Types of Progressive Lenses (2023)

Eye Health

Glasses

Shopping for No-Line Bifocals

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Troy Bedinghaus, OD

Types of Progressive Lenses (1)

Troy Bedinghaus, OD

Troy L. Bedinghaus, OD, board-certified optometric physician, owns Lakewood Family Eye Care in Florida. He is an active member of the American Optometric Association.

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Updated on November 18, 2021

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Johnstone M. Kim, MD

Types of Progressive Lenses (2)

Medically reviewed byJohnstone M. Kim, MD

Johnstone M. Kim, MD, is a board-certified ophthalmologist and a practicing physician at Midwest Retina in Dublin, Ohio.

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(Video) Types of Progressive Lenses | SportRx

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Progressive lenses, or no-line bifocals, contain three prescription strengths that are blended at each transition point so that the eyes can easily change between them. This differs from traditional bifocals or trifocals, which have two or three strengths, respectively, that abruptly change in each lens.

Progressive lenses are helpful for near-sighted people who go on to discover that they not only need continued help seeing things that are far away, but that they now need help seeing things that are close-up as well. Called presbyopia, this often comes with age and makes it harder to read small print.

In addition to the vision benefits of progressive lenses, many prefer them simply for aesthetic reasons. While traditional bifocals have a visible line across the center of the lens (trifocals have two), progressive lenses look like regular lenses.

This article discusses five different kinds of progressive lenses that are available and any challenges you may have adapting to them. Use this information to have a discussion with your vision care provider about what is best for you.

1

Standard Progressive Lenses

Types of Progressive Lenses (4)

Standard progressive lenses will work for most people. They will also fit many budgets without breaking them.

The price is higher than regular flat-top bifocal or trifocal lenses. Still, they are quite affordable. Depending on the brand name, these lenses will range in price from $175 to $250 for the base lenses.

Benefits:

  • Comparatively affordable
  • Give you a fairly wide reading area

Disadvantages:

  • May not work with all frames

Standard progressive lenses require a certain frame size so there is enough vertical height to provide—and allow for a smooth transition between—all three strengths.

If you choose a frame that's too short, the most useful power for reading may be lost during the manufacturing process.

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2

Short Corridor Progressive Lenses

Short corridor progressive lenses are designed to fit into smaller frames. They offer an option that reflects both fashion and function.

Because of their size, it takes a skilled optician to fit them properly.

They are slightly more expensive than standard progressive lenses and range from $250 to $400.

Benefits:

  • Can be used in small frames, which may be extra helpful for those with a narrow face

Disadvantages:

  • May be difficult to adapt to and cause some distortion

The "corridor" for reading vision is not very wide with these glasses. If you look down to read, make sure you keep your eyes centered and not out to the sides.

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(Video) Progressive Lens vs Bifocal - Which is Better for You?

3

Computer Progressive Lenses

Computer progressive lenses are also known as "office lenses" or "near variable focus lenses." They are meant for use at short ranges and designed to provide clear vision at around 16 inches to 6 feet.

If you're at a computer more than fourhours per day, these lenses are ideal. They help reduce visual fatigue, or computer vision syndrome.

Computer progressive lenses are great for people working at near and intermediate distances. These lenses also allow for better posture, making it easier to hold your head in a more natural position. The price is generally in the $150 to $250 range.

Painters, artists, dentists, librarians, mechanics, hair dressers, and editors are just a few of the people who may want to try computer progressive lenses.

Benefits:

  • Greatly improve visual comfort and eye strain
  • Reduce the neck discomfort caused by the head positions you need to hold when wearing a regular progressive lens

Disadvantages:

  • Are only meant to be used for computer work; regular glasses are needed at other times

4

Premium Progressive Lenses

Premium progressive lenses are often referred to as "free-form design" or "wavefront technology." Premium lenses provide a much wider, distortion-free reading area. Vision is often clearer because these lenses are usually 100% digitally surfaced or ground.

These lenses are designed by computer, with small changes to allow both eyes to work together. They often allow for the fact that you have a dominant eye.

This means both your prescription and your frame are better customized for you. Instead of compacting a lens design, as with short corridor progressive lenses, they allow for all ranges of power to fit nicely into any frame.

