Treating Presbyopia with (Digital) Progressive Lenses

When it comes to presbyopia, one of the most often prescribed treatments are eyeglasses with progressive lenses.

Patients often realize the convenience and superior optics of progressive vs single vision, even bifocal and trifocal, lenses as they are again able to see images sharply at any distance with a single frame, eliminating the need for multiple pairs of prescription eye glasses.

At Midtown Optometry, we offer the the finest technology available in our progressive lenses.

But more on that later...

Everyday, Midtown Optometry has the privilege to distribute progressive lenses, increasing the quality of life of hundreds of Santa Cruzians every year.

To understand why progressive lenses work as well as they do for treating presbyopia, we first need to understand what presbyopia is, and why we all eventually get it.

The Science of Presbyopia

We’ve previously covered presbyopia in-depth in one of our previous articles, if you’ve got the time, why not check out this article?

Presbyopia Diagram

Otherwise, here’s a quick explanation of the presbyopia for you:

Presbyopia occurs over time as the lenses in our eyes, which we use to focus light and get a clear picture, get less flexible —a result of weakening eye muscles and the disappearance of certain molecules in the eye that function to bend light.

Treating Presbyopia

Once our eyes start to have trouble bending light to focus for reading, glasses are often prescribed.

Traditional single vision, bifocals, and trifocals can be used to bend light before they hit our eyes, which takes the load of focusing light off our eyes’ natural lenses, while still focusing a clear image onto the retinas of the eyes for us to see.

In short, even if our eyes have a hard time seeing things, glasses can assist in focusing to regain clear vision.

What are Progressive Lenses?

Traditional single vision lenses, and even bifocals and trifocals, restore close vision but at the cost of some intermediate and far vision.

Progressive reading glasses allow the user to focus up close without sacrificing the ability to see far away like with single vision reading glasses, and without the need to read down your nose as with bifocals.

Imagine catching a baseball….

 U.S. Air Force photo/Mike Kaplan

U.S. Air Force photo/Mike Kaplan

Someone who is nearsighted without glasses, would not see the ball well far away, but it would come into focus as it approached.

Someone with presbyopia would find it harder to see the ball as it approached. And, someone who is both farsighted and has presbyopia, wouldn’t be able to see the ball as much more than a fuzzy white blob once it was within a few feet of them.

Progressive glasses fix how the ball looks when it is far away, when it is a medium/intermediate distance away, as well as when it is flying into your mitt.

Single vision lenses, bifocals, or trifocals cannot do this!

Because of this remarkable ability to focus objects at any distance, progressive glasses are beloved by many patients.

How Do Progressive Glasses Work?

In order to achieve this continuous flow of clarity, progressive lenses have regions which appear softer towards the edges of the lens which are tuned out by the brain after an initial period of adaptation, usually a few days to about a week.

It’s like how people can always see their nose, but just don’t pay attention to it.

Thankfully, developing technology such as digitally surfaced lenses allows for the reduction of these regions, minimizing their size on the lens, and the time needed for patients to adapt to them.

What Are Digitally Surfaced Lenses?

 Credit: Overnight Glasses     Aberration of light rays Due to the bending of light on the back of the lens, which increases the farther one looks away from the center of the lens.

Credit: Overnight Glasses

Aberration of light rays Due to the bending of light on the back of the lens, which increases the farther one looks away from the center of the lens.

While older, spherical progressive lenses created peripheral distortions and swim effect, Midtown Optometry’s digitally designed and laser cut lenses are much more precise and have almost no peripheral distortions.

This is because regular spherical lenses, use perfect geometric shapes generally work, but aren’t tailored our each persons unique eyes.

The digital progressive lenses used at Midtown Optometry utilize advanced technology to give easy adaptation, great visual clarity, and protection from disruptive blue and ultraviolet light.

Digitally surfaced lenses are lenses which have been shaped according to precise measurements and mathematical models.

Specific, personalized curves are crafted into each lens to fit a patient’s unique prescription, facial geometry, and eye shape, ensuring light is focused perfectly on the retina from most if not all angles through the lens, reducing blurriness.

Every angle in which light rays can enter the lens produces a nice sharp image, whereas with other progressive lenses, some parts of the lens may be distorted.

To ensure the benefits of digitally surfaced progressive lenses are maximized, we record specific measurements of your eye positions, such as where your pupils rest from the bottom of the lens, and how far one pupil is from the other.

Digitally surfaced lenses are tailored to the lifestyle of each particular patient: people who use a computers a lot may want to see a little more in the intermediate region, while people who read frequently may prefer more of the close, reading region.

Are Digital Eyeglass Lenses Worth It?

While traditional progressive lenses allow people to see well at a variety of distances without interruption; they do cause peripheral distortions which can be difficult, or even nauseating to adapt to.

Digital lenses have increased the quality and personalization of progressive lenses. With digitally surfaced lenses, patients experience briefer, easier initial adaptation, followed by long periods of satisfaction and crisp, clear vision.

Talk with one of our opticians will help you get the exact specification for your lenses to suit your lifestyle.

 Credit: Overnight Glasses   Resurfacing the back of the lens ensures light is focused correctly on the back of the eye. Note the uneven modeling of the back of the lens in comparison to the average lens as shown in the previous image .

Credit: Overnight Glasses

Resurfacing the back of the lens ensures light is focused correctly on the back of the eye. Note the uneven modeling of the back of the lens in comparison to the average lens as shown in the previous image.

Midtown Optometry is located at Suite J5, in the historic Frank Lloyd Wright Medical Complex at 550 Water Street.

Feel free to walk in or schedule an appointment with us online!