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Three On Thursday

Today I’m sharing with all of you my initial experience with something many of us will go deal with as we get older . . . adjusting to progressive lenses.

  1. The background: I have worn glasses for nearsightedness since I was in my late 20s. My prescription isn’t very strong and hasn’t really changed much in 30 years, but I always wear my glasses for driving, going to the movies (not that I’ve been to the movies in over two years) and attending live performances. I rarely wear my glasses at home or at work. However, I recently realized that I’ve been squinting at my computer screen for the last little while. I can still read (just about) everything on the monitor but it’s not as sharp as it used to be. I called to set up an appointment with my ophthalmologist and got a date for the end of . . . wait for it . . . November. I decided that was unacceptable so last week I made an appointment with a local optometrist associated with LensCrafters.
  2. The verdict: The exam was very thorough and everyone was super nice. The nearsightedness in my right eye has actually improved and I have 20/20 vision in that eye. My left eye, however, has astigmatism and is still mildly nearsighted. And due to my age, I now have presbyopia. I’m ahead of the curve by not experiencing this until the age of 56 but . . . here we are. My initial thought was to just get 2 pairs of glasses, one for distance and one for close work. The nice lady at LensCrafters, though, suggested I try progressive lenses. I shared my concerns about adjusting to them and she assured me it would be easy and I’d be used to them in 3 days or less. I picked them up on Tuesday after work.
  3. The results: I’m one day in and, frankly, I don’t love them. The distance is fine, the close up is pretty good but it’s hard to find the sweet spot, and the midline (which is what I need for computer work) is not good at all. I’ve tried lowering my monitors and that helped some but yesterday I wound up not really wearing them at work at all. It’s nice when driving because I can both see the road and the dashboard (with my old glasses anything up close was blurry) but walking around and turning my head is very odd as everything sort of . . . undulates. I think my experience is pretty typical but I’m not 100% convinced that it’s just a matter of adjusting to them and I can’t help but wonder if they just aren’t right for my particular situation. Time will tell, I guess.

And that’s my initial experience with progressive lenses. If you’ve been down this road I would welcome any advice you have. In the meantime, I’ll be over here, tilting my head up and down and trying to find the focal point.

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This Post Has 25 Comments

  1. Everyone is different. Fletch couldn’t stand them. He wears bifocals, but not progressives. I’ve never worn anything but progressives (once I needed them). I didn’t have any period of adjustment – they just seemed perfect from the get go. But, as I said, everyone is different and they might just not be the thing for you.

  2. Good luck to you! I never adjusted to progressive lenses. Or bifocals, either. (Tom had no issues, though, and loves his progressives. . . ) I just stick with my contacts + a pair of readers (always on top of my head). I think the “undulating” thing is because of the astigmatism (although I could very well be wrong), because I also have astigmatism and that “undulating” really bugged me. (My eyesight is much worse than yours . . . )

  3. I had to get bigger frames/lenses after trying my first pair for 60 days. l sometimes need computer glasses for the mid range but mostly do without, now that that I have a stronger script all around. This year at 64 1/2 Dr Kreigstein said l have cataracts! I must admit just within the last few years l found out that the Docs might not be able to correct for everything. I naively thought they could.

  4. I’ve worn glasses since elementary school. Now that reading is an issue, the optometrist keeps suggesting progressives and I keep declining. I don’t mind having to put on reading glasses when I’m wearing contacts and when I’m wearing glasses, I just move them slightly up/down my nose to read. I’ve also said a hard no to contact lenses where one eye is for distance and one eye is for reading, I can’t imagine. I’ll be curious to hear if you adjust to them given some more time.

  5. I have had progressives for years now. I ask for the centers of my lenses to be set one millimeter higher in the frame than they like to do to accommodate heavy computer use. I now always get a frame style that has separate nose pieces rather than the molded plastic frames. The ones with the separate nose pieces help the frames stay up where they are supposed to be, rather than sliding down my nose. And yes, lowering your monitors is a big help.

    there are are also different kinds of progressive lenses and some have a bigger “sweet spot” for the computer distance than others.

    Good luck!

  6. I could not ever get used to progressives. And the clincher for me… falling on the stairs. I wear readers for close work and I recently got a pair that helps me with computer work.

    I need to go have an eye exam this year, but my plan is to get distant only lenses. Someone made a suggestion to me to wear a single contact in one eye for distance and your brain will make all that work, but I am not so sure about that, lol.

