Paul’s experience adapting to progressive glasses

I started working in optometry practice as a 16 year old edging lenses to fit frames, and found myself needing glasses a year later. My first pair of glasses were standard single vision glass photochromic that darkened in the sun, which looking back over nearly thirty years reveals how far lens designs have developed. The same type of sun darkening lenses are available in lighter and safer plastic with far more options available to make the lenses thinner, scratch resistant, and anti-reflective.

Continued technological development, however, is most noticeable when considering progressive lenses that provide correction for distance and near in the same pair of glasses, without the visible line that is seen with bifocal lenses. Thirty years ago I had enough focussing power in my eyes to not need near correction. Going on to qualify as an optometrist I always knew this wouldn’t last, and true to form, when I reached the grand age of 44 my arms started to become too short!

Having been involved in and around optometry practice for my entire working life, and listened to various patient complaints about adapting to progressive lenses, the inevitability for needing progressive glasses for myself was something I dreaded. The arrival of this least anticipated day was announced by Katie who having unpacked the order was excited to see what my new glasses looked like, so I put them on to oblige, fully expecting to whip them off immediately to revert back to my trusty single vision glasses. But wait, I thought, I can actually see with these! What’s all the fuss about!

My next first person lesson in progressive lenses was delivered two years later when I required stronger reading power at the bottom of the lenses. Now I could notice the blur when I moved my head around, that I had heard countless patients tell me about. My previous ‘first’ progressives were pretty mild in strength, and I know from my optics training that higher near add powers bring with them bigger distortions. But I had also been trained to advise patients that given a few days of adaption the distortions will largely disappear. Now I was experiencing this for myself I failed to see how this would work!

True to form my vision did settle down and over a period of 3-4 days I found things less distorted and now a few weeks on fail to notice the distortions at all, and only notice blur when I look into the distance through the near vision part at the bottom of the lens (when lifting my chin right up), which is supposed to happen. My new lenses were designed to give me a wider field of intermediate distance vision to help me see my two computer screens without moving my head too much, which they do so I’m glad I stuck with it for a few days to let them settle in.

Progressive lenses – the main points:

  • The latest evolution of progressive lens design means that lenses are custom made for the individual to suit their viewing requirements.
    • Previous to this designs were developed for specific tasks so the most appropriate design was selected based on the user’s requirements.
    • Go back some more and it was a choice between hard (wide field of view but heavy distortions) or soft (narrow field of view but milder distortions) designs.
  • The older types of progressive lenses are still available and often sold with the same description as the newer designs but at reduced prices – as with most things in life, you get what you pay for.
  • Newer designs can be tailored towards the tasks you do most. In my case this is for computer use where I need a wide intermediate corridor to take in my two screens, but for others this might be biased towards closework or distance vision for driving.
  • As I found first hand, progressive lenses can feel really odd to start with, particularly as the near addition power increases, but in most cases people adapt within a few days.
    • But, this should only take a few days and if they still feel odd after three to four days you should return to your optometrist for advice.
By | 2018-06-28T07:03:01+00:00 7th October 2015|Glasses|0 Comments

How to protect your eyes from the digital world

We live in a digital age, which means that most of us are leading increasingly digital lives. Research shows that more than 90% of people spend between 3 to 10+ hours every day on digital devices.1
Digital usage

So what does this mean for our eyes? Well, the sheer amount of time we spend on digital devices means that many of us can suffer from Computer Vision Syndrome with symptoms including irritated eyes, blurred vision, fatigue, and even headaches and neck and/or back pain.2 The widespread daily (or sometimes continuous!) use of computers, laptops, tablets, smartphones, and even TVs means that many of us are being exposed to unprecedented amounts of blue light. LCD screens and florescent lighting emit a strong spike in blue and ultraviolet light. So why should we care about blue light?

Blue light is a component of visible light and is referred to as high energy visible light (HEV). It sits alongside ultraviolet (UV) light in the electromagnetic spectrum. Most people are aware that UV light is harmful to not only our skin but also our eyes, as it has been shown to contribute to the development of cataracts and may also lead to other eye diseases such macular degeneration.

Scientists are only now beginning to investigate the long-term health effects of blue light. Recent studies suggest that the blue end of the visible spectrum can also causes retinal damage akin to UV light and can possibly lead to the same eye conditions as prolonged UV exposure.

Electromagnetic spectrum
The eye damage from blue light occurs because the pigment absorbing cells of the retina are harmed by absorbing these high energy light rays when they enter our eyes.3 This precipitates a gradual oxidation and deterioration of the macula (highly sensitive part of the retina responsible for our central vision), leaving the eye more susceptible to degenerative conditions such as macular degeneration (MD). Blue light is also partially absorbed by the crystalline lens inside the eye (lens responsible for allowing us to focus) which contributes to the formation of cataract.3,4

So is it just the older generation (those who have a higher risk of developing macular degeneration and cataract purely based on age) who should care about blue light? No. There is a growing body of evidence suggesting that cumulative lifetime exposure to blue light contributes to earlier eye damage and formation of MD and cataract. In early childhood, the cornea and crystalline lens effectively blocks UV light from penetrating the anterior eye tissues and reaching the retina. However, blue light is still able to pass through these tissues, reach the retina and start bringing about early changes to retinal metabolism which can subsequently lead to tissue damage.5

Blue light has also been shown to stimulate a newly discovered subtype of retinal cell that controls aspects of our circadian rhythms.

