JAN 18

Why Progressive Lenses are Blurry on the Sides and How To Adapt

Progressive lenses offer a total solution for anyone who is seeking a single pair of eyeglasses to optimize clarity. Before the advent of progressive lenses, people would have to change their eyeglasses for different purposes. When progressive lenses first made their debut in the late 1950s, the multi-purpose construction of progressive lenses captured the attention of consumers. However, they were large and featured a visible multifocal line. In recent years, new technology has led to an evolution in progressive lenses that has virtually eliminated most complaints except for those pertaining to blurriness on the sides of lenses.

What can you expect as you adapt to progressive lenses?

One of the most commonly reported side effects of progressive lenses is blurry or fuzzy peripheral vision. The blurriness is usually most noticeable through the lower portion of the lens and to the left and right of near and immediate zones. The sensation is most pronounced when individuals first begin wearing their progressive lenses and is exacerbated when they looking straight ahead directly into their glasses.

What causes progressive lenses to be blurry on the sides?

The strength of progressive lenses is actually the factor that leads to initial peripheral blurriness. Progressive lenses tend to be blurry on the sides because each lens promotes three fields of vision:

  • An upper lens segment designed to help the wearer see objects in the distance
  • A lower lens segment designed to help the wearer see objects within very close proximity
  • A portion of the lens in the middle that facilitates a change in lens strength

Peripheral blurriness or haziness is a sensation that typically develops because more than one lens strength has been incorporated into one lens. The wearer also might feel as if he or she is moving from side to side.

How can you cope with the blurriness?

People who invest in progressive lenses should be aware of the potential for blurred peripheral vision. They should expect to experience an adjustment period as they grow accustomed to their new lenses. Most important, wearers should recognize that the blurriness typically begins to decrease within the first two weeks of full-time wear. During the adjustment period, here are a few measures that you can take to combat the blurriness:

  • Make a concerted effort to look through the correct section of the lens
  • When looking into the distance, point your nose in the direction you are looking
  • Consider switching to a different progressive lens design if the blurriness is pronounced
  • Contact your eyewear provider or eye doctor if the sensation continues after two weeks of wear

How have progressive lenses recently evolved?

With each passing day, progressive lens manufacturers show their dedication to quality lens improvement. Today’s progressive lenses are comfortable, flexible, and full of updates that delight consumers. Below are some of the top ways that progressive lenses have evolved in recent years:

  • The size of the zones for reading use has been expanded to facilitate comfort for researchers
  • The size of the intermediate zone has been increased to accommodate computer users
  • Current models have fewer peripheral imperfections and improved optics
  • Progressive lenses are now manufactured to fit with smaller frame sizes
  • Today’s progressive lenses are increasingly manufactured with polycarbonate and high-index plastic
  • Wearers can now choose from a variety of optional features such as anti-reflective coating

Justifying the Higher Price Tag

Progressive lenses are advantageous because they essentially include three different lenses into one primary lens. Not surprisingly, progressive lenses tend to be a bit more costly than standard lenses. Additional factors that can contribute to their higher price include the following:

  • Lens material: Polycarbonate lenses are thinner but pricier while plastic lenses are less expensive
  • Customization: Progressive lenses that are highly customized tend to be more expensive
  • Type of lens: Digital progressive lenses are more sophisticated and costly than standard lenses

What are some steps you can take to ensure a positive experience with progressive lenses?

Clearly, progressive lenses differ significantly from standard lenses in terms of their parameters and capabilities. By taking the time to select the perfect pair of lenses and remembering that you may experience some blurriness, you can help make sure that your transition to progressive lenses is a smooth one. Below are some tips to help foster a positive experience with your progressive lenses:

1) Do your homework. Lens technology continues to evolve on a daily basis. Make sure that you familiarize yourself with options such as lens material and optional anti-reflective coatings before you place your order.

2) Remember the adjustment period. Remember that most people experience a week or two of peripheral blurriness as they adjust to their progressive lenses.

3) Choose a set of glasses that you love. Thanks to recent updates to progressive lenses, you have a more extensive selection of eyeglass options than ever. You can even find styles with smaller frames.

