Progressive Sunglasses: Pros, Cons, And If They’re Right For You

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Vision isn’t always as simple as being nearsighted or farsighted. Some people have difficulty seeing both up close and far away. Luckily, progressive lenses offer an alternative for those requiring more complicated prescriptions.

Progressive lenses contain up to three different prescriptions in order to allow the wearer to see clearly in any situation. They can be made into sunglasses, but the price can be steep. If you do purchase progressive sunglasses, it may take several weeks to get used to wearing them. 

Are you wondering if progressive sunglasses are right for you? Let’s look at some of the pros and cons of progressive sunglasses and what you can expect for your period of adjustment to these innovative lenses. 

What Are Progressive Lenses?

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Progressive lenses are specialized prescription lenses that allow the wearer to see things in different resolutions when needed. For example, someone who needs lenses to be able to read clearly but also finds themselves struggling to see things up close when they drive may benefit from progressive lenses. 

Progressive lenses contain up to 3 different prescriptions in a single set of lenses. They help someone see things in close range, mid-range, and far away without needing to change glasses. 

Remember the old look of bifocals, in which you could clearly see where one prescription ended and the other began? Well progressive lenses are the same concept, but the three prescriptions are more seamlessly integrated. This gives them a more modern look than traditional bifocals, since it’s almost impossible to tell them apart from regular glasses. 

Originally called multifocal lenses, progressive lenses are sometimes also called no-line bifocals, trifocals, or varifocals. You may also hear them referred to as progressive addition lenses, or PAL.  

Can You Put Progressive Lenses in Sunglasses?

Yes, it’s possible to order progressive lenses that are also sunglasses. They can be made into tinted lenses, polarized lenses, and UV-filtering lenses. 

However, these lenses must be specially designed and aren’t typically available over the counter. You’ll need to check with your eye doctor about where you can purchase some, and keep in mind that they probably won’t come in all the stylish varieties that regular sunglasses come in. 

What Are the Benefits of Progressive Sunglasses?

The main benefit of progressive sunglasses is that you can enjoy the vision correction your eyes require while also protecting your eyes from the sun’s damaging rays. You can wear these glasses in any situation and won’t need to swap out glasses when you go from reading on the beach to driving in your car. 

Plus, unlike with traditional bifocals, which can stress your vision when you switch between looking at something close up and something far away, progressive sunglasses allow for seamless transitions. This means you can glance down at your dash as you drive without worry. 

An added benefit is that protecting your eyes from the sun can help prevent your vision from worsening. And for those sensitive to light, you won’t have to worry about eye pain or migraines when you want to go outside for a short walk. You won’t need to switch your glasses to do so.  

The final benefit is that, unlike with traditional bifocals, progressive sunglasses look pretty trendy. You won’t have any visible lines on your glasses, but your vision will still be crystal clear. 

What Are the Downsides of Progressive Glasses?

There are a few important downsides of progressive sunglasses. The main one is that they can be very difficult to adjust to. 

Because progressive sunglasses combine three prescriptions in one, you’ll need to train your eyes to look through the right prescription in the right situations. This can take a bit of time before you feel comfortable driving and performing other activities. 

Also, progressive lenses tend to blur at the outer edges, meaning the wearer has little, if any, peripheral vision. The wearer must therefore learn to turn their head in order to see things they’d normally be able to see out of the corner of their eye. 

Some people unfortunately never adjust to progressive sunglasses; however, most people are able to make the transition after just a few weeks of difficulties. 

It’s also worth noting that progressive sunglasses are quite expensive, so they’re an investment you’ll need to make into your health and well-being. Because they’re so expensive and difficult to replace if broken, they’re generally not recommended for children.

All that said, for most adults who need progressive lenses, these downsides are simply a bump in the road to having much better vision. So don’t let the downsides discourage you, and try some new progressive sunglasses! 

What Is the Adjustment Period for Progressive Sunglasses?

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As we mentioned above, progressive lenses come with an adjustment period. The wearer must get used to the glasses and train their eyes on what part of the glasses to look through and when. The period of adjustment varies from person to person.

In most cases, an individual will be fully acclimated to progressive sunglasses within 12 weeks, but many people adjust much sooner. There are even some cases where individuals feel adjusted after just one week. 

During this adjustment period, you may notice symptoms beyond difficulty seeing. These symptoms include headaches, dizziness, nausea, and difficulty with depth perception. 

Because these symptoms tend to affect the individual most when driving, it’s not recommended to wear your progressive sunglasses while driving until after your eyes have adjusted to them. You should also avoid operating any sort of machinery until your depth perception feels as if it’s normal again.

Final Thoughts on Progressive Sunglasses

Progressive sunglasses are a solid option for anyone who needs progressive lenses in order to go about their daily lives. However, because they’re expensive and not always fashionable, it’s best to invest in progressive sunglasses for older members of the family who will take good care of the sunglasses. 

Just remember that you shouldn’t drive in your progressive sunglasses until your eyes have had sufficient time to adjust to them. Once you get past this adjustment period, progressive sunglasses will likely be the best decision you’ve ever made for your vision!

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