Eye-deology Vision Care: Edmonton Optometrists, Opticians and Eyewear

Progressive Lenses - See Clearly At All Distances

As we age the lens of the eye becomes thicker and less flexible, and the surrounding muscle fibres become less elastic, making it difficult to read the small print of newspapers, magazines, books, and text messages. This normal loss of ability to focus at near distances that begins around age 40 is called presbyopia. For some, the blurry near vision encountered as they age may generate anxiety with having to wear the age-defining lined bifocals and trifocals of previous generations. The good news is that progressive lenses are a no-line multifocal lens design that aesthetically appears to be just like a single vision lens. Progressive lenses are considerably more sophisticated and technically advanced than single vision lenses. Accordingly, for them to offer clear, crisp vision at at all distances they need to be measured, customized, and crafted by experienced professionals. Looking for progressive lenses in Edmonton? Visit our Edmonton optometrists and opticians today!

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Progressive prescription lenses are modern multifocal lenses with three benchmark viewing areas: distance-, intermediate-, and near-vision. However, unlike traditional, age-defining bifocals and trifocals, there is no visible line between each viewing area. Instead, they have a seamless, invisible design where the magnification power progressively changes throughout the lens from distance vision (e.g., driving) at the top to near vision (e.g., reading) at the bottom. Advancing from single vision lenses to progressive lenses requires the eyes, brain, and head to recalibrate how they work together to offer the clearest vision at every distance. This recalibration and adaptiation period typically requires 2-3 weeks. New digital freeform progressive lenses, which offer the widest, distortion-free viewing areas, makes adapting to progressive lenses considerably easier. Accordingly, consider investing in digital freeform designs when purchasing progressive lenses.

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Progressive Lenses

For any optical device or instrument to be able to focus at multiple focal distances (i.e., near, intermediate, and distance), an element of the overall optical apparatus must move. In cameras, the barrel of the lens moves to adjust the lens closer or further away from the sensor or film to achieve a focused image. With progressive lenses, it is the eye that moves to achieve in-focus images at various distances. Looking out on the horizontal plane provides clear distance (e.g., driving) vision; looking a few degrees downward provides clear intermediate (e.g., computer) vision; and looking downward even further along the plane of the cheeks provides clear near (e.g., reading) vision. The dependency on vertical eye movement, along with head positioning, to make progressive lenses perform properly often requires individuals to adapt to their new optical environment. With daily wear, the average person typically requires 1-2 weeks to adapt to new progressive lenses.

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Standard vs. Office Progressive Lens Design

Progressive lenses from manufacturers such as Hoya, Zeiss, and Essilor, are often available at several different classes, each equipped with unique features and capabilities.

Standard Entry Level Progressive Lenses

  • Traditional Design
  • Narrowest In-Focus Corridor
  • Significant Peripheral Distortion
  • Restricted Lateral Eye Movevment
  • Longest Adaptation Period
  • Most Economical Option

Premium Progressive Lenses

  • Digital Freeform Design
  • Moderate In-Focus Corridor
  • Moderate Peripheral Distortion
  • Improved Lateral Eye Movevment
  • Shorter Adaptation Period
  • Most Economical Digital Freeform Option

Advanced Progressive Lenses

  • Digital Freeform Design
  • Wide In-Focus Corridor
  • Low Peripheral Distortion
  • Improved Natural Lateral Eye Movevment
  • Short Adaptation Period
  • Binocular Harmonization Available
  • Can Be Tailored To Lifestyle

Individual Progressive Lenses

  • Digital Freeform Design
  • Widest In-Focus Corridor
  • Minimum Peripheral Distortion
  • Natural Lateral Eye Movevment
  • Shortest Adaptation Period
  • Binocular Harmonization Available
  • Personally Tailored To You

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It is important to note that progressive lenses differ from traditional lined bifocal/trifocal eye glass lenses. Bifocal/Trifocal prescription lenses are a traditional type of multifocal lenses that feature distinct focal zones. Bifocal and trifocal lenses are for individuals who need glasses for distance as well as reading. Instead of having a separate pair of single-vision glasses for each activity, bifocals and trifocals are often a more suitable solution. Unlike single vision lenses, bifocals and trifocals have more than one point of focus or viewing area (distance - driving, intermediate - computer, and near - reading) separated by a distinct, visible line. Bifocals have two points of focus, while trifocals have three. They both represent a traditional multifocal lens design.

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Due to it continuous, seamless design, progressive lenses offer wearers several important functional and aesthetic benefits:

  • Clear Vision At All Distances. Progressive lenses provide clear, crisp vision at all focal distances - not just 2 or 3 distinct viewing distances.
  • Eliminates Image Shift/Jump. Progressive lenses eliminate the frustrating image shift/jump experienced with bifocals and trifocals. Image shift/jump is when the clarity and apparent position objects abruptly change as the eyes pass across the visible lines in these traditional lenses.
  • Ageless Appearance. Because progressive lenses have no visible bifocal lines, they offer a more youthful appearance than traditional bifocals or trifocals. The absence of visual age indicators in progressive lenses helps maintain the philosophy that age is just number.
  • Advanced Personalization. Modern digital freeform progressive lenses can be customized to an individual's unique lifestyle preferences.

