Corrective Lenses for Presbyopia

January 17, 2022

The older we get, the more the lenses in our eyes lose their flexibility.

This is a process called presbyopia. It’s the main reason the majority of seniors need reading glasses even if they never needed corrective lenses before. Those of us who already need glasses to correct nearsightedness end up in a more complex situation with a variety of solutions. Would you rather use a combination of contacts and reading glasses, bifocals (or trifocals, depending on how much time you spend on the computer), or progressives?

The Pros and Cons of Bifocals (and Trifocals)

Bifocals are very simple. Within each lens is an area with a proscription that corrects for nearsightedness and a smaller area towards the bottom that corrects for presbyopia. The more severe the presbyopia gets, it might become helpful to add a third prescription in the middle to help with focusing on middle distances, like a computer screen. Triple-lens glasses are called trifocals.

Despite their simplicity, many people have a hard time adjusting to the image jump effect created by combining multiple lenses. People can also be self-conscious about wearing them because our culture associates bifocals with old age.

Progressive Lenses: The Modern Solution

If the negatives of bifocals outweigh the positives for you and you don’t like the idea of using contacts alongside reading glasses, progressive lenses are a sleek modern option. A progressive lens combines multiple prescriptions into one continuous lens, removing the jarring lines and the obvious look of bifocals. Simply by tilting your head the right way, you’ll be able to see clearly at any distance.

You Can Make It Through the Adjustment Period

Any prescription change can take a few days to get used to, and that’s especially true of your first pair of progressive lenses. It’s normal to feel uncomfortable wearing them at first, but you can adjust more quickly if you follow these tips:

  • Resist the temptation to switch back and forth to your old glasses, because doing so resets the clock on getting used to the progressive lenses and makes eye strain symptoms last longer.
  • You should be able to look through the “corridor of power” in the middle of the lens very naturally, so make sure that the glasses fit properly.
  • Practice switching from looking at close-up objects and distant ones by reading while watching TV.
  • Practice moving your head instead of your eyes to see things clearly at different distances.

Come to Us With Your Questions (and Glasses)!

If you’d like to learn more about how progressive lenses work or if they’re the best option for you, we’d love to discuss it at your next appointment. While you’re here, we can make any adjustments you need to your glasses to ensure the perfect fit.

We love seeing our patients and helping them see us clearly!

Top image painted by David Martin in 1767.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.