Improving the experience of presbyopic people: how do progressive lenses influence user interfaces?

Lhe effective management of our vision has become a subject of increasing interest to researchers. With the increasing prevalence of computer and smartphone screen usage, visual challenges such as presbyopia require sophisticated optical solutions. Progressive lenses, designed to provide clear vision at all distances, play a crucial role in the daily lives of presbyopes on screens. However, to fully optimize their use and guarantee a smooth user experience, it is essential to understand the geometry of these lenses, their impact on reading and posture, and the adjustments necessary for comfortable and ergonomic vision during prolonged use of digital devices. So let’s explore how progressive lenses can be an effective solution to meet the specific visual needs of modern users while enhancing their digital experience.



Design by Freepik 

Understanding presbyopia

Presbyopia is a vision disorder caused by the natural aging of the lens of the eye. It then leads to a progressive loss of the ability to accommodate near vision (or a reduction in the ability to “focus” on nearby objects).

This ametropia generally affects individuals over 45 years old. In a world where the use of digital screens is ubiquitous, this poses an additional challenge. Indeed, presbyopes need clear vision at all distances to interact effectively with computer and smartphone screens, etc., which highlights the importance of optical compensation adapted to meet their specific visual needs.

Image source: Essilor


Progressive lens geometry and impacts

Progressive lenses, the result of complex optical engineering, integrate several vision zones for distance, intermediate and reading. Contrary to bifocal or trifocal lenses with defined zones, progressive lenses provide a seamless transition between these zones. This sophisticated design aims to best reproduce natural vision by eliminating abrupt visual breaks.

However, this gradual transition between optical zones can cause undesirable effects, such as peripheral visual distortions and pitching phenomena. These phenomena are particularly noticeable during the transition between vision zones, which can alter the visual experience, particularly near or intermediate vision. It is important to note that the greater the variation in power between distance vision (at the top) and near vision (or addition, at the bottom of the lens), the more these distortions can be perceptible and hinder vision, in particular when using digital devices.

As a result, understanding the geometry of progressive lenses is crucial for users, because it allows them to better anticipate and understand these visual variations. Adequate fitting is necessary to fully exploit the benefits of these lenses while minimizing potential discomfort related to these peripheral visual distortions and pitching effects.

Image source: Visio-Net


Optimization of the User Experience (UX)

Well-fitting progressive lenses play a vital role in optimizing the user experience (UX) for screen presbyopes. By providing clear vision at all distances without requiring frequent switching between multiple pairs of glasses, these lenses enable a seamless transition between daily activities and use of digital devices. This visual continuity is particularly beneficial for computer users, fans of reading on tablets, or even regular users of smartphones for various tasks.

The ergonomic aspect is also crucial in optimizing UX. Progressive lens wearers must get used to different vision zones for reading and distance vision, while maintaining intermediate vision for screens. Adequate posture and personalized settings on screens are therefore necessary to reduce visual fatigue and maximize comfort. 

As a UX Designer, how can we help progressive lens wearers? 

Contrast and readability

Make sure you have adequate contrast between the text and the background for optimal readability. Avoid color combinations that may be difficult to distinguish for users with visual difficulties.

Text size and spacing

Use appropriate font sizes and sufficient spacing between lines and paragraphs to make it easier to read. Users with progressive lenses may need larger text or more generous spacing for better understanding.

Visual prioritization

Use visual elements such as size, color and contrast to create a clear hierarchy of information. Highlight important elements and make sure they are easy to spot even in areas of peripheral vision.

Interface adaptability

Design responsive interfaces that adapt to different screen sizes and varying resolutions. Users must be able to interact with screens of different sizes.

User tests

Conduct user tests with people wearing progressive lenses to evaluate the ergonomics of the interface. Collect feedback to identify potential readability, navigation, or interaction issues.

Customization Options

Offer customization options such as choice of text size, high contrast themes or display settings to meet the specific needs of progressive lens wearers.

Contextual guides and tips

Integrate contextual guides and tips to help users navigate the interface, especially when it comes to interactive areas or forms where special attention is required.

Integration of assistive technologies

Integrating this type of solution will make it possible to offer applications and software intended to adjust the display parameters on computer and smartphone screens. It thus offers better readability and increased visual comfort for wearers of progressive lenses. Additionally, ergonomic devices such as height and tilt adjustable monitor stands can help reduce eye strain. They can also promote comfortable posture during prolonged use of digital devices.



Progressive lenses offer a valuable solution for active presbyopes who work in front of screens. However, their effectiveness depends on adaptation and appropriate ergonomic adjustments. By integrating good interface design practices for progressive lens users and collaborating regularly with eye care professionals, wearers of these lenses can not only benefit from clear vision at all distances, but also a comfortable and optimal viewing experience in our ever-changing digital age. Attention to these details helps improve the visual quality of life of users, emphasizing the importance of inclusive and ergonomic design in the field of UX design.



Florianne Nollet, UX-UI designer consultant at UX-Republic