Choosing the Right Progressive Lenses - The Science Behind Glasses

Dec 17, 2015
8 min read

This is a sponsored post by Essilor of America, a supporter of CovalentCareers & new graduate optometrists! 

Almost all of my patients think there is only one type of progressive lens.

As doctors, we know that we have many different types of progressive lenses at our disposal, sometimes making it difficult to recommend the right one to our patients.

You can only imagine then how confusing it can be in the eyes of our patients or consumers!

  • What is the difference?
  • Why do I need that one?
  • Does it really matter which one I choose?
  • Why does that one cost so much more?

These are all questions my patients ask me when I recommend a progressive lens to them. We owe it to our patients to be able to answer these questions and advise them on the best progressive lens option for them.

Here is the science behind Essilor’s progressive lens options, why I recommend their lenses to my patients, and why I choose specific designs over others.

Common Issues With Progressive Lenses

We have all had those patients that struggle with adaptation to progressive lenses.

Some of the barriers to acceptance have included the common complaints of:

  • Swim,” or things seem distorted and blurry when making head movements
  • Having trouble transitioning from distance to reading
  • Poor vision in dim lighting

Historically, we’ve approached progressive lenses as if the eyes were separated from each other as a monocular system in how we took measurements and designed lenses.1

We looked at patients as having a visual system consisting of two separate individual eyes, instead of a pair of eyes working together!

Now we have the chance to do so as technology has improved much more since then! This technology in progressive lenses is abundant within Essilor’s Varilux S Series.™️

These lenses utilize three specific technologies to achieve binocularity (both eyes working together) in progressive lenses which improves vision as well as comfort, and eliminates many of the common complaints mentioned above.

Benefits of binocular vision and integration of information from both eyes includes: improved vision, contrast sensitivity, and depth perception.1

The Varilux S Series™️ Progressive Lenses

These lenses utilize three really cool technologies, that are leaps and bounds better than those “old” progressive lenses we’ve had available to us in the past!

Nanoptix Technology™️:  Compared to other premium progressive lenses, this helps us eliminate “swim.” Swim is the result of change in power secondary to change in curvature. This change in curvature is what has traditionally provided a continuous increase in power to give presbyopic patients clear vision at varying distances. As we change curvature, we create distortion which results in straight lines looking curved.3,4

Nanoptix Technology™️ mitigates this phenomenon by reengineering the shape of the lenses by considering them as a set of many optical elements.1,2 

Nanoptix Technology infographic

SynchronEyes Technology™️: Optimizes binocular visual fields by integrating prescription data from both eyes into each lens.1

SynchronEyes Technology infographic.png

4D Technology™️: Ensures the sharpest vision in the leading dominant eye™️, which is the eye that leads the other in motor and perceptual tasks.6 This technology enhances overall visual response time by optimizing vision in the leading dominant eye™️.1,5

4d technology infographic.png

Dr. Chirumbolo’s Tip: The Varilux S Series™️ progressive lenses are always the first lenses I recommend to existing and new progressive lens wearers. I’ve received nothing but positive feedback from patients regarding these lenses. In addition, new progressive lens wearers have an extremely easy time adapting and getting used to them. These lenses are also perfect for patients that generally complain or have complained that they feel off balance when wearing progressive lenses.

Varilux® Physio® Progressive Lenses

How many times do your patients complain that they can only see if they are in very bright light conditions?

Instead of telling them to walk around with a portable lamp or flashlight, you can recommend Varilux® Physio® Progressive Lenses.

Poor vision in low light is common in older progressive lens designs because the pupil dilates in dark conditions, which causes more scattering of the light and aberrations when the light enters the eye through the lens.7

To help solve this issue, Essilor developed technology based off of data from thousands of eyes to predict how changes in pupil size would affect quality of vision.7