We get asked questions about progressive lenses a lot, but by far one of the most common is whether you should use them in a sport application. So we're here to answer that question once and for all!
Table of Contents
1. Can You Wear Progressives for Sports?
2. Are Progressive Lenses Good for Sports?
2.1. Endurance Sports
2.2. Ball Sports
3. Are Progressives Better than Bifocals?
4. Progressive Lenses Buyer's Tip
5. Buy Progressive Sport Lenses at SportRx
In this video, Eyeglass Tyler covers whether you can use progressive lenses for sports, whether they're a good idea, and if they're better than bifocals, followed by our buyer's tip if you do decide to go for progressives. Follow along to learn more.
You can wear progressives for almost anything, sports included! If you're reading this, chances are you already know how they work, but here's a quick recap.
Progressive lenses have distance vision at the top, intermediate vision in the middle, and reading vision at the bottom. As your eye moves down the lens, you can see far away, up close, and everything in between. One of the downsides of progressives, though, is peripheral distortion. The progressive is in an hourglass shape, so things off to the sides of the lens can appear distorted.
Because of the peripheral distortion, the answer to this question depends on the sport. Tyler says that for ball sports such as tennis, progressive lenses aren't a good idea. For endurance sports like cycling, the answer can go either way.
In the case of cycling, most cyclists have a bike computer on their handlebars. It will be easier to see the computer with a progressive lens rather than with a single vision lens.
For sports like tennis and baseball, there's no benefit to wearing a progressive lens. The ball moves too quickly for you to be able to find the appropriate distance, and hitting the ball is more of a matter of muscle memory than necessarily having a perfect view of it.
However, the exception for this category is golf. It's not as high-speed as other ball sports, so whether to get progressive lenses is more of a matter of personal preference. Some golfers wear progressives and have no problems, and some even prefer them, but Tyler notes the only reason you would need them is to read your scorecard. He suggests that, instead of progressives, carry a pair of readers in your golf bag and switch glasses when you need to keep score. It's less convenient, but this way you won't have the reading section and peripheral distortion of progressives getting in your way when you swing.
Another question we get a lot is whether bifocals or progressives are better for sports. Some prefer the dedicated, visible reading area of a lined bifocal lens as well as the lack of peripheral distortion. However, the reading section is still enough to get in your way when playing sports. Tyler still suggests going with a single vision lens for those fast-paced ball sports to minimize distractions and help you stay on top of your game.
If you feel like you really need the reading benefit brought on by a bifocal lens, Tyler notes that your frame options are going to be more limited than with a progressive lens. Wrapped frames, the kind you usually wear for sports, tend not to be able to accommodate a lined bifocal as well. They work much better with a progressive, so it leads back to the question of whether you should get progressive lenses for sports.
If you've decided that progressive sport lenses are right for you, that's awesome! Take heed of Tyler's last tip: Progressive lenses have been around for a while and the technology has improved a lot over the years. Conventionally surfaced progressive lenses are still available for a lower cost, but they're not as good in quality. When playing sports with a wrapped frame, you want the widest field of vision possible, and you can get that better with a digital progressive lens. So we say to skip the cheaper lenses—you won't like them as much.
Good news, though! Here at SportRx, we only use high-quality digital progressives because we know they work the best. So don't be afraid to start shopping for yourself and see the difference.
Ready to start checking out the frames? We've got you covered with our top recommendations for prescription sports glasses — all of which can take progressive lenses!
Need progressive sports glasses? Done. When you shop with us, you’ll find video guides and tooltips throughout the build process as you customize the perfect pair. An answer to all your questions is at your fingertips, and if you want to chat with an expert, Contact Us. We’ll put you in touch with one of our friendly in-house opticians who can help you build your progressive sport lenses.
Ditch risky online shopping with the See Better Guarantee. Try your glasses for 45 days. If you’re not satisfied, send them back. Get a full refund, exchange, or credit towards a better pair. And return shipping? Covered. Get your pair of progressive sport lenses at SportRx today!