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The ABCs Of Progressive Lenses

By Essilor News


August 22, 2016

Summer is winding down and kids around the country are getting ready to go back to school. That means homework for students — and likely for parents, too. After all, studies show that parents involved in completing school assignments help boost their kids’ grades. The question is, are your eyes ready to help out with math problems, science fair projects and book reports? Brush up on eyesight basics and see if progressive lenses should be on your back-to-school shopping list.

A Lesson About Vision

We have three vision zones: the near zone for reading and seeing up-close; the mid zone for seeing things at arm's length, such as computer screens; and the distance zone for seeing objects farther away, like road signs. 

On top of that, as people age, it’s more difficult for their eyes to adjust from one zone to another. Around age 40, adults start to develop presbyopia, an eye condition where the human crystalline lens in the eye becomes less flexible, making it harder to focus on objects up close. Eyeglasses are a simple, effective solution to both conditions.

Bifocals and Trifocals — Not the Best Solution

For years, the only option available to help with presbyopia was bifocal lenses, which were invented by Benjamin Franklin more than 300 years ago. A bifocal lens is split into two parts — the top for distance viewing and the bottom for seeing up close. The two sections of the lens are usually separated by a visible line. The problem is that — with only two sections of vision — bifocals don't account for the mid-zone vision range, so objects at arm’s length such as cell phones, computers and menus will look blurry no matter what. There is also an abrupt change or jump when looking from near to far or vice versa. This effect is magnified in trifocals, which have an extra lens segment to factor in the mid-zone.

Check Out Progressive Lenses

Today, progressive lenses have become the preferred choice because they offer a crisp, no-line solution and allow wearers to see clearly across all distances. Progressive lenses provide the most natural vision possible, as the power gradually increases as wearers look down the lens. This seamless transition also means there is no more “jumping” of images when looking between the top and bottom of the lens.

Since progressive lenses were invented 50 years ago, the design and functionality have continued to improve. Some progressive lenses can now account for the difference in prescription for both the right and left eyes. And Varilux® progressive lenses with W.A.V.E. technology take the advancement even further, by eliminating distortions so wearers have clear, sharp vision at every distance — near, far and in-between — even in low light.

If you’re experiencing presbyopia or any other vision problems, talk to your eye doctor about an eye exam to ensure your eyes are healthy and to recommend which lenses are right for you.

And if you do have presbyopia, put it at the top of your homework list. Your eyes — and kids — will thank you for it.