As expected, these lenses do cost more than standard or entry-level progressive lenses. The prices will range from $600 to $800.

Benefits:

  • Custom-designed to fit both your chosen eyeglass frame, prescription, and eye anatomy
  • Generally much easier to adapt to
  • Have much less “swim effect," or dizziness with head movement
  • May sometimes feel like you're not wearing a multifocal lens at all

Disadvantages:

  • Comparatively much more expensive
  • Co-pays usually much higher (even with vision insurance)
  • Can only be purchased through a provider that has the technology to take digital measurements needed to make these lenses

How to Choose the Best Lenses for Your Glasses

5

Ground-View Progressive Lenses

Ground-view progressive lenses are good for active people who like outdoor activities such as golf. These lenses have patented technology that greatly reduces any lens distortions. They give you a “ground view” that is meant to be quite close to natural vision.

These lenses range from $350 to $550.

Benefits:

  • Offers another area at the bottom and sides of the lens to allow for better vision when looking down at the ground, using the computer, or driving

For example, golfers can look down past the reading part of the lens to another zone. It provides clear vision at an intermediate length, to better see where the ball is on the ground. A regular progressive lens may cause that area to be blurry and not in focus.

Disadvantages:

  • Tend to cost more than standard progressive lenses, though the price is often lower than premium progressive lenses
  • Only available from a few manufacturers

6

Transitions Progressive Lenses

People sometimes confuse "transition" lenses with progressive lenses. Transitions is simply a brand of a photochromatic lens. These lenses darken on their own when they are exposed to ultraviolet light. They provide shade for the eyes. When you walk back indoors, they quickly change to clear again.

Photochromatic lenses are generally anywhere from $80 to $150 above the regular price for a progressive lens.

Benefits:

  • Make it easy to have just one pair of glasses for both indoor and outdoor activities

Disadvantages:

  • Sometimes do not darken as much as you might like when you're on the road due to UV protection added to windshields by some car manufacturers

Keeping Your Eyes Safe in the Sun

Summary

People who are ready for bifocals due to age-related changes in vision may want to try progressive lenses. If so, they have a few more options than they once did. The available lens styles offer "better optics" in terms of style, at the same time that they address specific vision needs.

If you need a smaller frame but don't want to lose the lens fields that help with reading, you can try short-corridor progressive lenses. If it's in your budget, you may opt for premium lenses that give you a custom fit. Or you may go with a "ground view" lens that works best for your active lifestyle. Check with your eye care provider to find out which style of progressive lenses is best suited to your needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How many types of progressive eyeglass lenses are there?

    There are five types: standard, short-corridor, computer, premium, and ground view.

  • Do I need large frames for progressive lenses?

    Maybe, if you're opting for standard progressive lenses. If you want a smaller eyeglass frame, you may be able to have them custom-fit with short-corridor progressive lenses. They are designed to provide optimal vision with small frames.

    Learn More:How to Choose the Best Glasses for You

  • What are some alternatives to progressive lenses?

    Aside from switching back and forth between glasses with different prescriptions or opting for regular bifocal or trifocal lenses, there are a few options to consider:

    • Multifocal intraocular lenses, a type of lens used in cataract surgery
    • Laser blended vision surgery, a type of LASIK surgery
    • Multifocal contact lenses
    • Clip-on lenses with each of your prescriptions

    Learn More:Multifocal Intraocular Lenses for Cataract Surgery

(Video) The Ultimate Guide To Progressive Lens Size and Frame Choice. Which Glasses For Progressive Lenses?

4 Sources

Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. Alvarez TL, Kim EH, Granger-Donetti B. Adaptation to progressive additive lenses: Potential factors to consider. Sci Rep. 2017;7(1):2529.doi:10.1038/s41598-017-02851-5

  2. Han SC, Graham AD, Lin MC. Clinical assessment of a customized free-form progressive add lens spectacle. Optom Vis Sci. 2011;88(2):234-43. doi:10.1097/OPX.0b013e31820846ac

  3. Salerno LC, Tiveron MC Jr, Alió JL. Multifocal intraocular lenses: Types, outcomes, complications and how to solve them.Taiwan J Ophthalmol. 2017;7(4):179-184. doi:10.4103/tjo.tjo_19_17

    (Video) Which Progressive Lens Is The Best?

