Costco Kirkland Signature HD Progressive Lens Reviews

Getting the best value for your money when it comes to eyeglasses, sunglasses, eye exams, and contact lenses.

Postby sallyrae » Fri Mar 28, 2014 9:43 am

I have been trying to find out if Costco has high definition progressive lenses? I called a couple locations and they say yes they do and they are $125 for the lenses with the scratch resistant coating and anti-reflective treatment. This seems too good to be true. The cheapest place I had found prior to that was $244 at WalMart for the Nikon Digimax. I have researched and found no recent information regarding what lens Costco uses. When I asked they just said it is a Kirkland lens. I have read that they use Ovation, but is that a high definition lens?

Postby Klrod » Tue Apr 15, 2014 5:30 pm

Hi George,
I was wondering if you have had any more (recent) experience with Costco optical? Do you know anything about the new HD lenses they are offering? and does their satisfaction policy extend to their optical products, like glasses? I just bought 2 pair of progressives with the new HD digital lenses, one clear and one brown tinted sun glass pair. I have had them for a week and I'm not happy. I do think that maybe my new Rx is too strong, it seems to happen to me every time I get a new prescription, but that said I am not happy with the AR. I took a road trip about 5 days after picking them up and did not bring my old pair; big mistake! I actually lost an entire lane of traffic in the glare from the on-coming headlights!

I paid the $129.00 for my new glasses at Costco, that includes the new digital poly-carbonate progressive lenses with their standard AR, (which I was told compares to a mid range Crizal product). Didn't pay for an upgrade on AR or lenses materials, and extra coatings like hydrophobic, EMR/scotch guard/teflon (you know) were either not available or not offered to me. It concerned me that they did not have a company or brand name of the lens manufacturer or AR. I like to investigate before buying.
My previous pair was purchased at Binyon's, progressives upgraded to Trivex or Varilux, not sure now and paid extra for their AR: "ClearShield", used to have Eagle Vsion 4.0 which I liked better, but they were fine. All said and done I paid the same for 2 pair of progressive glasses at Costco as I did at Binyons for one pair, even with a 50% coupon. The frames alone are twice the price! But Costco's selection is not as vast.

for now I plan to return the 2 pairs I purchased 2 weeks ago and wait to see if my Rx was correct before I make up my mind where to buy or if I should try Costco again or not. I would like options. Any feed back you can offer is appreciated, thanks.

Postby Farbet » Sun May 04, 2014 8:31 pm

Costco has now the KS HD digital lenses.I had the digital progressive lenses 3 years ago with Crizal Coatings about 700 at the optometrist.
With my new prescription I went to Costco In San Marcos .They have the KS HD digital Hi Index 1.67 and frame UV and ar coating included for $225.
I got them in 5 working days.I wish they would now bring the sunglass lenses in HD.

Postby Blind » Fri Jul 11, 2014 8:01 pm

I just got a pair of glasses from Costco. They are progressives, high index, anti-reflective, and polish edges. I had to have the nose pieces adjusted because if your glasses don't sit right on your face, with progressives, it is very noticeable. I just brought them back and they adjusted them at the store. After the VSP insurance, I paid $120. Considerably less than what I paid at other optical stores. I find their glasses just as good. I went back a few times before purchasing the glasses to select my frame. They do have a small selection, but if you check back periodically you will eventually get a pair that you like. My frames are high-quality and designer frames. I only paid $59 for my frames. But, on various websites they cost over $100. I'm a very happy customer. :D

Postby george » Sat Nov 29, 2014 7:09 pm

I will be moving all posts regarding the new Kirkland Signature High Definition (HD) progressive lenses to this thread. There were a few posts made in the main Costco thread before this one, and I hope to be posting a complete review in the next month once I receive a pair. I plan on ordering a pair in the next few weeks.

To start, though, there was an article written on these lenses in the Costco Connection magazine in July 2014. I'll paraphrase and quote some of the important points from the article here. Of course, the article was a promotional piece from Costco, but I'm still assuming the basic facts are accurate regarding the lens.