    All that being said, I LOVE your new glasses! They look great on you! (But… one thing my optometrist told me was you needed to have width – top to bottom – for progressives to work best. The longer bit of distance helps with the progression bits of the lens… if that makes sense)

  7. I have trifocals, and though I have tried four different times, I could not adjust at all to progressive lenses. I don’t mind having the lined trifocals (you can barely detect the lines, actually), but I do mind that I’m always being told that they are “new and improved” and then I still can’t do it.

    Good luck.

  8. The first time I tried progressive lenses I had much the same experience … decided I felt like a bobblehead after a couple of weeks and gave up. Fast forward a few years and we were going to Disney … not wanting to have to keep swapping glasses while walking & reading the map, I decided to try again. After a week at Disney I was used to the glasses and I still wear them, but not for computer work. I wear them to drive, go to the grocery store, etc.

  9. I have worn glasses since elementary school, so you have my sympathy for trying to make peace with them. I have myopia, presbyopia, and astigmatism. I have worn progressives for years, but you have to get the changes in your view set up for the right place on your lenses. It does take some time to adjust to them, maybe for a week or two. You may be surprised at how well you adjust if given a bit of time. It’s a big change for your brain! If they aren’t right, go back and tell them your issues and see if they will adjust the gradations. (I believe they are guaranteed if they don’t work for you, yes?) Try not to give up prematurely. I say that because at your age, your vision may begin to change more than you can imagine, and it would benefit you in the future to be able to wear progressives. I tried to wear bifocals, but the line in the lenses drove me crazy. I was forever trying to look over and under it. In the end, do what works best for you. As an aside, you are not going to love a lot of the vicissitudes of aging, so be gentle with yourself and be patient in finding things that work for you.

  10. I was not able to get used to progressives. I gave them a try on twice, separated by 10 years. What works for me is bifocals because I also have astigmatism and I don’t like to constantly switch glasses. For computer work, however, I keep a pair of readers that are the right magnification for reading my monitor. You’ll find what works for you.

  11. I’m sorry you don’t love them now, but I hope you can adjust within a couple of days. I’ve worn progressives for the past 20 years and think it took me about a week to get used to them. I had to make sure I was holding on to the banister when going down stairs because seeing the steps was tricky, and I dropped plenty of clothes on the ground when I was hanging laundry because I had to get used to seeing the clothesline. I agree with Linda M, if you can find the right frame (mine also have separate nose pieces) that will help keep the glasses where they are supposed to be. My frames are “frameless” so they’re really light, with holes drilled in the lenses to attach the nose bridge and the arms. My ophthalmologist has also adjusted the arms (bending them behind the ears), and all of these things help keep the glasses where they are supposed to be so I can see! Good luck in finding a solution that works for you!

  12. My quest for better vision began with rigid contact lenses in high school. I loved them and had no issues until I moved to a dry and windy climate. I then began to wear a soft lens for astigmatism. That was okay but not great. My doc suggested correcting one eye for near and one for far vision. That was 30 years ago and I’m so happy I gave it a try. He said very few people do well with that arrangement but it works so well for me. I have progressives for the very few times I wear glasses and they were a struggle at first, but I figured if I could adjust to the near/far contacts I could adjust to progressives. Hang in there, the perfect solution for you is out there.

    1. I also have one near and one far eye but I only need one contact lens since my left eye is perfect for near vision. It’s called monovision when the two eyes are corrected differently and some eye professionals won’t do them as not everyone can adjust. The opthalmologist who fitted me for the first time said the adjustment happens in your brain, not your eyes, and I adjusted more quickly than anyone he’d ever known. Says something about my brain, no doubt. 🙂 The only caution is that it does affect your depth perception; I noticed that for a while as I kept banging dishes into the shelf instead of onto it, but I don’t really notice it much now. I think it would be worth a try if you don’t like the progressives.

  13. I wore progressives for a time…. and like you, hated them the first few days and then presto chango…. I loved them and when I wore glasses that WEREN’T progressive I was annoyed because I couldn’t read!! lol Now, my nearsightedness… like yours has improved. Who KNEW that was a thing? and I am only wearing reading glasses.

