What is a Progressive?

Jan 1, 2016 | Blog, Glasses

In its simplest definition a progressive is a no-line bifocal. Today, the progressive lens is the preferred lens for anyone who needs help to “re-focus” from distance to near (“accommodation”). Almost everyone near fifty or more will experience the handicap and inability to “accommodate” (this handicap is also called “presbyopic”). This is especially frustrating for the people who survived nearly five decades (or more) with 20/20 vision and find that they can no longer see close up.

For all practical purposes of those in need of some type of a “bifocal”, there are two choices; the line bifocal (see pic (a)) and the no-line progressive. To be more specific, a progressive is a “multi-focal” lens (technically not a “bifocal”). In contrast, the lined bifocal has exactly two prescriptions; one for distance (approx 6’ and beyond) and one for close (approx 18-20”). The line bifocal provides no help for those distances in between (22” – 4’), like computers, countertops, dashboards, etc. Not only is this line unsightly to others, but the line can be obtrusive, and in the way. By eliminating the line entirely, the progressive creates a smooth (progressive) transition in power from the lens’ upper half to the bottom area, allowing the wearer to focus clearly at all distances.

The perfect lens? Well, not exactly. Probably the worst I can say about the progressive is that for most it will take some getting used to. However, the best I can add is that of the thousands of eyeglass wearers that tried progressives for the first time at the Eyeglass Factory, only about 2% could not wear them.

Are all progressives the same? Yes and no. All progressives are generally the same in the sense of their basic design (see pic (b)). They all have a wider distance Rx in the upper half of the lens and a narrowed usable “channel” in the lower half for where the Rx changes for near vision. However, manufacturers have been on the never ending quest to find the perfect “design”. To make you even more confused, not only are there dozens of “designs”, but just one manufacturer can offer 8-10 (or more) different designs and a different name (brand) for each. Each variation in design can change how the progressive actually “performs” for the individual. For example, wider reading channels (in the lower lens area) can create more peripheral distortion in the upper distance Rx of the lens.

The average wholesale lab, in order to cater to all of their Optician and Dr Retail accounts, needs to carry most, if not all of the progressive brands. At the Eyeglass Factory, with our extensive resources and buying power, we have access to every progressive. We never compromise quality and we promise you will get a Progressive lens as good as, or better than anywhere else in the World- guaranteed!

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