New progressive lens technologies come out every year and make progressive lenses slightly better with every launch. There are different concepts evolved in new progressive lens technologies which are dependent on the manufacturer. Here in this article, you will learn about the new progressive lens technologies. Some manufacturers require technical devices Ito gather biometric data of the shape of your cornea to further fine-tune your cornea while other focus on a more standardized product which fits a broader variety of parameters instead of a highly specialized one.
I am an optician and I tried a lot of progressive lenses during my career. Here for example is one test in which I compared them side by side. Despite the results which I recommend you check out in the mentioned link the approach to how the newest progressive lens technologies fine-tune your progressive lenses is very interesting. I separated the different approaches into three categories to make the available technologies more transparent to you as a consumer.
- Individualized progressive lenses
- Individualized progressive lenses + biometric data
- Standardized progressive lenses
All of those lenses can be called premium as it does not describe a certain feature in the lens design. Most of the lenses today are based on free form technology although some of the advertisements push those marketing phrases because consumer usually relate those terms with quality and a superior product.
Standardized Progressive Lenses
Standardized progressive lens technology is used for decades but it evolved over the years. Basically, it means when they sit rather tilted or straight in your face the progressive lenses will not optimized for the way the glasses actually sit in your face. With lower myopia, hyperopia, or astigmatism in combination with a lower needed reading support this might still work well. Because the clear field of view will be still relatively wide.
But when the reading support needs to be stronger in the lower half of the lenses usually people notice this progressive lens technology is inferior to the ones mentioned below. Because with an increase in reading power the clear field of view gets smaller. And with this technology, the position of the clear field is set for average distances and angles. The result is a smaller field of view and a more restricted visual experience. In fact, 82% prefer individualized or personalized progressive lens technology over the standard ones according to the study from Johanne Forkel.
Individualized Progressive Lenses – The Gold Standard Progressive Lens Technology
This lens technology came up around the millennium. With it, the manufacturer can implement the position of wear of the lenses compared to the testing frame. This is important because some glasses frames lead to glasses more tilted in your face and others will sit rather straight. With every change in the angles and distances of the lenses in front of your eyes, the manufacturer can optimize the position of the clear zones. This way they are located right in front of your pupil while looking down reading or looking at your laptop.
This lens technology leads to a faster acceptance of progressive lenses and a wider field of view. When manufacturers use marking to sell progressive lenses it sometimes sounds like they do not have any blurry fields of view. When in reality even with this technology the majority of the lower half of progressive lenses is blurry. But this technology was a leap in comparison to standardized progressive lenses before.
With individualized progressive lenses, the following parameters get measured to fine-tune your prescription and the lens design.
- Vertex distance (distance between the eye and the glasses)
- Pantoscopic angle (angle formed by the frame and the wearer’s face)
- Frame curvature
- Head posture
- Eye and head movement during reading
- Distance from the eye’s center of rotation
- Reading distance
When the frame got readjusted those parameters can get easily measured by the optician. The distance between your eye and the back surface of the lens is usually the same when the glasses do not slide down your nose. And the angle in which the lens is tilted in from of your eyes also does not change until the glasses sit crooked and need a readjustment. The measurements here have a high replicable. And this is what I like about this technology. Keep this in mind when you hear about the other technology.
As you can see there are a lot of parameters the manufacturer and the optician can use to produce your progressive glasses. No matter the manufacturer the higher your reading support needs to be the smaller the field of view will be for you in the reading area. If you want to find out how big it might be for you read this article here. Generally speaking, I like these type of progressive lens technology as it makes the experience for the consumer better.
Individualized Progressive Lenses + Biometric Data – The Newest Progressive Lens Technology
This type of progressive lens technology builds on top of the well-known Individualized parameters for your progressive lenses. But what goes on top of the replicable measurements is usually information about the shape of your cornea. While in theory, this sounds great the benefit it can provide is not a leap forward, and here is why.
When the progressive lens manufacture knows the shape of your cornea he can optimize the progressive lens in front of the eye so the light rays converge optimally on your retina. More data always good right? The thing were this technology usually falls short is when the wearer looks slightly to the sides or up or down. Because the then the lens surfaces and the shape of the cornea do not stand in THE ONE position in which the lens designs was made for.
Yes, every progressive lens design is just made just for one situation but calling this progressive lens technology a big leap in marketing or a revolution is just not right for most users. Theoretically for a small set of people this technology could work better. But there are other factors coming into play why I am personally not a big fan of this technology.
Progressive lenses are used by people recognizing the changes in their eyes. One of them is dry eye symptoms. The wetting for example of the cornea is and the quality of the tear film is usually not as good as it once was. With those age-related changes it could not so ideal if your tear film was not on point when the optician measured the shape of your cornea. Because in most cases those devices detect a reflected circle pattern on your cornea. When you blinked and the tear film was not ideal your progressive lenses will be slightly worse. Because they get optimized to a falsely measured shape.
How often this happens? Ask yourself did you experience a situation in the last few days where you head to blink a few times and your vision got clearer? Most people experience this, especially at night. In those cases, such a measurement would be probably not ideal.
In this article, I mentioned the progressive lens technologies available on the market. I do not want to mention a manufacturer here in this post because as you can see when you read my other articles it is far more relevant to visit an optician who really cares about the performance of your progressive lenses than using a special brand of progressive lenses.
I wish you a great day.