Choosing the Right Glasses for the Right Use

If you’re new to the world of prescription eyewear, you’re probably sweating over whether to get contacts or glasses, whether to spring for Transitions lenses or just how much all of this will cost.

One thing you’re probably not thinking about is the type of lenses you need. And that’s a mistake. It’s easy to assume the prescription in your hand already covers that, but modern lens technology offers you a wide array of options that are well worth considering.

Here are some of the options you’ll want to look at when shopping for eyewear:

  • Single-vision lenses. Tried and true, these are the simplest option available, as the prescription is uniform across the surface of both lenses. Single-vision lenses can treat either near-sightedness or far-sightedness. They’re ideal for all individuals with simple prescription needs in all use cases, be it reading glasses to enjoy a good book or distance glasses to make life easier.
  • Lined Bifocals/Trifocals. Another exceedingly common option. These lenses cater to people who have trouble focusing on objects at different distances. A dividing line across the lenses gives wearers a visual cue when their vision will “jump” from one prescription to another. Bifocals cover two distances — near- and far-vision — while trifocals add an intermediate distance to the mix, which is usually ideal for computer usage. If you prefer moving your head to moving your eyes when examining your surroundings, then lined lenses are perfect. They’re a boon for multitaskers, as they tend to have larger focal points than progressive lenses, so if you find your attention divided between playing on your iPad and watching the big game on TV, these are the glasses for you.
  • Progressive Lenses (unlined bifocals and trifocals). These are just like lined bifocals and trifocals, but without the lines. Some users find the sharp division between different fields of vision jarring, preferring the smoother transition afforded by progressive lenses. This does come with some drawbacks, as many users report blurry peripheral vision early on. These effects usually diminish after a few weeks. Progressive lenses are ideal for people whose job or lifestyle involves constant eye motion. They’re also more multipurpose than lined lenses, lending themselves to most professional and personal activities.
  • Free-Form Progressives. Think progressive lenses on steroids. These are specially designed progressive lenses sculpted by a computer to fit your exact prescription. To ensure precision, your eyes will be scanned ahead of time to determine their exact shape. All of this fancy tech cuts down on the distortion common to some progressive lenses and improves low-light vision, making them perfect for nighttime driving. If your job or hobbies require perfect vision at all ranges and in all situations, these are the ideal lenses.
  • Shamir Autograph III High-Definition Specialty Lenses. Some free-form progressive lenses cater to patients who either have special vision needs or have unusually complex prescription features. This could be an option for someone who needs perfect distance vision or extra-clear peripheral vision. Use cases are influenced less by circumstances and more by the mandates of your prescription.

Regardless of what type of lenses you choose, make certain that they address the following factors: comfort, reliability and — most importantly — the right fit for your personal needs.

To learn more about the various types of lenses available, contact your eye care professionals at Illinois Eye Center.

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