  4. Ganesh S, Brar S, Gautam M, et al. Visual and refractive outcomes following laser blended vision using non-linear aspheric micro-monovision.J Refract Surg. 2020;36(5):300-307. doi:10.3928/1081597X-20200407-02

Types of Progressive Lenses (5)

By Troy Bedinghaus, OD
Troy L. Bedinghaus, OD, board-certified optometric physician, owns Lakewood Family Eye Care in Florida. He is an active member of the American Optometric Association.

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FAQs

What is the best type of progressive lenses? ›

Right now Varilux X 4D are considered the best, we will talk about them later. Glasses with progressive lenses are the best option for patients with presbyopia or eyestrain in short distances.

What is difference between standard and premium progressive lenses? ›

The Difference Between Standard & Premium Progressive Lenses

Important to make note of, if you are opting for standard lenses, you'll need larger frames. On the other hand, premium lenses offer a broader viewing area and less visual distortions since they are custom-made for your eyes.

What are the newest progressive lenses? ›

Varilux® X Series™, featuring Xtend™ Technology, is our most advanced progressive lens available. In addition to providing sharp vision and smooth transitions at any distance, it extends your vision within arm's reach, so you no longer have to tilt or angle your head to find your focus.

What are the 3 types of eye lenses? ›

What are the different types of eyeglass lenses?
  • Concave lenses. These are thinnest in the center. ...
  • Convex lenses. These lenses are thickest in the center, like a magnifying glass. ...
  • Cylindrical lenses. These curve more in one direction than in the other.

Which is better crizal or Varilux? ›

Crizal provides safer, more comfortable nighttime driving. Night vision can be problematic for people with astigmatisms and can deteriorate for all of us as we age. Sometimes eyes don't adjust between bright light and darkness as quickly as they need to.

Why can't I see my computer with my progressive lenses? ›

Progressive lenses don't work well for computer screens because the intermediate part of the lens isn't wide enough to allow you to see the width of your monitor simply by moving your eyes. This forces you to move your head from side to side to see the entire screen.

Are Varilux lenses really better? ›

With a 96 percent patient satisfaction rate, Varilux lenses provide superior vision correction for presbyopia due to their cutting-edge technology.

Are premium progressives worth it? ›

premium progressive lenses? If the price is a factor, opt for standard progressive lenses. However, if you have a complicated prescription or need customized lenses, premium progressive lenses are the better option. Either way, the new glasses will help get your vision back on track.

Are more expensive progressive lenses better? ›

Conversely, higher-quality progressive lenses position the drop so that the wearer can look through it naturally, and reduce peripheral distortion by making the viewing area wider. These changes make the lenses more expensive, but result in far better comfort and vision quality.

Why are my new progressive lenses blurry? ›

It's normal for your new eye prescription to seem blurry at first. Having blurry vision could also be a sign that your PD (pupillary distance) is off and that you need to return your progressive lenses.

What is the average cost of Varilux lenses? ›

Lens Price List
Single Vision Lenses
PlasticLighter and safer than glass$34.00
Varilux Physio® DRXView Details$159.00
Varilux® Physio® W3+View Details$194.00
Varilux X Series™View Details$299.00
62 more rows

Which progressive lenses have the widest field of vision? ›

With a 40% wider field of vision than a typical progressive lens, the LC-HD Enhanced View progressive lens gives you better vision across the entire lens, resulting in improved transition near or far.

What progressive lens has the widest reading area? ›

Premium progressive lenses are often referred to as "free-form design" or "wavefront technology." Premium lenses provide a much wider, distortion-free reading area. 2 Vision is often clearer because these lenses are usually 100% digitally surfaced or ground.

Are Varilux lenses glass or plastic? ›

Varilux Comfort now offers a high index lens made in the glass material. Glass lenses have many advantages, which includes better anti-scratch properties and superior visual acuity.