The author refers to HD (high definition) as being "free-form" created through a process of "digital surfacing". When I've researched these terms, it gets confusing. Many people equate the three terms (HD, free-form, and digital surfacing), but some eye care experts explain they have different meanings. In the Costco article, they at least define what they mean by digital surfacing as: "With digital surfacing, a computer program enables the lens-cutting machine to more precisely cut the prescription onto each lens as it spins in the generator." Art Salas, the assistant vice-president of Costco Optical is quoted in the article as saying, "These progressive lenses are 100 percent digitally surfaced, allowing for better customization on both sides of the lens and, ultimately, greater comfort."

So - what does all of this mean? Having communicated with several eye care specialists, it seems that even they get confused on these terms. I'm not sure that at my level of understanding it is even worth trying to get technical. Basically, these terms all refer to design and production methods that have the ability to make a much more precise and customized eyeglass lens for the specific wearer. For a few years now, some of the more expensive progressives on the market use these abilities take into account other specific measurements, such as the specific frames being used and how the eyeglass frames sit on a particular individual's face. When I spoke to my local Costco, they said they measure segment height as an additional parameter in the manufacture of their HD progressives. The segment height (distance from the bottom of the lens to the point where the progressive segment starts) is another feature, and Costco does include that in their custom measurements. Segment height is only one of several measurements that can be used to customize lenses.

Obviously all of these measurements can be used to make a more customized progressive lens for each individual. However, it doesn't guarantee the end result will be better. There are so many other factors involved in whether someone will adapt to a particular progressive lens. Some progressives are designed to optimize distance vision. Others are more optimal for creating a wider near reading area, or maybe making a larger intermediate "corridor" for in between distances. Some might be better for people who only need a small correction, and some better for people with a strong correction. The physics behind progressive lenses (in spite of what marketing may claim) make it impossible to have perfectly adjusted vision throughout an entire progressive lens.

And some people's brains are much more able to adjust to progressive lenses. Some may do well with one brand's approach to the progressive lens, yet have problems with another style. The only way to know for sure is to try. I'll be writing more about my opinion and experience on these issues in another thread soon, where I write about my opinion of the best progressive lens. Basically, I ultimately decided that since I've done mostly okay with these super-cheap Zenni optical progressive lenses for the past year, I can't justify spending several hundred dollars on a "top of the line" progressive lens, when at this point I'm not sure there would be much if any difference for me compared to the much cheaper Costco progressive lens.

The price point on the Costco progressive is impressive, particularly if it is a true "freeform" lens. Here are the prices for the Costco Kirkland Signature HD Progressive lenses:

Polycarbonate with premium anti-reflective coating: $129.99
Polycarbonate, premium anti-reflective coating and polarized lens: $139.99
Polycarbonate, premium anti-reflective, and Transitions photochromatic lenses: $159.99

High Index with premium anti-reflective coating: $159.99
High index, premium anti-reflective, and Transitions photochromatic lenses: $204.99

For comparison, a local optician who knew nothing about me said I should definitely get the Varilux lenses, which is all the prescribe because it is the best lens. The price starts at $350 for the lens. I didn't ask, but I'm assuming that is without any anti-reflective coating, which cost me over $100 when I bought single vision lenses from this office in the past (Crizal Avance). That may not be the most fair comparison, but I can pretty comfortably say these prices are about half the price of most other places. Obviously the savings aren't worth anything if the lens doesn't perform well for me. The other good thing with Costco is that they've always been good about standing behind their products if something doesn't work out.

I'm excited to give it a try and I'll share my experience once I get them.
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Postby LSimon » Sun Dec 14, 2014 7:14 pm

Does anyone have any experience to compare these with the Varilux progressive lenses?
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Postby george » Mon Feb 02, 2015 12:35 pm

I have had the Kirkland signature HD progressive eyeglasses for about 2 weeks. I've never used varilux and only have the inexpensive Zenni glasses to compare them to. Even then, my prescription is slightly different with the new glasses so an exact comparison isn't possible. Having said that, here is what I can say so far.

The lenses are nice and better than the Zenni glasses in almost all ways, except cost. Some of the difference may be from having them professionally fit as it does help to have the proper segment height with progressives (the height where the lens starts to change from distance vision to intermediate). It took a few days to adjust as the transition on these glasses starts much closer to normal distance view compared to the Zenni glasses. In other words, with the Zenni glasses I would have to often tilt my head back to focus on closer items. This is much less of an issue with the Costco progressives. The draw back is that if I am reclining watching TV, I have to make sure I'm not tipped back too far. I find it only noticeable when I'm reclined and looking to the side at something where things will be a little blurry. Otherwise, I find near and intermediate vision to be very good. There is some blurring when items are off center, but I almost never find myself having to adjust to get things in focus. With the Zenni glasses, I frequently would have to search for the right position to get something in focus. With the Costco glasses, everything seems very smooth when moving from intermediate to close. I even find working on my desktop computer with the screen a little higher not being a problem. I do have to tip my head slightly, but not much like I did with the Zenni glasses.

