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Ahh, I See! How to Get Used to Progressive Lenses With These 7 Tips

Progressive lenses are one of the biggest leaps forward for glasses —and we can’t stop singing their praises. These multifocal lenses can fix nearsightedness and farsightedness at the same time. And unlike trifocal or bifocal lenses, there’s no visible line getting in the way of your vision or your pretty face.

So, progressive glasses are making life easier for people with presbyopia (a super-common condition where your close-up vision gets worse with age), and they even help people with different levels of astigmatism. That’s a lot of people whose lives could be improved by progressives.

But, like all glasses, it can take some time to get used to progressive lenses. In fact, these glasses can take a little more time than most, but they’re definitely worth the effort. We’ll explain how to get used to progressive lenses with seven tips that’ll help you see clearly.

How to Get Used to Progressive Lenses

How to get used to progressive lenses: woman wearing Pair Eyewear’s eyeglasses

With any new glasses prescription, your eyes will need time to adjust. But, the adjustment period for multifocal lenses like progressives can be a little longer than the adjustment period for single-vision lenses. Expect to spend one to three weeks getting used to your new lenses. To speed up the process, try out these seven tips. This is how to get used to progressive lenses.

1. Switch to Progressives ASAP

If you haven’t officially made the switch to progressive glasses (maybe you’re just here to see what you’re in for when you do), it’s time to head to the eye doctor. Adjusting to progressive lenses is easier when the difference between your near vision and distance vision is minimal.

When you only need a tiny correction to your near vision, your eyes won’t have to work as hard to switch between the prescription at the top of the lens and the prescription at the bottom of the lens. So as soon as your close-up vision starts to decline, you should see your optometrist.

It’s much better to jump straight into progressive glasses than to spend time switching between distance and reading glasses. Not only will it shorten the adjustment period when you adapt to your new progressive lenses, it’ll also make your life so much easier — no one wants to carry around two pairs of glasses (plus, sunglasses makes three!).

2. Don’t Switch Between Your New and Old Pair

Once you get your new glasses, it’s time to bid your old eyewear adieu! If your old glasses have served you well, you can honor their hard work by donating them to someone in need. At Pair Eyewear, it’s part of our mission to help the whole world see clearly, so for every pair of glasses our customers purchase, we donate a pair to a child in need!

But, let’s get back to your eye care needs. Switching between your old and new glasses can make it take longer for your eyes to adjust to progressives, and it can exacerbate the issues that arise when you’re adjusting to new lenses, like headaches, dizziness, and eye strain — ick!

This happens because instead of switching between two levels of vision correction (which is what happens when you use progressive lenses), your eyes now have to switch between three or even four levels of vision correction (the two levels on your progressive lenses, plus your old distance glasses and your reading glasses if you also use those).

Avoid this literal headache by committing to your progressives.

3. Wear Your Glasses as Much as Possible

Put those contacts back in the case! When you start wearing progressive lenses for the first time, you should wear your new glasses instead of contact lenses for a few weeks.

The longer you spend wearing your glasses, the faster your eyes and brain will adjust. So, put your eyeglasses on when you wake up in the morning and keep them on until you go to bed at night.

Think of this period as bootcamp for your eyes. The all-day training will have them in shape and adjusted to progressive lenses in no time. Once your eyes are used to the progressives, you can go back to wearing your contacts whenever you want —though we’re partial to the statement glasses make.

4. Follow the 20-20-20 Rule

If you do an activity that requires a lot of close-up vision, like reading or staring at a computer screen for long hours, follow this rule: Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and stare at something 20 feet away.

Known as the 20-20-20 rule, this helps prevent eye strain and is a good idea anytime you work on the computer. But, it’s especially important when you’re getting used to new glasses since your eyes will be working harder as they adjust to your new prescription.

You can also try blue-light glasses — which you can have made with your progressive lens prescription — to further prevent eye strain.

5. Follow Your Nose

In order to create the multifocal lenses in progressive glasses, the lens design features a unique shape that allows for the gradual transition from distance to close-up vision correction. But, in order to create this shape, the bottom left and bottom right of each lens is distorted, which can lead to blurry vision if you look through that part of the lens.

So, when you’re adjusting to your new glasses, you may notice some distortion in your peripheral vision if you try to look through that part of the lens. Your peripheral vision when you look straight ahead won’t be affected.

But because that part of the lens is so far to the edge of your vision, moving your eyes to look through it is uncomfortable anyway. Instead, move your head. Practice pointing your nose in the direction of any object you want to look at. This will allow you to see everything clearly, and soon you won’t even notice the distortion at the edge of your lenses.

6. Beware of Stairs

Many first-time progressive wearers find it a little trippy (both literally and figuratively) to walk up and down the stairs with their new glasses. The problem emerges when you try to look down at your feet while you walk.

If you look down through the bottom part of the lens, you’re looking through the area that corrects your close-up vision. Since your feet are far away, they’ll look blurry — just like if you were to look at your feet through a pair of reading glasses. This blurry vision can make it difficult to see the stairs and your feet, which makes you more likely to trip.

Instead, keep your eyes up. Most of us don’t look at our feet as we ascend the stairs anyway. We look a few stairs ahead of where we’re stepping. But if you only feel comfortable when you look at your feet, remember to move your head, not your eyes, to look down. Point your nose down toward your feet so you can look through the top part of the lens.

And while you get used to going up and down stairs with your new eyewear, make sure to hold onto the handrail — safety first!

7. Read With Your Eyes

While you move your nose to look at things that are far away, you’ll move your eyes to look at things that are up close, like the page of a book or a computer screen.

When you read, you’ll look through the bottom part of the lens since that’s the part that corrects your close vision. Try holding the page you want to read about 12-18 inches away from your eyes at chest height.

Now, pick out one word on a page and try moving your eyes until that word comes perfectly into focus. Next, keep your eyes still and move the page until the word comes into focus. This will teach your eyes how to look through the lens when you read, and soon they’ll look through the right spot every time.

Make Progress With Your Progressives

3 pairs of Pair Eyewear glasses

For most people, it takes a couple weeks to adjust to progressive lenses. If you’re still having trouble with your new glasses after three weeks, talk to your optometrist. They may need to conduct a second eye exam and double check your prescription, but this is rare.

Typically after a short adjustment period, you’ll be comfortable wearing progressive lenses. And you’ll be happy to have one pair of glasses that corrects all of your vision needs.

Now that you know how to get used to progressive lenses, you’re ready to find the perfect pair. At Pair Eyewear, progressive glasses start at just $259. And with our 30-day free return policy, you can get a refund or make an exchange if your eyes have trouble adjusting. Shop our stylish frames to find your perfect progressives today.