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Woman Wearing Progressive Eye Glass Lenses

Digital freeform progressive lenses can be personalized to an indvidual's unique lifestyle and functional needs. This means that individuals can elect for a progressive lens that is designed to Master 1 or 2 focal lengths rather than a Jack Of All progressive lens that gives balanced performance at near, intermediate, and distance focal points. For example, an individual that spends much of their day undertaking computer work and reading can elect to have progressive lenses crafted that devote more functional area of the lens to the near (i.e., reading) and intermediate (i.e., computer) optical zones, thereby offering greater natural eye movement and minimal peripheral distortion at those distance.

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Standard vs. Office Progressive Lens Design

Not all progressive lenses are created equal. In fact, the customization of progressive lenses and the availability of ancillary features, that provide enhanced performance and/or durability, are only offered by a limited number of manufacturers. Key features to consider when choosing the right progressive lenses for you, your lifestyle, and your budget include:

  • Corridor Width / Field of View. Wider corridors/field of views allow for more natural eye movement and promote easy adaptation.
  • Activity-Specific Design. How do you use your eye most? Would you benefit from a lifestyle-specific progressive lens design?
  • Binocular Harmonization. A difference in prescription between eyes can challenge the brain to create a unified image. Binocular Harmonization enables the eyes to properly work together to offer the best vision.
  • Substrate-Matched Lens Coatings. Lens and lens coatings should expand and contract together under various climate conditions to prevent integrity loss. Each lens index (e.g., 1.50, 1.59, 1.60, 1.74) should have a uniquely formulated lens coating. Hoya lens coatings are substrate-matched.
  • Personalization. Live an active lifestyle? Spend a considerable amount of time using digital devices? You may benefit from lens coatings that offer enhanced scratch-resistance, anti-reflection, blue light filtering and/or UV-activated tinting.

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Custom Progressive Eye Glasses in Edmonton

The leading progressive lens designers and manufacturers are Hoya, Zeiss, and Essilor. The country of origin for these progressive lens companies are as follows: Hoya is a Japanese company; Zeiss is a German company; and Essilor is a company with French origins. Essilor recently merged with Luxottica under the label EssilorLuxottica. However, while these 3 companies are industry leaders, their progressive lens options, features (i.e., coatings), and technologies available are not the same. For example, Hoya is the only company to offer Binocular Harmonization, Integrated Dual Surface design, and subtrate-matched lenses coatings. By comparison, Zeiss is the only company that offers glass lenses, which have superior optics when compared to plastic lenses.

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Hoya's Integrated Dual Surface Progressive Lens Design

Contrary to what online vendors would have you believe, numerous precision measurements are needed to craft progressive multifocal lenses that offer clear, high definition vision. These measurements include pupillary distances for both near and distance focal lengths, optical center, heights, vertex (i.e., distance of eye from back of lens), and pantoscopic tilt (the of the lens from vertical), and wrap angle (i.e., the angle the lenses curve around the head). These measurements are unique to each combination of individual biology, individual behavioural preferences, frame type, frame fit, and prescription. To obtain the most accurate measurements modern digital tools should be used. Also, to ensure that measurements are accurate and personalized to the individual, the frame selected must first be propertly fitted and professionally adjusted.

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Digital Eye Glass Measurements


Hoya Prescription Eyeglass Lenses
Zeiss Prescription Eyeglass Lenses
Essilor Prescription Eyeglass Lenses
Maui Jim Prescription Eyeglass Lenses


Individuals typically need to adapt to progressive lenses over a period of 1-2 weeks. Over this time the brain, eyes, and head recalibrate and relearn how to work together to obtain the clearest vision at all distances with the new optics. However, if you feel that what you are experiencing is more than a matter of adapting, you may need a frame adjustment to realign the optics of your glasses to your eyes. If you purchased your eye glasses from our clinic and optical, adjustments are always complementary.

Eye glass packages (frames + lenses), that include progressive lenses, typically begin at $300-$350 in Alberta (circa 2022). Progressive lenses advertised for less are often older progressive lens designs with poor optical quality, that likely are not properly measured and fitted to provide the needed and desired performance (e.g. online vendors).

Eye glass frames need sufficient depth (i.e., vertical height) to accommodate a the various focal zones (i.e., distance, intermediate, and reading) of progressive lenses. To determine if a frame has sufficent depth to accommodate a progressive lens, heights must be measured while the frame is worn by the individual, as it is not the physical dimensions of the frame that are of interest, but rather the vertical distance from the pupil to the bottom fo the frame.


Searching for an optometrist in Edmonton? Our experienced Edmonton eye doctors use advanced modern technologies and devote upwards of 500% more time towards providing personalized patient care than elsewhere so that they can see more and ensure that you may never see less. Position yourself to see the future today with Edmonton's best eye care!

Doctor Jennifer Ash, Eye Doctor (Edmonton)

Dr. Jennifer Ash is the Resident Optometrist at Eye-deology Vision Care. Dr. Ash provides patient care 5 days a week. Read more about Dr. Ash.

Doctor Sarah Virji, Eye Doctor (Edmonton)

Dr. Sarah Virji is an Associate Optometrist at Eye-deology Vision Care. Dr. Virji regularly provides patient care Thursdays and Saturdays. Read more about Dr. Virji.

Doctor Ruhee Kurji, Eye Doctor (Edmonton)

Dr. Ruhee Kurji is an Associate Optometrist at Eye-deology Vision Care. Dr. Kurji provides patient care Tuesdays & Fridays. Read more about Dr. Kurji.

Doctor Jade McLachlin, Eye Doctor (Edmonton)

Dr. Jade McLachlin is an Associate Optometrist at Eye-deology Vision Care. Dr. McLachlin provides patient care 5 days a week. Read more about Dr. McLachlin.

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