5) Make sure your prescription is accurate. If you decide to purchase progressive lenses from an online provider, make sure that you transfer all information accurately in order to avoid mistakes with your order.

Selecting a Dependable Provider for Progressive Lenses

The key to purchasing stellar progressive lenses is to find an eyewear provider that is dedicated to ensuring that you are pleased with your lenses. As a leading online provider of progressive lenses, Rx-Safety has the inventory and expertise required to guide you in your selection of the perfect set of progressive lenses. For additional information on purchasing the perfect pair of progressive lenses, please contact us. Our team of eyewear specialists looks forward to meeting all of your eyewear needs!

  1. Old Artist says:

    After fifteen years using various cheap store bought magnifiers, one for distance/driving and one for reading/closeup, I sprung for new Progressives thru my HC provider – “half price” annual sale, still cost me over $300. Fact: my Rx measured was exactly what I’d deduced myself in my generics; Progressives are a disaster – you must move your head, not just eyes, to keep the zones in focus, and every little change shifts and distorts the apparent world you’re looking at, the “vertigo” many experience. As an artist, I’m going to look at basic bifocals with full side-to-side coverage so my eyes can move and still maintain focus without head movement. Who gives a fig about the vanity of lines showing in my eyeglasses, when I’ve got fifty times as many in my face?

  2. Mark says:

    I have worn multifocals for some time and had a new prescription which wasn’t too different from the old one in January 2020 at OPSM. They are Oakley frames and lenses. Unfortunately the lenses had to be made 3 times due to incorrect calibration. The far, middle and near vision parts were all in the wrong place, so everything was blurry. Each time I was given a different excuse but the first incorrect pair they admitted the measurements were way out. The second time they put the wrong type of lens in. The 3rd time OPSM blamed me when they put in the wrong sized lens so I got my money back and went to another optician.

    The new optician made the glasses correctly and I could see far, middle and close up naturally and perfectly. I recently went back them to get a pair of snazzy Oakley multifocal sunglasses made and the same problem has occurred. The optician dd say that some Oakleys are not suitable for multifocals due to the curve in the lens shape but the pair I wanted was suitable.

    To see correctly I have to hold a book to my right and look sideways as if I am looking out of the corner of my eye. To have one set of lenses incorrectly made is unfortunate but this is now the 5th time. Has anyone else experienced similar problems with multifocals or Oakley gasses in particular? I fail to see how the lens makers can get it wrong so many times. Either the optician is measuring them incorrectly or the lens maker is making them incorrectlymes and lenses I expect them to be made correctly first time.

  3. Valerie says:

    Same problem here with my progressive lenses. 1st the explanations are ok, 2nd then you are hit with the price (which gets higher as they tell you different lens options), and 3rd you only get frontal vision. The sides are blurry. For the amount of money I’m spending on glasses and contacts I am seriously considering laser vision correction. I’m tired of paying almost $300.00 (frames and lenses) for glasses and copays each year when I can just fix the problem permanently. I am 44 and when I add up the amount I have spent on glasses (some have been horrible prescriptions) and contacts lenses I have paid for vision correction. With my eyesight they say that I am eligible still. Will have a consultation and see how it goes. I feel like glasses have made my sight worse over the years anyway. Oh and forgot to mention that I have 16 year old wearing glasses now. (More money). I’m recommending the same thing to him once he turns 18 as an option as well.

  4. Michelle Moore says:

    I thought i was the only one who was having this problem. I have wore glasses for distance all my life i started at 9 yrs.old as i got older i got astigmatism, % now at 48 i coukdnt read anything and found myself lifting my glasses up to read. So i goto get my new pair As i didnt like the idea of wearing the bifocals i wanted the no lines they told me all the business about the top and the sides and they said after a couple weeks i should ajust. Ok after about 3 weeks of migrains from trying to wear them i got vertigo. Which i now think came from wearing those dam glasses. Anyways i finally gave up put my old glasses back on and have been lifting my glasses to read ever since and thats been at least a year ago. I know its about time to go get a new pair so Now that ive heard everyones having the same problems i think im gonna tell them i just want regular vision and a pair of reading glasses. I cannot and do not want vertigo to return so im really sceptical about the whole thing. So if i get a thinner lens they can make the vision more bigger for distance instead of for reading and the perifial vision? Im really not sure thats why i want to not have the perifial at all. Ive never in all the years had so much trouble seeing out of a pair of glasses.

