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Optometry. 2005 Aug;76(8):432-41.

The optics of occupational progressive lenses.

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  • 1The Ohio State University College of Optometry, Columbus, Ohio 43210, USA.



Occupational progressive lenses (OPLs) utilize progressive power optics and are designed primarily to meet near and intermediate viewing needs such as working at a computer workstation for presbyopic patients. OPLs are fabricated to have the prescribed near power in the lower part of the lens and the power in the upper portion of the lens is determined by the amount of power "degression" (decrease in plus power) relative to the near power. Independent measurements of the optical characteristics of these lenses have not been reported previously.


Manufacturers of 7 different OPL designs provided sample lenses for a patient with +2.50 D add that were measured with a Rotlex Class Plus lens analyzer (Rotlex Inc., Israel). Power measurements were normalized to the location specified by the manufacturer, and the vertical location of each lens was normalized to pupil center based on manufacturer fitting guidelines.


Large optical differences exist among the OPL designs. The results show clear differences between the designs in terms of the add powers, their vertical location, and zone width. The size and location of the near, near-intermediate, far-intermediate, and far viewing zones were determined.


The literature and clinical experience support that OPLs are successful at meeting the computer, general office, and other intermediate viewing distance needs of many patients. However, because of the large differences in the several OPL designs, patient success can likely be enhanced by selecting the design that best suits his or her viewing needs.

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