Progressive Lenses for a Youthful, Stylish You—at Any Age

Wendy Kagan
February 9, 2017

When you’re rounding the corner from your 40s into your 50s, you might come to a critical intersection with your vision. You might have difficulty with reading, yet your distance vision needs correction as well. Is it inevitable that you’ll need bifocals, those fusty icons of aging, to help solve the problem? Not necessarily. Progressive lenses, aka “no-line bifocals,” are a great choice for eyeglasses that will have you feeling as youthful and stylish as ever—no matter how many candles are on your birthday cake.

Progressive Lenses: Your Secret Style Weapon

When you’re wearing progressive lenses—masterfully paired with your favorite fashion frames—no one will know your vision secret. With no line in the middle of the lenses to signal a pair of bifocals or trifocals, progressives look just like a regular pair of eyeglasses. Yet they work a lot like multifocals, correcting your distance vision on top, your reading vision on the bottom, and that sweet “intermediate” spot in between.

Progressives also have some benefits beyond just the aesthetic advantage. Because they are seamless, without a line that your eye has to jump over, many wearers feel that progressive lenses offer superior eyesight correction throughout their field of vision. Instead of a distracting hair-like line, progressives have an invisible central channel of optimal lens power that runs vertically down the middle of each lens. The result is vision correction that more closely matches your eyes’ natural fluctuations in focal distance throughout the day.

While bifocals help with two aspects of vision, near and far, they come up short when you’re focusing on objects in between. Progressives help with your middle-distance vision as well, such as looking at a computer screen or reading a label on a supermarket shelf.



Designer-Frame Progressives? Go for It

Good news: When you make the switch to progressive lenses, you can still have those stylish frames that you love. In earlier versions of progressives, the frames needed to be somewhat large to accommodate the power changes within the lenses. Thankfully, the technology has changed and this is no longer the case, so you’re free to choose the smaller frames that are in style today—or whichever size best complements your face.

The lenses themselves have also gotten thinner, which is another fashion bonus. Usually made of high-index plastic materials, today’s progressive lenses are about half the thickness of standard bifocals.

Love your shades? You can have your Rx progressive lenses fitted to your favorite sunglass frames as well.




Give Yourself Time to Adjust
Many people find that it takes some time to get used to progressive lenses, as the eye needs to adjust to the new configuration. The first time you wear progressives, you might notice some blurring or warping of your peripheral vision, especially in the lower half of your lenses. For most people, this distraction will go away within a week or two. If it remains bothersome, talk to your eye doctor. Sometimes it’s necessary to change to a different progressive lens design that works better for you.

Not Just Any Progressives Will Do
Since progressives are tailored to your individual eyes, ordering them takes special care and the hands-on expertise of a professional eye doctor.The eye doctors at Cohen’s are specially trained to take precise measurements of your eyes to configure the progressive lenses that are right for you, and that will work with the eyeglass frames that you choose.

That said, it is not recommended to buy progressives online. Instead, make an appointment for an eye exam at your local Cohen’s, where you can tap your eye doctor’s specialized knowledge and expertise. You’ll also be able to try on a wide selection of high-quality, designer frames on the spot.

Most important, don’t let the number on your driver’s license limit you. Choose the frames that make you look as young and as stylish as you feel. After all, that’s the joy of progressives.