  5. Michelle Moore says:

    I thought i was the only one who was having this problem. I have wore glasses for distance all my life i started at 9 yrs.old as i got older i got astigmatism, % now at 48 i coukdnt read anything and found myself lifting my glasses up to read. So i goto get my new pair As i didnt like the idea of wearing the bifocals i wanted the no lines they told me all the business about the top and the sides and they said after a couple weeks i should ajust. Ok after about 3 weeks of migrains from trying to wear them i got vertigo. Which i now think came from wearing those dam glasses. Anyways i finally gave up put my old glasses back on and have been lifting my glasses to read ever since and thats been at least a year ago. I know its about time to go get a new pair so Now that ive heard everyones having the same problems i think im gonna tell them i just want regular vision and a pair of reading glasses. I cannot and do not want vertigo to return so im really sceptical about the whole thing.

  6. Michael Mazik says:

    I wish I had just gotten single vision lenses and a pair of readers. My very expensive new progressives are blurry at the sides. Nobody warned me about this. Nice t happy.

  7. Bri says:

    Oh I must comment on here because of my frustration with progressives. I recently wanted to go to a progressive and was very clear with the Retail store that I want the top 2/3’rds to be my prescription and the bottom for reading. Simple right? They recommended the progressives so I went with the most expensive option. They came in yesterday and I was completely amazed that today, they are making lenses like this. They are completely useless in my opinion and totally a problem in manufacturing alone. I paid for the most expensive option, around $700 for lenses and frames. The clear area on their “chart” shows a little blurry area on the far left and right. I put these glasses on and the ONLY area in focus is in the dead center about 2mm wide. In easier terms, looking 40 ft away, the front of a car would be in focus while the drivers door would be blurry. You have to move your head to keep everything in focus. So why in the world would you wear or accept something like this. Manufacture the lens from left to right in your prescription. The retailer spent 30 minutes educating me on why it is like this. The whole time I just had to chuckle. I own a national brand company that uses lenses in our products. I’m telling everyone that it is a matter of poor manufacturing design. Perhaps they truly can’t build the lens but it has to be a matter of engineering, not because it isn’t possible. I’m on the hunt again for a progressive lens that isn’t progressive from side to side but is progressive only from top to bottom.

  8. Sam says:

    I don’t understand why there is all this blurriness all of the sudden. I had progressives for years. I even got a new pair Nov 2018 and still no problem. Now I got two new ones. A regular progressive and one for indoors and they are both totally blurry on the sides when you move your head back and forth from left to right? Why all of the sudden is this happening with progressives?

  9. Lou says:

    they can extend your vision zones to the outer edges of your lens and they charge more for each increment, they may also have to change the type of lens to thinner or lighter. Who knows!

  10. Sue k says:

    I have progressive and paid a lot to have the lenses all they way to the sides of the glasses but it was worth it and i can see

  11. Andrea says:

    I am really happy to read all these comments because I am feeling the same way. Like someone else who commented, I just got my first pair of progressives – which are also my first pair of prescription glasses – 4 days ago, and so far I’m not that happy. They seem to work pretty well for computer use – which is important because I’m on the computer all day at work (desktop in the office 3 days/week, laptop at home 2 days/week) and it’s nice not to have to blow everything up to 120% or more, but am really disappointed in how they work for reading. It’s hard to position my phone where I can see it properly and I like to read books at night in bed, and I don’t like that I can’t see the whole page clearly at once, let alone both pages at once. I know they say there is an adjustment period but right now I am really wishing I had just gotten separate glasses. I got a second pair of prescription glasses at the same time, which are sunglasses just for distance, and I wish that instead of those I had gotten a regular pair just for reading.