The only negative I've had is with far distance vision. When I'm driving, I find that far away signs are a bit fuzzy. When they get within 50 feet or so they are fine. I'm not sure if this is an issue with the glasses, or my distance prescription. I'm also not sure if it is any worse than with the Zenni glasses. I've tried doing a side by side comparison when driving when I first got the new glasses and it wasn't that noticeable. So I'm not sure yet what to think of it. I will try another side by side comparison now that I've adjusted a bit more to these glasses.

Again, I can't compare them to varilux lenses, and I'm not sure I want to shell out over $350 to find out. If essilor is confident enough in their product, I'd be happy to get a complimentary pair and write as unbiased of a review as possible. I don't think that'd going to happen. I know that all progressive lenses have weaknesses. For me, the Costco glasses are very functional and at a really good price compared to the other name brand options.

Regarding distance vision, I will say that indoors at my workplace, which has some long hallways, I have zero problems and find the glasses very good.
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Postby Jeff J » Fri May 01, 2015 8:53 pm

I just had an eye exam on 4/25. Will Costco honor that if I buy the glasses there? I just rec'd some from Zenni & love the frames but they really need to be adjusted. Is that possible as well?
Jeff J

Postby george » Fri May 01, 2015 11:40 pm

Jeff J,

You can give a call to your local Costco, but I'm fairly certain that Costco would honor an eye exam prescription, even if it was done somewhere else. The optometrist in the Costco is typically independent from the store.

I think it would be totally up to the optician you ask to adjust your glasses. If you are buying new glasses, they are more likely to be willing to adjust your old ones.
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Postby FrankB » Tue May 12, 2015 11:34 am

I found some information online that claims the Kirkland Signature HD progressive is a customized, rebranded Essilor blank. It's not up to Varilux level but it is probably a bit better than the Ovation progressives that they used to sell (at least in the Chicago area). Costco is said to use iCoat's Vivix anti-reflective coating, another respectable product.

I bought my new glasses at Costco, 129.99 for the Kirkland progressives, 59.99 for a Timberland frame (priced elsewhere from $97-117), and 9.99 for edge polish. They seem well-made, and the lenses are comparable in thickness to the Essilor Definity Trivex progressives in my old, much more expensive glasses. Though I was quoted 7-10 days, they were ready in four!

Postby george » Tue May 12, 2015 11:32 pm


I'm curious where you found the information online, specifically how old the information is. I have seen some comments online where people suspect that Costco was using Essilor Ovation lenses, but all of those posts are at least two years old, some much older. I think the Kirkland Signature HD Progressive wasn't released until sometime in 2014 and everything I have seen about them is that they are Costco's own proprietary lens. Of course, that doesn’t mean that they aren't based on some other blank.

Regardless, I've had mine for about four months now and I think they've been very good. They are noticeably better than the Zenni Progressives I had a year ago (they may have improved their lenses since). Specifically, I find that near and intermediate vision is very good with a wide enough field of vision that I can do reading and computer work without any problems. I also find that using my desktop computer at work isn’t a problem with these lenses. I always had issues with the Zenni lenses, having to tip my head back to get enough correction, and then I’d have to make my head was pointed directly at what I was reading, or I’d have to adjust my head position to get things in focus. I don’t need to do that anymore. The near and intermediate vision is so good with these, that even though I bought a pair of the Costco Office Lens (working on a review), I find that the extra effort to switch glasses isn’t worth the slightly wider field of near and intermediate that the office lens provides. If I were still using my Zenni progressives, I would be swapping glasses to the office lens most days at work.

When I first got the Costco progressives, I felt like my far distance vision was sometimes blurry when I was driving. I don’t notice that anymore so I’m guessing I’ve either adjusted to the lenses, or gotten used to some mild blurriness in the far distance.

Either way, I fully recommend these lenses and I would get them again. If I had problems with my vision with them, I would likely have gone to a private optometrist and try out the much, much more expensive options they sell like Varliux. When I’m ready for new glasses, I’m almost definitely going to get these again.