Exposure to blue wavelengths, particularly at night, has been shown to be disruptive to our normal sleep patterns.3,6 Combine this with the proliferation of electronic screens which is increasing our exposure to blue light, it is no wonder that so many of us suffer from poor quality sleep. Think of your teenager. Does he or she use a computer, iPod or phone prior to bedtime? Does this teenager have difficulty going to bed when you ask and then wakes up tired the next morning? This could all be due to the use of these electronic devices, and the associated exposure to blue light, which results in the disruption of normal circadian rhythms. This means that it is more difficult to fall asleep (the light from the screen has tricked the brain into thinking it is day time!) and sleep quality is poor leading to tiredness the next day.4

So what can we do about blue light to protect our eyes from these potentially harmful rays? In this day and age, it is not practical to give up the use of digital devices, so we need something that allows us to continue using these devices, but to do so safely by protecting our eyes. We are all familiar with the use of UV blocking lenses (some contact lenses, spectacle lenses and sunglasses) to guard against cancers of the eyelid, eye surface damage and cataracts, but did you know that it is now possible to prescribe spectacle lenses on the basis of wavelength selective light filtration ie the ability to filter blue light and prevent it from reaching our eyes?

Blue control is a new innovative anti-reflection coating that meets the demands of a very digital world. The coating works by effectively reflecting blue light emitted from digital devices, and even fluorescent lighting, thereby reducing its transmission into and absorption by the eye.7

As the widespread use of smartphones, tablet devices and computers increases the time we face a screen, more and more people suffer from eyestrain symptoms. One cause of this is believed to be the blue light emitted from the display on such devices. A new innovative anti-reflection coating known as Blue Control reduces the amount of blue light reaching our eyes by 35 percent.7

Considering our digital world, it could be suggested that spectacle lenses can now be used not just for vision correction but also maintenance of eye health!

blue control lenses


  1. 2012 VisionWatch Findings: A survey among 10,000 adults across America about their use of digital media and symptoms of vision stress, conducted by The Vision Council.
  2. Blehm C, Vishnu S, Khattak A, Mitra S, Yee RW (2005). Computer vision syndrome: a review. Survey Ophthalmol. 50(3):253-262, Elsevier Inc.
  3. Holzman DC. What’s in a color? The unique human health effects of blue light. Environmental Health Perspectives. 2010; 118(1): A22-27.
  4. Roberts, J.E. (2011) Photobiology of the Human Lens. Original research article, Fordham University, Department of Natural Sciences, New York, NY.
  5. Sliney, D. H. (2005) Exposure geometry and spectral environment determine photobiological effects on the human eye. Photochem. Photobiol. 81, 483-489.
  6. LeGates TA, Fernandez DC, Hattar S. Light as a central modulator of circadian rhythms, sleep and affect. Nature Reviews Neuroscience. 15: 443-454 (2014)
  7. Hoya Lens Australia.


By | 2018-06-28T07:03:01+00:00 11th February 2015|Eyesight and Health, Glasses|0 Comments

Danish design for your face – Prodesign

Danish eyewear company Prodesign lets the unmistakably Danish sense of relaxed humour and lifestyle shine. Always aimed at following the latest trends in fashion at an early stage, the company’s products represent genuine Danish design in terms of high quality and pure style. The clean lines, lightness of form and functional strength of Danish design is known throughout the world, especially in furniture. When it comes to face furniture, Prodesign’s frame collections in titanium, metal and acetate are accented with striking designs, innovative materials and vibrant colours.

Prodesign is not afraid to push the limits when it comes to creativity. The company has always been known to emphasise colours in particular, and believes strongly in the current trend of colour and contrast. Their frames are expressive without being dramatic – beautiful finishes, interesting textures and technical excellence displayed in their unique screw-free hinges which are simultaneously strong and light.

Prodesign frames are the perfect match for complex or more difficult spectacle prescriptions, and carry heavier lenses of higher prescriptions beautifully without lens instability issues. For the rest of us, these frames are light to wear, comfortable and striking without being overstated. At GJO they are one of our most popular ranges, being happily selected for welcoming into the lives of women and men of all ages, and teens as well.

When you wear your glasses so much, you want a comfortable frame that gives you stable vision through your prescription lenses. And your face deserves to be expertly and stylishly framed! For more information checkout the Prodesign website.

By | 2018-06-28T07:03:02+00:00 30th January 2015|Glasses|6 Comments