  12. Jared says:

    Why cant anyone provide an intelligible answer about the tiny reading area of the lens. It is the size of a BB. They keep mentioning “they need the side to blend the lines”. Useless garble.

  13. NICU nurse says:

    Thank God I found this article and you guys. I thought I was going crazy!!! It is just beyond me why the reading area has to be this small. My $5 dollar readers do a better job than these glasses I got 2 weeks ago. Blurry is blurry, no matter how many weeks you try them. Yeap, 2 weeks and still blurry. I am Neonatal Nurse, I cannot afford to have such a narrow field of vision. Scam.

  14. Samuel says:

    Could i go back to bifocal glasses once i wear progressive glasses?

    • rxsafety says:

      yes you can switch back and forth no problem. Might take a few days to get used to them but you will adjust quickly

  15. Rickman says:

    I’ve been wearing lined bifocals for 4 years now. Now the VA has prescribed progressive no line bifocal lenses, I’m having the blurry vision, and if I move my head side to side I get the vertigo sensation. Making me queasy, these glasses are sliding down my nose, like they were designed for someone with a larger bridged nose. My computer screen is blurry, unless I move back, and find the “Sweet spot” in the lens. The optometrist said I would be reading 20/20 with these new glasses. Everything’s blurry that I try to read at the same distance I read from his paper with the diagnostic lenses in them. Not a happy camper.

  16. Bryan Nielsen says:

    LOVED this article. Thank you so much for writing it. I remember being told years ago that if I wanted to see clearly all the way across the lens I should wear bifocals. It was good advice and that is what I did. I finally decided that I wanted more than just the two options: near and far, and I went with progressives this time around. I was disappointed to find that the corridor of clear vision in the center is so narrow and everything else except for what is straight in front of me is out of focus. No kidding…the corridor of focus is only about 2 mm wide. I found it very frustrating and intolerable while driving. I found a compromise, and this is what I recommended to my wife: Get bifocals first so you can get used to having to look through different lenses and learn how to aim things up. Then, after you’re used to that, get yourself a pair of office glasses…limited distance (room distant) progressives. This progressives are great for work. GREAT for work. The bifocals I use for driving because I can’t stand not being able to see in my rear view mirrors while keeping my head straight ahead. It’s an option I’ve learned to live with that gives me the best of both worlds. Here is something I want to add to this article, about Pupillary Distance: Make sure the eyeglass shop gets your two PD’s, one for near and one for far. It takes them both to correctly make your bifocals or progressives.

  17. Joshua Kenny says:

    Are there any follow-up comments to those of you who posted the periphery blurriness, having to turn head side to side when looking at laptop etc? did it get better? Not only are these my first progressives they are my first set of glasses ever, I guess being 44 will do that. I also am struggling with distance – for example when looking at my TV the bottom 3rd is a bit out of focus, and when driving, if stopped at a light, the license plate of the car in front of me is blurred. If I tilt my head slightly down it comes into focus. To me this feels wrong, look straight ahead things at a distance of 10-20 feet should be clear, I shouldn’t have to tilt my head. but I’m not the expert.

  18. Kimberly R says:

    I have been an optician for 25 years, The insurance companies (middle man) are covering less.. technology has improved, cost on the improved lens are more. Its not the optician’s or Dr’s offices- it’s the expensive machines (millions ) it cost the labs to make the lens. Progressives are not available with a full field (IMPOSSIBLE) if you want a full field go with a lined trifocals or bifocal- but that’s not pretty right?? so your best option is the best progressive technology has available. Like i wear and recommend for my patients simply because its the best of all world in vision. One other thing- You wear these “glasses” on your face… See the world through them.. and I think it’s worth the better technology, if you afford it. If not i would do what i could for the best vision I could. Much better spent than on cigarettes or a new cell phone. But hey that’s my opinion. You get what you pay for, I have seen in my quarter of a century experience in this field the advanced changes, and the insurance struggles – patient not understanding, and this is what we deal with – also I am a widowed mother of 3 that i raised on my own from ages 4,5, and 8 that are now all grown. Yes i know the struggles of making ends meet, and I know the importance of good vision.

