Is there a best shape for progressive (varifocal) glasses?
August 6, 2016 6:14 PM   Subscribe

About a year ago I got my first pair of varifocal (or progressive) glasses. It was an improvement on my previous situation, and I'm not unhappy with them. However, I wonder if I made a mistake with the shape of the lens. The frames are rectangular and the lenses are about 6cms across and 3cms down.

When I look down at the floor, go down steps, or read while sitting on a train, I find that I'm looking under the frame, which made me think that a different shape (oval, circular?) might be a better choice.

I'd give my current classes 7 / 10. Is it worth trying other frames, or is this as good as varifocals get?

2 other thoughts: ridiculously tiny head / thin face, and not interested in online stuff at the moment. Mostly I'd like ideas from varifocal wearers who have tried more than one frame.

Many thanks!!
posted by Prof Iterole to Health & Fitness (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: It's not only the shape of the lenses--obviously a taller lens works better for progressives than a very short lens, and round might work better for you than rectangular--but also how close they sit to your face. When I complained to an optometrist about seeing under my lenses, he told me I need to pick a pair of glasses that rest closer to my eyes. The optician helped me find glasses that should do this, and I tried them all on; exactly one pair in that shop worked really well. They adjusted the angle a little bit, too, so that the bottom edge rested closer to my face.
posted by artistic verisimilitude at 7:12 PM on August 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Fellow tiny head progressive wearer here... I had good luck with a cateye kids frame, oddly enough. The frame is Lafont Olympe.
posted by bighappyhairydog at 7:21 PM on August 6, 2016

Best answer: I've been wearing progressives for a good long time now. My lenses are roughly rectangular and do quite well. Depending on your prescription, lateral focus isn't going to be all that great, though I believe Varilux has a new type of progressive with improved lateral focus.

Definitely, the taller the lens, the better your focal zones are. A narrow lens will result ins squished focal areas that are next to useless in real world use.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:15 PM on August 6, 2016

Best answer: You want to avoid the lens being too short vertically, as that's where the variation happens and it will be compressed into a tight space.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 8:41 PM on August 6, 2016

Best answer: Did your opthamologist tell you to point your nose where you wanted to look?
posted by brujita at 10:10 PM on August 6, 2016

Response by poster: "Did your opthamologist tell you to point your nose where you wanted to look?"

No, although I suppose that would make sense.

In fact, what I sometimes find myself doing is raising my head to look down (i.e. on stairs, when reading).
posted by Prof Iterole at 10:31 PM on August 6, 2016

Best answer: My second pair of progressives are way better than the first pair. The second pair are somewhat rounder but that was the result of finding a taller vertical dimension. My biggest complaint was that as a short person, I had a hard time watching concerts or viewing anything distant when I was in a crowd. Since I'm short, I'm almost always craning my neck to get a view over the head of whoever is in front of me and that always resulted in shifting my vision into the middle section of the lens. With a taller lens, they can drop the top zone further down.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 10:39 PM on August 6, 2016

Best answer: Seconding the need for correct fitting of progressives. It's unlikely they will "just fit". The optician needs to check the fitting thoroughly.

A focal point needs to be in the right place re: your eye. If the lens is too close, or too far away, from your eye, it won't be. And progressives have multiple focal points.
posted by justcorbly at 3:52 AM on August 7, 2016

Response by poster: Thanks, everyone. Just got a new pair, and it's a definite improvement.
posted by Prof Iterole at 9:59 PM on August 27, 2016

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