What is the best material for progressive lenses? ›

If impact resistance is a concern or you have a moderately high plus or high minus prescription, polycarbonate plastic may be the best choice of material. Polycarbonate plastic has an index of refraction of 1.586, a specific gravity of 1.20, and is very impact resistant.

Who makes the highest quality eyeglass lenses? ›

Essilor is the largest and highest quality eyeglass lens maker in the world, with over 200 lens labs in the United States alone.

Who uses Varilux lenses? ›

Varilux lenses are specifically designed for people over 40 who experience presbyopia - a condition in which near vision (needed when reading, sewing or working at the computer) becomes increasingly blurred with age. Varilux enables people to see near, far and everything in-between and look fabulous at the same time.

How much do Crizal progressive lenses cost? ›

For single vision lenses, the Crizal Sapphire 360° UV price in India starts from ₹3,820 onwards. You can contact your nearest Essilor store for more details.

How can I tell if my lenses are Varilux? ›

Varilux ® Lenses

How do I know that I have genuine Varilux lenses? Varilux lenses are supplied from the manufacturing laboratory with a Varilux lenses Certificate of Authenticity (COA) card. If you do not receive a COA card with your Varilux lenses, please consult your eyecare professional.

How do you tell if your progressive lenses are correct? ›

Common signs that your lenses aren't fitting right include: having to lift your head to read at a close distance; having to look downwards to read at a far distance; and experiencing blurry vision.

What is a Tier 4 progressive lens? ›

There are 4 tiers of AR coatings available — each tier offers a different level of scratch and glare resistant protection, with Tier IV giving the highest level of protection, including features to help keep your glasses cleaner.

What is the difference between Varilux lenses and progressive lenses? ›

Varilux S Series lenses also eliminate distortion and provide greater edge-to-edge clarity than any other progressive lens. Thanks to the patented lens shape and cutting-edge technology, Varilux S Series lenses can help give you more natural vision, helping you see the way you did before you needed progressive lenses.

Why can't I see my computer with my progressive lenses? ›

Progressive lenses don't work well for computer screens because the intermediate part of the lens isn't wide enough to allow you to see the width of your monitor simply by moving your eyes. This forces you to move your head from side to side to see the entire screen.

Why are my new progressive lenses blurry? ›

The causes why your progressive lenses are blurry is either a false measured power of your lenses or the lenses are not centered correctly in front of your eyes. This sounds pretty simple.

Why do progressive lenses have blurry on the sides? ›

Progressive lenses tend to be blurry on the sides because each lens promotes three fields of vision: An upper lens segment designed to help the wearer see objects in the distance. A lower lens segment designed to help the wearer see objects within very close proximity.

Are Varilux lenses worth the extra money? ›

With a 96 percent patient satisfaction rate, Varilux lenses provide superior vision correction for presbyopia due to their cutting-edge technology.

What is the best frame shape for progressive lenses? ›

Progressive wearers should avoid aviators and cat-eyes because both can cut off the bottom portion of the prescription, resulting in a loss of reading vision. Instead, they should look for shorter frames with rounded edges such as horn-rimmed, retro wingtip, circular, and oval ones.

How much are premium progressive lenses? ›

Most consumers end up paying around $150 to $250 for their progressive lenses. You can expect to get a good pair of progressive lenses for this price range. Overall, progressive lenses are a great solution if you have specific vision challenges.

What is the average cost of Varilux lenses? ›

Lens Price List
Single Vision Lenses
PlasticLighter and safer than glass$34.00
Varilux Physio® DRXView Details$159.00
Varilux® Physio® W3+View Details$194.00
Varilux X Series™View Details$299.00
62 more rows

Is Zeiss or Essilor better? ›

In our opinion, ZEISS BlueGuard is more superior in blue light protection and offers better value. Both ZEISS BlueGuard and Essilor Blue UV Capture are available at Evershine Optical. Book an appointment with us to find out more.

How can I tell if my lenses are Varilux? ›

Varilux ® Lenses

How do I know that I have genuine Varilux lenses? Varilux lenses are supplied from the manufacturing laboratory with a Varilux lenses Certificate of Authenticity (COA) card. If you do not receive a COA card with your Varilux lenses, please consult your eyecare professional.

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