  19. Cal B. says:

    This is the same issue I have. I recently purchased new progressives after cataract surgery, and I honestly hate these new glasses. I feel as if my eyes are being forced to look through a narrow tunnel, and the fuzziness in my peripheral vision causes eye strain. Why the channel can’t be all the way across is beyond me.

  20. Mimi Arrington says:

    I have worn progressives for over 20 yrs. Until about a year ago my script covered the entire lens of my glssses. Then, needing a new rx, I had to go to a new place (as Sears had closed down) and was forced into the new scam of the century – having to pay a lot more to get the rx to cover my glasses lens. The first place I went I left with about an inch of coverage (with clearance frames I had chosen), called ‘basic’ or something, for about $160. The next offer of ‘premium’ covered a half, and finally, for $370, I could choose the luxury of having the rx cover (almost) all of the lens. I went to four stores and they all had the same bs (pardon me) narrative. We all need to call
    Consumer Report to put an end to this outrageous way of selling rx lenses!

  21. PJ says:

    I just went back to the optician to complain that things are blurry in the peripheral vision portion. I was sure that someone had messed up in creating the lens. He said – in an abrupt way, I might add – just what the article states. I thought I would come home, research, and prove him wrong, but then I found this article. I think whenever someone is purchasing progressives, the optician should hand out this article! Very informative. I haven’t yet tried the two weeks of constant use, but I will, although I can’t see how that will help. Blurry vision is blurry vision. To be continued…

  22. Michelle Simpson says:

    I have had brand new progressives for a few days now and I swear I cannot see at all! I’ll give them the two week period to get used to them, but honestly I just put my single vision reading glasses on just now and what a relief at the computer. I can read without turning my head side to side.

  23. T Pinder says:

    Essilor lenses might work if you need good natural field of vision. They I vented Varux lenses and Co tinue to be regarded as one of the finest lenses you can buy. They are expensive but since having them I cannot tolerate anything else. With Essilor Physio range you can look bottom left or top right without moving your head. The confidence they gave me in driving (especially reverse parking!) and in my work (I conduct music so need various distances clearly within a split second) cannot be underestimated. Tina UK

    • rxsafety says:

      Essilor Has so many variations of there varilux lenses. You need to make sure the Style you pick works for your application and personal preference.

  24. Karl Brown says:

    I have tried to wear progressive lenses for 5-6yrs and I cannot get on with them, I often think they are a poor compromise. I would also like to know why the clear part is not made to cover the entire width of the lens. The answer “The progressive bifocal is blended and changes magnification gradually so that’s why you have the smaller reading areas they need the outside of the lenses for the blending of the lines.” does seem not tell the whole story – The prescriptions are blended in the centre to provide a smooth transition between far and near distance, so why not all the way across. It doesn’t seem logical that they can be a clear transition in the centre and not the periphery. I can only use my progressives for indoors, at a meeting etc. Wearing my single vision lenses is such a relief from the eyestrain of the progressives. My computer glasses are great and give me no eye strain or peripheral distortion over the distance. I wish my computer lenses could be extended to include my distance prescription. If I had the time and finances I would try to make this happen. Until then, I wear three different glasses; Single vision distance, computer glasses and my progressives are viewed as fancy readers used short periods only. Here’s hoping for the future of progressive lenses.

  25. Wei says:

    I have a pair of progressive lenses with very little power. I don’t have much problem, except that I have to tilt my head most of the time when I am working in front of computer. I spend 8+ hrs on computer. The frame size is 55.
    I got a new prescription with only minor changes including a bit added power. My old frame is 55 size, the new one I got is 54 size. I got a new pair made by LensCrafter and using supposedly the best of progressive lens.
    I went to doctor and verified 3 times for the prescription. They are the same.
    But I’m not comfortable with the new glasses. I had blurry edge, I made them to make sure the pupil distance is correct. That solved the blurry.
    The most recent new lens is not very clear, and feels too much power. When I put on my old glasses and the fake one in doctor’s office, when I look straight they all look clear and comfortable. But the new one is off, it’s not as clear and comfortable. I start to worry that the new lens is not good. Or maybe I need to get bigger frame size.
    After all the struggle, I was recommended to get an occupational glasses on top of the expensive progressive glasses so I can see monitor and keyboard easily. But I have not fit well with the progressive lens.
    I am so stressed.
    Does anyone have any suggestion?
    Thanks.

