Are Bigger Lenses Better for Progressive Glasses [with Examples]

In this article, we will discuss the differences in bigger or smaller progressive glasses and tell you if that is actually better in your case with your prescription.

Bigger lenses with a distance between the near and the distance field of 19mm give you a larger field of view in the Laptop distance. However, if you don’t want to look as much down to look at your laptop a smaller progressive lens design with a distance of 12-14mm could work better for you.

That was a very broad statement. In some cases, a larger lens can lead to dizziness. Let’s dive into the topic to help you choose the right progressive lenses.

Here in the table, you find the different sizes of progressive lenses. The distance describes how much you have to look down to get the full support of the reading power.

Bigger/Long sized progressive lens~19mm
Medium-sized progressive lens~16mm
Small/Short sized progressive lens~12-14mm

The Prescription Can Change the Recommendation from a Bigger Lens to a Smaller Progressive Lens Otherwise Dizziness Can Occur

What I mean by that statement has nothing to do with thicker lenses or aesthetics. I am talking about prismatic power that can deviate the whole view. That is not a big deal if your prescription in your right and left eyes are pretty similar.
Jonny’s RX with nearly no differences in spherical power

R +3,00 -1,00 180° Add 2,00
L +3,25 -0,75 175° Add 2,00

But when you have a greater difference in your eyes like shown here in the bolded part:
Jonny’s RX with differences in spherical power

R +4,00 -1,00 180° Add 2,00
L +1,00 -0,75 175° Add 2,00

Your view deviates more on the right side compared to the left side. That is irritating for most people. You can avoid this effect the shorter your lens gets.

What you see here is the deviation of your view while looking through the left and right lens. The pictures in the lenses are moving differently. 
That occurs when your prescription has different powers. You can minimize this effect with a smaller progressive lens. Because you are not forced to look down as much to get the full support for reading in your glasses. The less you need to look down the fewer deviation in your lenses you will face. Read on for more comparisons.

In the next case, the prescriptions look pretty similar from the left to the right eye. But the astigmatism is found in a totally another axis. That could also lead to a smaller progressive lens design. The view would also deviate from the right to the left eye pretty much as it does in the example above.
Harald with big differences in the axis of his astigmatism

R +2,00 -1,50 180° Add 2,00
L +2,00 -1,50. 90° Add 2,00

Be Trendy with Bigger Progressive Glasses in Combination with a Short Lens Design

The reason for you to pick a shorter progressive lens can be your prescription or you wish to not have to look down as much to get the full benefit of reading power. And that can also happen in big glasses. Look at the picture and see the difference for yourself. In the picture, you see the exact same frame. It has plenty of height but you can fit a big and a really small progressive lens into such a big frame.

Here you will find the difference between smaller and bigger lenses for progressive glasses
The circle symbolizes the full reading power. The white space on the graphic shows you the sharp field of view you get in a bigger or smaller lens. The darker the green is displayed the more blurry it gets. (The horizontal width of your sharp field of view is determined mostly by your needed reading power and the lens design you choose.)

Obviously after looking at the picture you can decide if you pick a bigger lens or a smaller lens in a bigger frame. In a frame with less height, you need to stick to the shorter lens designs. A big progressive lens design just can not be fitted into a frame with a really small height.

Advantages of a Bigger Lens in a Combination of a Bigger Progressive Lens Design

  • more sharp field of view horizontally
  • a smoother transition from the distance to reading
  • more UV protection if your lens filters UV radiation
  • more blue light protection
  • less head movement and more field of view to move your eyes

Those are definitely some pros. But if you are already used to having a smaller progressive lens I would not recommend hop to a bigger one as long as you are not bothered with the field of view. The reason is just getting used to new head positions while reading. For some people that can be an adaption process of a few days or weeks. If you are shorter than 5 feet and 10 inches I would be also hesitant to choose a big lens design. The reason is that a smaller person is not used to look down as much for reading. The position of the arms and your head tends to work better in a smaller or medium-sized progressive lens if you are a little bit smaller.

Bigger Progressive Glasses = Bigger Surface in Front of Your Eyes That Can Lead to More Glare

But I thought i have an antireflective coating on my progressive glasses!?

Customer, that thought the Anti Reflective Coating would produce no more glare whatsoever

That is really a common issue with big glasses. The bigger the lens the more mirrorlike effects can be noticed in the sides of the lenses while wearing them. This can be reduced by the curve of your progressive lens but a bigger lens just has more surface to reflect more light. That can be annoying especially in situations like driving or indoors while you see a mirror or a lamp that is actually behind you.

Besides the anti-reflective coating we recommend glasses that are no wider than your cheekbones. Oftentimes the cheekbones are the widest part of your face and the width of the glasses should not exceed them. Otherwise will definitely experience more glare in the sides of your lenses.

A Bigger Lens with Larger Progressive Glasses Does Not Mean You Can Look Everywhere Without Blurriness

The thing with bigger glasses and bigger progressive lenses is that yes you definitely get a wider field of view but you have so many prescriptions in one lens. That’s why it is still a little pain getting used to progressive glasses but once you do you won’t want to miss them anymore. If you want an even wider view in your progressive lenses and you are already using big glasses we need to specialize the lens designs to your daily activities. There are office lenses that make a better fit if you work on a PC for more than 2-3h per day.

If you compare bigger progressive lenses and bigger office lenses you will immediately experience the unequal fields of view.

So the big question is now are bigger lenses better for progressive glasses? In my humble opinion yes. If your prescription and your height fit the bigger lenses I would go for them. To me, the amount of field of view and a smoother focus equals the quality of vision. Why choosing a more compressed progression canal that is in the really short progressive lenses pretty reduced to just the reading and the distances field. To me, a bigger lens makes more sense if your prescription and your reading habits and your prescription are compatible.

PS: If you have not tested a bigger progressive lens compared to a shorter on it is really hard to tell for you which is the best pick. My recommendation is to test it out. Most manufacturers these days have satisfaction guarantees. Talk to your Lens specialist about your wishes and if you are not happy with your choice just change the lens design to a bigger or smaller one. They will be happy to help you out. With the changes in the lens design, there should be no additional cost for you. But get this clear before you buy you choose your next progressive glasses.

What do you think about our recommendation? I would be delighted to hear your opinion about bigger or smaller progressive glasses.

Best regards Michael Penczek

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