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Optometry. 2006 Jan;77(1):23-39.

Progressive addition lenses--measurements and ratings.

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



This study is a followup to a previous study in which the optics of several progressive addition lens (PALs) designs were measured and analyzed. The objective was to provide information about various PAL designs to enable eye care practitioners to select designs based on the particular viewing requirements of the patient.


The optical properties of 12 lenses of the same power for each of 23 different PAL designs were measured with a Rotlex Class Plus lens analyzer. Lenses were ordered through optical laboratories and specified to be plano with a +2.00 diopters add. Measurements were normalized to plano at the manufacturer-assigned location for the distance power to eliminate laboratory tolerance errors. The magnitude of unwanted astigmatism and the widths and areas of the distance, intermediate, and near viewing zones were calculated from the measured data according to the same criteria used in a previous study.


The optical characteristics of the different PAL designs were significantly different from one another. The differences were significant in terms of the sizes and widths of the viewing zones, the amount of unwanted astigmatism, and the minimum fitting height. Ratings of the distance, intermediate, and near viewing areas were calculated for each PAL design based on the widths and sizes of those zones. Ratings for unwanted astigmatism and recommended minimum fitting heights were also determined. Ratings based on combinations of viewing zone ratings are also reported.


The ratings are intended to be used to select a PAL design that matches the particular visual needs of the patient and to evaluate the success and performance of currently worn PALs. Reasoning and task analyses suggest that these differences can be used to select a PAL design to meet the individual visual needs of the patient; clinical trials studies are required to test this hypothesis.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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