    • rxsafety says:

      With progressives its not the eye size so much as it is the high of the lens from top to bottom measure the old ones and the new frames and see. The other problem could be the segment height the bifocal was set out have them check out that. The last thing is the type of progressive bifocal ask them to make the same type you had before. If it works and your happy with it sometimes newer is not always better.

  26. David Field says:

    My spectacles provider has offered to try to flatten my progressive lenses for a fee in order to reduce the edge blur but with no guarantee of success. Is this likely to work?
    I recently updated my spectacles at a major UK high street Opticians and was given a pair of what were termed “first class” lens progressive glasses with the widest possible areas of clarity and a pair of occuoational glases for close up work and reading.
    The occupational glasses have literally changed my life in that I can now read very clearly without eye strain. Most importantly however is that my field of vision is clear right across the lens.
    My previous prescription glasses were purchased 3 years ago and described in the Opticians as tri focals. My problem with them was the reading section of the lens which wasnt clear but they offered clear viewing across the entire lens and so were great for everyday use.
    The progressive lens spectacles I have now are very difficult to use in comparison, with large areas of blur on the left and the right.
    I find that although they have an anti glare coating that the blur is most noticable and distracting in bright sunlight.
    I have found that the blur us so distracting and the lack of periferal vision so extreme that I cannot safely use the new glasses while cycling or in the factory that I work in.
    When I compare the old tri focal glasses with the new progressive ones I cannot find anything about the new glasses that justifies the cost of purchase.
    I have gone back to using my previous prescription glasses as they offer much clearer periferal vision for everyday use.

  27. Renee says:

    I echo Simon’s question from August 6th that was never answered: why the narrow zones? Why do they not extend farther across the lens, horizontally?

    I am two days into my first pair and have to fight the urge to rip them off my face, dash them on the floor and crush them. They are beyond maddening and going back to dealing with readers is incredibly tempting.

    I do wish I hadn’t gotten them.

    • rxsafety says:

      They keep a narrow corridor because of the optics they do have wide corridor progressives but they still are not that wide because of the blending process they need the sides to blend the lens so you don’t see the bifocal section. They do have progressive designs with larger corridors for your eyes to follow down also and the longer the corridor usually the wider they can make it. Also if you buy a larger frame you will get a larger reading section. The smaller the frame is from top to bottom the faster the transition will be and the smaller the reading section will be.

  28. Rob says:

    I’ve been told that there is an enhanced version of progressives that provide wider than typical in focus viewing areas!? Digital or Lazer manufactured…!? Is that true? What exactly is involved with that?

    • rxsafety says:

      Yes that is true there our thousands of different versions of progressive bifocals every manufacture has its own name brands and designs. They make them for wrap frames, small frames larger frames and yes some are made for Reading but they still have the corridor and a reading section that is larger but they still are not the whole lens and do have blind spots on the sides.

  29. Not Happy with em says:

    I have the same question as Simon, why can’t they just three solid horizontal zones all the way across the lens instead of me having to search for the “sweet spot” with my nose?!

    • rxsafety says:

      They do have lenses that are just straight lines across like an executive bifocal, Flat Top 35 Bifocal and, executive trifocals although they are not that cosmetically appealing so they are not that popular. The progressive bifocal is blended and changes magnification gradually so that’s why you have the smaller reading areas they need the outside of the lenses for the blending of the lines. The progressive bifocal is a cosmetically appealing bifocal with no lines so you can’t tell your wearing a bifocal lens.

  30. Joan dombrowski says:

    Simon on August 6 asked a good question… and no one answered. I am having concerns because I have to move me head to read a book. Reading is only clear in the central two inches of my lower vision. Wish someone would have told me I would turn into a bobble-head.

  31. simon says:

    Dont understand why these arent manufactured with full width zones for each distance? Why is there only a narrow intermediate zone instead of extending it to the full width?


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