6 Questions to Ask Before Buying Progressive Lenses


Ask the optician a few questions to decide which lens designs to choose. It is always good for you to listen to the recommendation from the professional and then go through the other options. This way you can understand better why the optician chose a special solution for you.

After you read this article you will be better equipped with the knowledge to talk with your optician about your wishes and needs.

What Will Change for Me With My New Prescription in My Progressive Lenses?

In some cases, it makes sense to go with computer progressive lenses in addition to normal progressive lenses. That is something the optician can tell after he tested your eyes for the needed working distance.

The question will give you valuable information what to expect from your new progressive lenses. That way you can avoid unpleasant surprises.

What is the difference in progressive lenses when your add value changes?
The picture shows the clear field of view in a colored way. The color blue stands for the lens power for distance vision in the upper half of the progressive lens design. The lower half of the lens corridor is placed in the colors green, orange and red. Red stands vor the maximum support in reading power.

As you can see in the picture above the width in the clear field of view changes with an increase in age and therefor stronger reading power.

When Should You Switch to Reading or Computer Glasses?

The general rule of thumb is when you reach your 50s. In this age, your eyes lose the ability to focus on closer objects more. To compensate for the lost ability a lot of people tend to tip their heads back a lot with their progressive glasses to read the PC screen. This is the moment to think about computer glasses.

The picture shows the difference in progressive lenses and computer lenses

Because computer glasses will enable you to see the PC screen clear while maintaining a natural head and neck position.

When Progressive Lenses Do Not Work for You?

Their are a couple of things that could lead to progressive lenses not working for you.

  • False expectations
  • Two different needed lens powers in each eye (anisometropia)
  • The wrong prescription/centration

False Expectations

If you look at sales brochures from progressive lenses you will find false advertising a lot. The clear fields of view are often times presented in a very advantageous way. They could be as wide as presented theoretically but in most cases they will not. The reason is in most cases the needed ADD value.

This Add value is higher the more reading support you need from your progressive lenses. It is typically higher the older you get and stagnates at around 2.00 to 2.50 Diopters.

But at approximately two diopters of ADD value, the clear field of view will be very small in the lower half of the lenses. So when you expect to get a very wide clear field of view as seen in the sales brochure and your lenses do not match your expectations you will not accept this type of lenses.

If you want to read more about how big your field of view will be in your new progressive lenses read this article here.

Two Different Needed Lens Powers in Each Eye (Anisometropia)

Two different wearers of progressive glasses will probably not lead to the same visual experience. The clear fields of view changes with a different prescription and so does the deviation of the picture. What that deviation of the picture means for you?

It means the more you need to look down in order to look through the reading zone the more you could experience double vision or visual stress. Luckily a lot of people are able to adapt to progressive lenses with anisometropia. If not you could benefit from different solutions like a slab off. You can read more about this here.

The Wrong Prescription/Centration

When it comes to progressive glasses it is hard to tell for you as the customer to judge if the product you wear is correct. If problems arise with progressives oftentimes ist is due to a wrong prescription that makes it harder for you to get used to the lenses or even impossible.

One indication for you to judge the refraction in general is what was actually checked? When one eye is checked at a time the eyes should be checked for how they play together afterwards. This all happens in the distance.

Then you will have a closer look at the reading distance. Of course you should be able to see perfectly clear while reading. Though the reading support in your progressive lenses should be as low as possible. This leads to a wider field of view.

If the reading support (Add value) is measured too fast it will be probably too high. In the moment of the testing you can read just fine. But afterward you will have less clear field of view which lead to a more restrictive visual experience.

When to Get Progressive Lenses?

The right moment to get progressive lenses is when you tend to extend your arms while reading in order to see it clearly. If you buy progressive lenses to early you will not accept them because you can not benefit from the reading yet. All they would do is to give you blurry peripheral vision in the lower half of the lenses.

However if you wait to long you will have a harder time getting used to your progressives. Because the oder you get the less width of clear field of view you will get. So you need to point your nose even more in the direction you want to see clear in,

What Options Do You Have With Your New Progressive Lenses?

There is a variety of options when it comes to your progressive lenses. That is why it makes sense to go through the options with your optician. Here are some information to consider depending on your needs:

  • Anti Fog Coatings
  • Enhanced UV Protection with Coatings
  • Thinner Materials
  • Tints
  • Curved Lenses
  • Anti Reflection Coatings
  • Blue light filters
  • Different lengths of progressive lenses
  • Individually placed reading zones for a bigger field of view
  • Clean Coats

All those options can enhance your experience with your progressive lenses or even lead to a.n intolerance. That is why it is so important to talk about what is important to you. How your day is structured and what distance you need or what devices you use.

Do You Get a Satisfaction Guarantee or Money-Back Guarantee With Your Progressive Glasses?

When it comes to progressive glasses usually you get a money-back guarantee. This is important because you can not get experience before buying it. So ask exactly how long you have this guarantee and what it covers.

After so many years in the optical industry, I can tell you most of the time people should ask more about the lens options they have. So many times when I describe some basic options to my customers like if they use their laptop often and if we should optimize their lens corridor to match their daily routines we often get told they never got that asked when bought their progressive lenses.

So go through the question one by one and ask yourself where you want the progressives to wear and for how long. I promise you the result will be a further fine-tuned version of your progressive lenses which will match your needs better for more visual comfort.

I wish you a great day.

Recent Content