When Less Is More: An Optometrist’s Perspective on Progressive Lenses
Vision changes are an inevitable part of aging. As we get older, our natural lenses lose their flexibility and we have trouble focusing. Dr. Stacey Filippo Tyran, an optometrist at Wink Optical, in Jenkintown, says that most people’s vision starts to decrease in their early 40s. “Presbyopia is a common condition caused by loss of elasticity of the lens of the eye, which results in blurred vision and trouble focusing for tasks like reading,” says Filippo. “Getting a proper eye exam and having an optometrist find the right refraction for you is the first course of treatment.”
Filippo says that progressive lenses are becoming more popular in treating presbyopia and other eye conditions due to their versatility, aesthetic appeal and comfort. “Progressive lenses are a specific type of bifocal that corrects distance, intermediate and near vision all at the same time. Unlike a traditional bifocal, there is no line on the lens, which allows the eye to focus seamlessly without having to adjust. Many people consider not having a line to be a cosmetic advantage as well,” says Filippo. Features like these are appealing to those busy with work, school, families and events, that want to simplify their eyewear.
One of the biggest benefits of progressive lenses, explains Filippo, is that only one pair of glasses is needed. “Instead of carrying around separate glasses, at least for reading and distance, and constantly taking them on and off, progressive lenses allow you to clearly see everything around you. When you’re driving, you can see the road in front of you but also what’s happening on the dashboard of the car,” she says. When eyes face constant strain from computers, smartphones and tablets, having one pair of glasses makes it easier to quickly switch focus.
While not new to the market (progressive lenses first became commercially available in 1955), they have advanced dramatically over the years. “There are a number of newer designs available that are much more user-friendly than traditional lenses. Digital progressive lenses, for example, offer a lot of customization options and are generally very easy for patients to adapt to,” says Filippo. While not as common, she adds, there are even options for progressive contact lenses.
Some may be reluctant to spend the money on a pair of prescription glasses when reading glasses can be bought at the local drugstore, but Filippo stresses that progressive lenses are worth the investment. “Buying glasses over the counter has several disadvantages,” she says. “The quality is not going to be nearly as good, the fit won’t be personalized and, most importantly, the prescription, or refraction, will not be tailored to you.” Filippo finds that because most prefer to wear their progressive lenses consistently, instead of taking them on and off throughout the day, losing them or damaging them is rare.
Filippo recommends patients get annual eye exams to ensure optimal, overall eye health and vision. “Most eye diseases, such as glaucoma, can’t be detected without a proper eye exam. The patient has no symptoms until it’s too late, but I can screen for changes and find them early. I also check eye pressure, optic nerve functioning and track changes in vision,” she says.
Wink Optical offers a full range of services and products to patients of all needs, including high-definition digital lenses, ultra-thin high index lenses, anti-reflective coatings and Transitions photochromic lenses.
Location: 1649 The Fairway, Jenkintown. For more information, call 215 935-6320 or visit Wink-Optical.com.
Carrie Jackson is a frequent writer for Natural Awakenings. Connect at [email protected].