How to Transition to Progressive Lenses for the First Time


Last Updated on October 2, 2023 by Angel C

Glasses have changed a lot over time, and now we have something called progressive lenses. If you’re new to them or thinking about trying them, this blog will help explain what it’s like to start using them.

Why the Need for Progressive Lenses?

As we age, our vision undergoes changes, leading to conditions like presbyopia. This condition makes it challenging to focus on objects up close. Instead of switching between multiple pairs of glasses for reading, working on your computer, or driving, progressive lenses provide a seamless transition, addressing multiple vision needs within a single pair.

The Initial Adjustment Period

Starting with progressive lenses can sometimes feel a bit tricky. Many people face a few challenges, and one common issue is the “swim” effect. This is when objects seem to move or look a bit off.

It might be unsettling to experience this at first, but it’s essential to remember that this sensation is only temporary and will fade as you adjust to your new lenses.

Here are some tips to help you navigate the initial days:

  • Consider starting with wearing your progressive lenses for just a few hours a day, gradually increasing wear time as you adjust.
  • Consult with your optometrist regularly during the adjustment period. They can offer personalized tips and might make slight tweaks to your prescription or frame fit.
  • Stay positive and patient. Every new progressive lens wearer undergoes an adjustment period. With time, the lenses will feel as natural as any other pair of glasses you’ve worn.

Selecting the Right Frame for Progressive Lenses

Choosing the correct frame can make your experience with progressive lenses even better. It’s essential that your frame fits well on your face, ensuring that the lens covers all the areas needed for clear vision.

Frames that are taller or deeper from top to bottom are a popular choice. This is because they provide enough room for the different prescription areas within the lens, making vision seamless and comfortable.

Key Benefits of Transitioning to Progressive Lenses

Switching to progressive lenses might take some getting used to at first. However, once you move past this adjustment phase, you’ll start to notice the real advantages.

The benefits of these lenses truly shine through after the initial period, making the transition worthwhile and rewarding in the long run.

  • Youthful Appearance: Without the telltale bifocal line, progressive lenses offer a more modern and youthful look.
  • One-for-All Solution: Say goodbye to juggling between different pairs of glasses for reading, computer work, or distant vision. Progressives cater to all these needs seamlessly.
  • Enhanced Vision Experience: Experience smoother transitions between different vision zones without the abrupt change typical of bifocals or trifocals.

Potential Challenges and How to Overcome Them

Transitioning can come with its own set of challenges, but they are surmountable. Peripheral distortion can sometimes be an issue. Remember to turn your head to look directly at objects instead of glancing sideways. Regularly consulting with your optometrist can also ensure your glasses are correctly adjusted, enhancing your progressive lens experience.

  1. Peripheral Distortion: This is when objects on the far edges of your vision might appear distorted or wavy. This distortion is more pronounced in the beginning and can feel slightly disorienting.
  2. Solution: One way to counteract this is to turn your head and look directly at objects rather than relying on peripheral vision. Over time, your brain will adjust and compensate for these distortions.
  3. Difficulty Navigating Stairs: Some new progressive lens wearers report challenges while navigating stairs, feeling as if the steps are at a different height than they truly are.
  4. Solution: Until you adjust, always use handrails and look directly down at the stairs using the distance portion of your lenses, not the reading portion at the bottom.
  5. “Swim” Effect: This is when objects in your field of vision seem to move or “swim” as you turn your head.
  6. Solution: Move your head slowly when turning to new objects or scenes, allowing your eyes to adjust to the new view. This effect will lessen as your brain becomes more accustomed to the lenses.
  7. Difficulty with Computer Screens: The intermediate zone of progressive lenses is optimized for distances a bit farther than typical computer screen distances. This can make screen time challenging.
  8. Solution: Adjust the angle and distance of your screen, or consider getting a dedicated pair of computer glasses if you spend significant time at a computer.
  9. Adjusting to a New Frame Size or Shape: Progressive lenses require a certain amount of vertical space in the lens to fit all prescription zones. A very different frame size or shape than you’re used to can amplify the adjustment period.
  10. Solution: Talk to your optometrist about the best frame styles for progressive lenses. Sometimes, a slight adjustment to the frame fit can make a significant difference.
  11. Frequent Head Movements: You might find yourself moving your head more than usual to get the right focus, especially when trying to find the ‘sweet spot’ for intermediate distances.
  12. Solution: While this might feel unusual at first, it will become more intuitive over time. Remember, the goal is to look straight through the correct part of the lens, so adjusting your head position will soon become second nature.

Taking Care of Your Progressive Lenses

To keep your progressive lenses in top shape, it’s essential to look after them the right way. Proper care will make sure they last longer and provide clear vision throughout their lifespan.

By giving them the right attention and regular maintenance, you can ensure that your lenses serve you well for a long time, giving you the best value for your investment.

  • Cleaning: Use a microfiber cloth and a suitable cleaning solution. Avoid abrasive materials that can scratch the lenses.
  • Regular Check-ups: Ensure that your vision prescription is up-to-date and that your frames fit well. Over time, frames can get bent out of shape, affecting your visual experience.


Progressive lenses help you see clearly at different distances, making them great for people whose eyesight changes as they get older. It might take a bit to get used to them, but once you do, they have a lot of benefits. They look smooth without the lines you see in old-style bifocals.

Starting with progressive lenses might need some patience and maybe some tips from your eye doctor. But in the end, they give you clear vision, comfort, and a stylish look. The main thing is they’ll help you see better in your daily life.