Progressive and Free Form Lens Comparisons

A couple of months ago we asked about what our optical industry readers would like to see more of and one of the requests was to see a non biased progressive lens review and another was to see posts about lens technology and performance in layman’s terms.

Progressive Lens Maps don't have to be confusing!

As there are so many different progressive lens brands and designs available it is really impossible to review them all independently. Those lens plots can be extremely confusing and usually only specific to a certain power and add. However, there are independent resources to look for data and figure out progressive and free form lens comparisons as needed.

The Lens Guru is an independent source and lists all available progressive lenses and I particularly like the ability to compare different lens maps, it is really easy to use this site. The Lens Guru is not affiliated with any lens company and the database currently lists over 1900 PAL’s but is designed to be easy to use, so you can find the information you need quickly.

LensGuru Lens Map Comparisons

OptiBoard’s progressive lens discussion forum is a great resource and easy to find information by doing a search on your subject and following the thread. You do not have to be a member to look for information although you do need to register to post.

Totally Optical has really addressed the issue of technical lens information in layman’s via First Vision’s “Handbook of Free-Form 2010”  – the hard copy is mailing with the August issue of VCPN, but you can see the digital edition here NEED TO BETTER UNDERSTAND FREE-FORM LENS TECHNOLOGY? It covers all the basics and many of the free form lens providers.

Nearly all the lens vendors all have very good consumer literature available at no charge and written in layman’s terms. ICoat has several for coatings, Zeiss has downloadable consumer brochures , Shamir’s Vision 101 is very consumer friendly and good info. Not every optical customer wants a lot of technical information but it is good to have it available for the ones that do and your lens vendors are the best source.

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  1. I agree that the Lens Guru website has a great deal of good information! However they have maps for 60 lenses; missing a number of the office/computer lenses (i.e. Gradal RD, Essilor Computer, Nikon Online) as well as some of the newer progressives (Zeiss GT2 3D, Zeiss Individual).

    I am a consumer who wants technical infomation, after learning the hard way there is a difference in lenses and the professionals dispensing them. Although there is literature out there, they don’t have the same information even within the same manufacturers, making it very difficult to compare different lenses. It would be helpful to have reviews, comparisons, maps & specs in a central location like your eyeblog.

    Shirley, granted this would be a time consuming process and others have some of the information, but you asked your members what they’d like to see and I don’t think you should dismiss their ideas.

  2. Thanks for the input, we would be very grateful to find a way to collect all the information on the different progressive lenses. We welcome any help and suggestions on obtaining unbiased reviews, comparisons, maps and specs etc. As you say, it is a time consuming process but also requires specialist knowledge. It is a great idea and we will keep looking for a source that has a more complete review and/or that we can add to.

  3. Thanks for the feedback, we have been asking around to see if there is any resource that has that information and there is none that we have found so far. There are so many variables in lenses and the comfort of wearing them depends on the wearer in many cases. But I promise you, we will continue to work on getting the information in a comparison form (which will change every 3-4 months) Such is progress! Part of the challenge is not all types of materials are available in all types of lenses. Different lens materials are used for different activities. Different lenses are used for different activities and then you have types of frames, seg heights and of course the wearer’s adaptability and costs. In a true comparison we would have to be lens experts and have the availability of lab equipment and testing (which we don’t have being bloggers) The other issue which is a personal one, both Shirley and I are adapters, which means we can wear almost anything and between the 2 of use, we wear 8 different types of lenses from 8 companies and we are happy with them all.
    What we do have is a list of Optical Lenses Manufacturers and Distributors and of course they all have different lenses. I know it’s confusing! Personally speaking, I get confused!
    We will continue to seek out references that have the information not just for our readers but for ourselves as well.
    Thank you for your feedback, we appreciate it.

  4. my question a simple one.I have been wearing progressive lenses for several years and found them to be ok. However with the frames fashion being smaller my question is hoe “tall “is the minimum for progressive lenses to be effective.(IN OTHER WORDS FROM THE EYEBROWS TO TO CHEEKS WHAT IS THE MINIMUM DIMENSION)

  5. Hi Randy: Thanks for your question. You are right frame dimensions are an important consideration for progressive wearers, especially the depth. There are many”short” progressive designs specifically made for smaller frames so it is important that you discuss this with your eyecare provider. You have to ensure that the frame you select has enough depth from where it fits on your face and an accurate measurement is taken for the seg height. The minimum depth needed with a “short” progressive design is about 15 mm from pupil to bottom of the frame. The best person to help you with this is an eyecare professional.

  6. Hi Randy, All depends on 1.) What are you using them form 2.) What type of progressives you are using 3.) How does the frame fit on the face 4.) Cannot compare from eyebrows as that is very individual. You have to see where the pupil sits in the lenses of the frame and be specially measured.
    Try FREE Form lenses, I think you will like them.