We often (incorrectly) assume that it’s really hard to adapt to wearing progressive lenses. That may have been true over twenty years ago, but today’s technology is nothing like what was used in the early 2000s. Take cellphones for example—you wouldn’t use a cellphone from 1998 today if you had access to the latest smartphone. The same is true of optical products. The types of progressive lenses available today include highly sophisticated products. To improve your comfort, lenses now adapt to your eyes—not the other way around.
First things first—what are progressive lenses? Progressive lenses are lenses that make an infinite number of optical corrections so you can smoothly transition from seeing distant objects to objects nearby. When you inevitably begin to experience presbyopia in your early 40s, your eye care professional will likely recommend progressive lenses. That way, you can use a single pair of glasses to see clearly at any distance just by glancing around, and you won’t have to carry two pairs of glasses around everywhere!
Although the adjustment period has gotten a lot shorter in recent years due to technological developments, it still takes a little time to adapt to wearing progressive lenses, unlike single vision lenses. How long it takes varies from person to person—some take a few hours to adjust, while others need a few days. Your eyes and brain need to get used to where the different viewing areas are positioned on the lenses. This takes some time, but then becomes second nature. And there are ways you can speed up the process!
Consult Your Eye Care Professional
Every person is unique—and so are their eyes! Your eye care professional will assess your habits, your daily activities, and your working environment to better understand how you will be using your lenses. Your posture and face shape are also important considerations. Eye care professionals need this information so they can recommend a product that will suit your needs.
Your prescription optician is trained to advise you on the wide range of products available from the world’s largest manufacturers of corrective lenses. There are lots of progressive lenses to choose from—there’s an option to fit each person’s viewing area. Your eye care professional can recommend the product that will best suit your lifestyle. After you clearly explain your daily activities, they’ll be able to offer you a lens that’s well suited to your needs and that will be as comfortable as possible. The goal is for your lenses to give you the most natural vision possible at all working distances.
Multiple measurements are required to adjust progressive lenses. In addition to taking your prescription into account, your eye care professional will look at how the frame fits your face and other factors to make sure your progressive lenses are customized just for you.
Wear Your Glasses
This might seem obvious, but it bears repeating. It’s normal not to want to wear your glasses if you’re experiencing visual discomfort, but wearing your new glasses every day from morning to night (if possible) will help you adapt quicker. The sooner you start wearing them, the more natural your vision will become at all distances and the sooner you can enjoy all the benefits of your new lenses! For the same reason, we recommend you don’t alternate between your new and old glasses for the first few days.
Don’t Delay the Inevitable
It’s best to start wearing progressive lenses as soon as you begin to experience presbyopia, while it’s not as important to correct your near-range vision. That way it’s easier to adapt to the lenses because the overlapping areas are smaller and less bothersome. Plus, your eye lens is still flexible enough to easily accommodate changes in distance. Since presbyopia is a visual disorder that evolves over time, adapting when you only need to make small corrections will make it easier to manage further adjustments later.
Move Your Head, Not Your Eyes
Depending on the product you select, your eye care professional may take measurements so your lenses can be manufactured based on how much you move your head relative to your eye when looking at something. In general when you’re looking at something far away, you’ll need to use the upper part of your glasses. When looking at something nearby, tilt your head slightly to look through the bottom of the lens. Position what you’re looking at right in front of you. This will help you optimize your viewing areas so you don’t get annoyed by the blurry areas that may appear on the periphery.
When you want to look in a specific direction, turn your whole head instead of just moving your eyes. You might have to turn your head more than you’re used to, to avoid blurry areas on your glasses. As you’re getting used to the lenses, try not to take stairs too quickly or step down off sidewalks in a hurry because you may have trouble seeing the steps! With time, seeing with progressive lenses will become second nature.
Use Your Adjustment Warranty
At Opto-Réseau, we offer an adjustment warranty for a minimum of 30 days to make sure you get a product you’re comfortable with. The adjustment time varies greatly depending on the individual and their prescription, but overall, people adapt very well to their new progressive lenses. If wearing your progressive lenses still doesn’t feel comfortable after two or three weeks, feel free to consult your Opto-Réseau eye care professional.