  14. I’ve always had progressives since that became a thing. A little over three years ago, I noticed that I was always tilting my head back to see my computer monitor (it’s as low as it will go) and I had terrible neck/shoulder/upper back pain because of it. I ordered a pair of “near range” progressives from Zenni (SO MUCH MORE AFFORDABLE) specifically for working at my computer (where I am most of the time) and what a game changer! Eventually, I ordered a second pair to have at home! I’ve been considering a mid-range pair. (Good info here – https://www.zennioptical.com/workspace-progressives)

  15. I think you need to go back and tell them your issues. It sounds like they need adjusting. It usually takes me 2 or 3 trips back before they are adjusted correctly. You can’t really tell if they are right while you are at the optometrist. You have to use them a day or two in all situations and then go back and tell them your issues.

  16. You will definitely get used to them. Our brains are wonderful things – they do adjust similarly to when folks start wearing contacts or other glasses. I’ve been wearing progressives for years – and did have a little depth-perception problem at the beginning – am still careful on steps – but the convenience of not having to take glasses on and off is definitely worth waiting for the brain adjustment. My guess is that within a week you’ll like them much better. I, too, use the middle distance for the computer and playing the piano – and the serious bifocal part for doing needlepoint and reading paperback novels with small print.

  17. I had severe astigmatism and was very nearsighted in both eyes, so I don’t know if my experience compares to yours. I never completely adjusted to progressives, I always had trouble with the computer screen and not being able to focus when switching from near to far vision. I think it was due to my astigmatism. In February, I had cataract surgery, they implanted lenses that completely corrected my astigmatism and made me significantly less nearsighted. I still wear glasses for distance, have no problem with the progressive lenses, and am able to read and do close work with or without my glasses.
    I hope things will improve for you or that they can make adjustments to lenses help you. Good luck!

  18. I mostly wear contacts and readers but they once had me try the contacts where one is near and one is far and I was miserable and that was a failure. My glasses for when I don’t have my contacts in are progressives but since I only wear them a short time each day, they don’t bother me. At the start of the pandemic I wore them every day for about 6 months and I was fine. It does take some getting used to.

  19. I recently got progressives, too, and periodically notice that funhouse mirror effect, but not often enough for it to bother me. My optometrist did suggest that I consider getting a pair of glasses for just my near vision for working on the computer, so I took an old pair of frames to Costco for that.

  20. I am mildly nearsighted and have glasses that I wear for distance (the movies, mainly) and for driving at night. I’m sure one day I’ll need something stronger because I’ve noticed that things in the distance are fuzzier than they used to be. I hope you are able to adjust to the new lenses (you are retraining your brain a bit, after all!) or find another solution, because I’m sure the sensations you’re experiencing are really annoying.

  21. What a wide range of experiences! I was very nearsighted (couldn’t read the alarm clock without glasses) and wore glasses/contacts all the time until 2002, when I had LASIK – it worked a miracle (I was 40) and I enjoyed about five years of no glasses … and then I started to need them for reading (I do have astigmatism in both eyes, but it wasn’t worth correcting). I wore cheaters for a few years and in 2009 bought my first pair of progressive sunglasses so I could read outside AND see better for driving (astigmatism correction), especially at night. When I started working in the yarn store in 2010, I broke down and got progressives for inside – it was great to just put on my glasses once, and be able to see all day (those yarn ball bands have REALLY tiny print!). The progressives are really expensive and a few years ago when I needed a stronger prescription for reading, I went back to the cheaters. Last summer, I decided I was ready to “see again all the time” and recommitted to two pairs of progressives – one for inside and one for outside. I LOVE them. My frames are a good deal bigger than yours and I think that helps. Like Bonny said, I do pay close attention going DOWN the stairs – and I’m sure my correction is nothing like hers must be … I can see without my glasses, I just can’t read, or do anything up close (like knit). Like I said, progressives have been a game changer for me – good luck!

  22. It’s been very interesting to hear everyone’s take on progressives! The bigger lenses are definitely the way to go! The ones l gated after 60 days were too small. I realized this when l flew down multiple white marble stairs at a museum and thanked God that l didn’t break my neck! If l stopped my momentum l would surely have fallen.

  23. For long stretches at the computer, you might want a pair of reading only to make it a little easier

    I started with just reading glasses but hated looking up and taking them off while watching sports, so I got progressives a month later. It took about a week of wearing the progressives nonstop to get the hang of it. Going down stairs was tricky for a while,

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