In this particular episode of Ask an Eye Doc, you will learn about:
- How long it takes to get used to a progressive lens
- The blending zone of a progressive lens
- How a digital progressive lens might ease your progressive woes
This episode will be more helpful if you’ve already listened to episode 9: What is a progressive lens?
For you readers out there, here’s the answer in written form:
First of all, if you don’t know what a progressive lens is, be sure to check out episode 9.
So, are progressive lenses hard to get used to? The answer: it depends. It depends on you and it depends on which type of progressive lens you get.
Most people are able to adapt well to progressive lenses after the first two weeks of wearing them. Some people adapt after a couple of days, and other people adapt after four to six weeks. A small percentage of patients are never able to adapt. This small percentage of people account for the horror stories you may have heard about progressive lenses.
In short, everyone is different. A progressive is a great option for most people, but you won’t know until you try it. I am not hesitant about recommending a progressive lens for anyone who needs one. If you know you have sensitive eyes, or have a history of motion sickness, it might take you a little longer to get used to a new progressive lens, though.
One downside of progressive lenses is what I call the “blending zone”. This is a small area on each side of the lower half of the lens that isn’t as clear as the rest of the lens.
If you already have progressive lenses, you can find the blending zone by pointing your eyes straight ahead, turning your head to the right or to the left, and lifting your chin up slightly. What you might notice is that this portion of the lens is not the clearest part to look through.
The blending zone is simply a byproduct of designing a multifocal lens without a line. It’s also part of the reason it takes a couple of weeks for people to get used to wearing them. That’s the bad news.
The good news is not all progressive lenses are the same! In fact, there are hundreds of options, and not all of them work equally well. If you want to have the best progressive lens experience, you will need to ask your optician to fit you with a digital progressive lens.
A digital lens is a high-quality progressive lens that widens all the zones of clarity and minimizes the blending zones. I always recommend a digital lens to every progressive patient because it’s easier for them to get used to and it provides better vision.
Are progressive lenses hard to get used to?
So, going back to the original question: are progressive lenses hard to get used to? It depends. It depends on you, something you can’t control, and on which lens design you select with your optician, something entirely in your hands.