Help! My progressives aren’t working!

Let’s start with defining what a progressive is. A progressive is a lens that has a prescription at the top usually set for the distance.  Then there is a gradual progression from that distance prescription to the strongest portion of the near prescription at the very bottom of the lens.  In order to get that change in the prescription without a line on the lens, you get distortion out towards the periphery of a lens.  Generally, whenever you pay more for a progressive, you are paying to have that distorted area pushed further into the periphery and to have the transition into the distortion be more gradual.  This gives you a wider viewing area to use and makes the distortion less noticeable.

If your eye is not looking right through the middle of that clear corridor it makes the lens difficult to use.  Too much to the left or right and you will constantly notice distortion which can cause dizziness.

If the frame you have is too small, the progressive is difficult to use.  The reading will generally be cut off and trying to find a clear spot in the lens for intermediate distances will be difficult as well.

If where the progression to your near power starts is set too high or too low, they will be difficult to use. If it’s too high the distance will be blurry. If it’s too low, it will be hard to use the reading section. You may yourself physically lifting your glasses up to use them.

If an outdated lens design is used, the area you get clear vision to look through is not as wide. This generally makes the lens more difficult to use.

There are also lens designs that work better depending on what your task is. For instance, if you are driving at night or working on the computer, there are progressive designs for those specific tasks.

Also, there are some prescriptions that work better with certain types of progressive designs.  I leave that in the very capable hands of my opticians. With over 40 years of experience, I often defer to them for tricky cases like high astigmatism or very different prescriptions between the 2 eyes.  They are the experts in figuring out what lens design works best.

Another possibility is that maybe a progressive just isn’t the right choice for what you are trying to do. This is when an in-depth conversation with your doctor or optical styling consultant is a must.  If you would like to have us help guide you through your progressive journey or would like to be set up with a new pair just give us a call/text at 512-651-5186 or email us at appointment@westlakehillsvision.com

Dr. Susan Elizondo

Dr. Susan Elizondo

Dr. Susan Elizondo has been practicing optometry for 10 years, and proudly took ownership of Westlake Hills Vision Center in 2019. She has a passion for nutrition and practices a plant based approach to health and healing.

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