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When were progressive lenses invented?

Invented by a french engineer in 1959, the progressive multifocal lens was first commercially available in the early 1960’s. This new lens offered many advantages as the design eliminated the “line” associated with bifocals and trifocals. More importantly, the progressive multifocal lens eliminated the perception of image jump which is most commonly associated with the abrupt change in prescription from distance to near correction in lined bifocals and trifocals. The other distinct advantage of progressive lenses was variable focal length correction. This allowed users to see images clearly at virtually any focal length versus a bifocal lens that only allowed two focal lengths (near and far) or trifocal lenses that allowed only three focal lengths (near, intermediate and distance).

What are progressive lenses?

Progressive lenses are a true multifocal lens which allows the wearer, who requires various corrective prescriptions for near, far and in between, to have one lens with varying corrective powers. Progressive lenses provide presbyopes with clear vision in all distances. These lenses incorporate distance, middle, and near vision seamlessly with digitally personalized lenses. The power of the lens continuously increases from the distance to the near zone. These premium lenses provide an enhanced, seamless viewing experience.

What are progressive lenses used for?

Progressive lenses are perfect for any wearer that has presbyopia. Whether that be a 43 year old who has had problems seeing in the distance and now finds it difficult to read, or the 80 year old who has problems seeing in the distance, seeing the computer screen at arms length and reading the fine print on a medicine bottle. These lenses are advanced and take time to learn how to use, but they are truly a technological advance over the older technologies and science behind bifocal and trifocal lenses. In recent years, specialty progressive lenses have been developed for task-specific uses. For example, computer lenses utilize progressive lens technology for the specific focal distances when working on a computer. This particular lens design is worth mentioning because it has an adapted design specific for work functions revolving around the use of a computer. The lens allows the wearer to have optimal vision at arms length (typically the distance at which the computer monitor is set up on a desk), with the lower portion of the lens specifically designed for closer than arms length use. The typical application is to have the majority of the lens designed for computer distance and the lower portion of the lens designed for reading. This particular application allows the wearer to see the computer screen clearly while also allowing them to read clearly at close range (typically about 12 to 16 inches).