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Why we lose our focusing ability as we get older

The following information is taken from the Progressive Lenses pamphlet you can find in our office. If you think you may be losing your focusing ability to read up close and would like to know what can be done to help you, please schedule an appointment.


What is Prebyopia?

When we focus our eyes, we are doing more than just concentrating harder or squinting. We can actually change the power of our eyes when we focus. This helps us to see objects clearly, whether they are close to us or far away. This is very similar to changing the focus on a camera to get that perfect, sharp photograph.

With age, this ability of our eyes to focus slowly diminishes. The official name for this loss of focus is Presbyopia. Often the first signs of this loss of focus are straining to read small print and a need to move objects further away to see them clearly. It’s like having a fixed focus camera: you either need to move the subject or add a different lens.

For us, that means we need a multifocal lens. Multifocal means that there are different powers on different parts of the lens. This is different from most lenses that only provide a single power across the entire lens. There is often an adjustment period with these lenses. However, if we can learn to use those different powers, we will be able to see clearly at all distances again.

Bifocal Lenses

Bifocal lenses are commonly what we associate with this focusing problem. Bifocals provide 2 areas of clear vision. The bulk of the lens is made up of your distance prescription, allowing you to see clearly at distances 20 feet away and further. The bifocal, or add, is built into the same lens and allows you to see clearly at one additional distance, for example at 40cm where it is believed most people comfortably hold their reading materials.

There are a couple of compromises we have to make with bifocals. One, there is a noticeable line in our lenses. Second, we can only correct for one distance up close, which often leaves our computer, or intermediate, distance blurry.

Progressive Lenses

Progressive lenses, also called no-line bifocals, present a different solution to our focusing problems. Instead of providing only two distances that you can see clearly from, these lenses are uniquely designed to allow all distances to be seen clearly.

However, like bifocals, there are some compromises with this lens. While there is somewhere on the lens where we will be able to see clearly, we have to train our eyes and brain to find the specific place on the lens for each specific distance. This sounds difficult, but after some time with the lens, you will be able to do it. Also, you can see in this drawing there’s something strange about the outside of the lens. Remember, there are no markings on the actual lens, however this is an area of distortion. Some people may notice poorer side vision when first trying out these lenses.

Computer Lenses

Computer Lenses are special lenses that would be a great compliment to your primary pair of progressive lenses.  This pair of glasses is great for people who spend the majority of their day on the computer in a desk setting.

These lenses have a large area dedicated to providing clear vision at the distance we use on the computer. This larger area helps to greatly reduce the strain and discomfort we get from working on a computer for an extended time. They also have a no-glare treatment on them to decrease the glare from harsh overhead lighting or poor lighting conditions, which causes eye fatigue as well.

There are no markings on these lens, much like the other progressives.

What we can do for you    

Talk to our licensed optician and optical professionals about what we can do to help fit you in the lens, based on your personalized needs, that will give you the best vision possible at all distances.

Ask about what discounts or promotions we can offer you today