benefit from the lenses a little earlier in their lives.

“We’ll often recommend them to people who do close work but still need to see clearly when they look up, to interact with coworkers or customers for instance. Dentists, dental hygienists, musicians, painters, mechanics, surveyors, and people who work at the computer are also good candidates.”


Some types of activities by range of vision involved

  • Near vision: reading, writing, smartphone use, sewing
  • Intermediate vision: cooking, conversing, gardening, working at the computer


What are the benefits?

Proximity lenses don’t replace progressive lenses, which correct both far vision and near vision all at once, but they’re much more comfortable for people doing things that require seeing up close, since they have a wider field of intermediate vision than progressive lenses have. 

Proximity lenses offer:

  • The best vision at short and medium distances
  • A wider and clearer field of view
  • Reduced eyestrain
  • Better posture (which can help with backaches and neck pain)


Multi-tasking made easier

With proximity lenses you can perform a variety of indoor tasks without changing your glasses. With today’s multiple screens and our habit of looking at all of them at once, wearing glasses to see things up close (the phone) and up to a few metres away (computer, TV) is becoming more and more of a necessity. You’ll see benefits in all kinds of situations you encounter in daily life and work:

  • An office-worker reading, working at the computer, and still clearly seeing a coworker in the next office down when the two are talking
  • A violinist keeping an eye on the bow while reading the music on the music stand
  • A person cooking who glances at the recipe while measuring and adding ingredients
  • A receptionist reading a phone number off the call display and recognizing the faces of customers as they approach
  • Add your own!

Improved posture and reduced eyestrain

When you work in front of a screen wearing progressive lenses, the window you have to look through is smaller and lower down than it would be with proximity lenses. The screen will be out of focus unless you tilt your head back to line it up with your lens’s intermediate vision area. It’s an unnatural position that puts strain on your neck and shoulders, particular when you have to hold it for long periods of time.

Proximity lenses have a broader field of intermediate vision to reduce eyestrain and let you sit naturally, eliminating neck pain and sore shoulders. “The investment might well pay off,” says Dr. Goulet. “Not only are you more comfortable, you could save on physio and trips to the chiropractor.”

“I compare it to footwear,” she continues. “Sure, you can run in heels, but you’ll be faster in running shoes—and they’re much more comfortable. Or think of proximity lenses as a cozy pair of slippers for intermediate and near-vision tasks.” They may also be the only pair of glasses you need, if you can see well at a distance.

If you have presbyopia, proximity lenses can make your day! Ask your optometrist or optician next time you visit an Opto-Réseau clinic. They can recommend the best option according to your prescription and what you do. It’s all about providing the solution that’s right for you. 


Between September 30 and November 23, 2019, save $100 on your purchase of proximity lenses and take advantage of this new technology.

Special thanks to Dr. Frédérique N. Goulet, optometrist, and Laura-Maude Fontaine, optician, at Opto-Réseau’s Voyons Voir Clinic in Boucherville for their cooperation and assistance in writing this article