As for the anti-reflective coating, I also see some old mentions of Costco using the iCoat Vivix, but over the past two years I've heard that they use their own proprietary anti-reflective coating process, which is very high quality, comparable to any of the other high quality anti-reflective coatings. Perhaps they do still use iCoat's technology. I honesly haven't had any issues with any of the anti-reflective coatings I've gotten and couldn't tell a whole lot of difference between each of them. I think a lot of the differences are marketing points and not entirely relevant in daily use.
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Postby FrankB » Wed May 13, 2015 6:19 am

George, my information about Costco previously using Ovation blanks is first-hand. My Costco pair from 2008 has the Ovation lens marking as shown in this comprehensive chart:

Since I was planning to go to Costco for my new pair I did some research about the current Kirkland Signature HD Progressive line. I ran across a thread from last June, which fits with the KS release date. This board is primarily opticians, and some of them appear to have inside knowledge (not surprising). The information that it is an Essilor blank but a new proprietary design is here: ... Cost*o-PAL

The Vivix coating information goes back to 2012, but came from an insider. ... s-it/page2
I will grant that they could have changed coatings with the new line, but I don't know why they would since they were already doing it in-house. My 2008 Costco lenses have a similar green tint in the AR to the new ones. The lenses are easy to clean and I have only noticed the slightest flare when looking at a very bright light source. I haven't tried night driving yet, but I'll bet it will be an improvement over the worn coating on my last pair.

The bottom line is that I fully agree the Kirkland Signature HD progressives are a quality product for a good price. The near and intermediate fields are fine for me for office work. I haven't noticed any issues with distance vision either, clarity seems excellent with a relatively minor Rx change from my 2011 glasses.

Postby george » Sat May 16, 2015 4:26 pm


Thank you very much for sharing the information. I had previously seen the one thread discussing the Costco PAL's on optiboard, but I am a skeptic of a lot of the comments there. Obviously that forum is one of the best for information from within the industry. I've found that forum is biased against the big chain and online retailers. Not surprising given the people who belong to the forum. In spite of the bias, it is the most informed group of professionals discussing these topics. Having said that, I do take some of their "facts" with a grain of salt. People on that forum are VERY opinionated and many people state their opinions as if they are facts. Adding to the confusion, the manufacturers are being secretive about the products and the people who do KNOW are probably not allowed to disclose what they know. The manufacturers don't want people to be able to compare products as different retailers are charging different amounts for what may be the same product being sold with different names.

If the Costco progressive is truly comparable to a Varilux lens, but at 25% of the cost, of course the independent optometrists will try to bad mouth the product. The same thing with comments about online retailers - they are a big threat to what has been a successful business model.

I really appreciate the information about the Vivix coating information. A few years back I tried finding as much information as possible about ratings for anti-reflective coatings. Once I purchased a pair of Crizal Avance coated lenses, I concluded most of it is hype. I'd be very hard pressed to find a difference between the Costco anti-reflective and the Crizal Avance. I think the practical difference between the $5 Zenni anti-reflective and Crizal Avance is actually pretty small. Perhaps very elaborate testing can find big differences (COLTS testing), but the three Zenni lenses I've owned and worn for a year each, all held up without any scratches or peeling.
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Postby writeraz » Fri Jun 19, 2015 12:26 pm

I never post on these but appreciate your intensive research and information. I have been struggling with the price for the Verilux recommended by my eye doctor yesterday. You seem up to date and knowledgeable. Thank you again.

Postby Michael » Sun Aug 02, 2015 4:46 pm

I had previously, about 2 years ago, tried a pair of progressive glasses and it didn't work out. I tried using them for several weeks but I kept getting headaches and it was very hard to use a computer monitor, which I need to do all day at work. I finally gave up and went back to using readers.

At my last eye checkup my doctor said that maybe I should try progressives one more time. Since my last try was such a failure I decide to do a bit of research first. The last time I purchased about the cheapest progressives available. After doing some research I had concluded that that was part of my problem. It seems there is quite a difference between the low end and the new better ones. I had concluded that if I really wanted using progressives to have a chance I was going to have to go to some place like LensCrafters and spend $500 to $1,000. I really couldn't afford that much but I really wanted the progressives to work. It is about then that I came across this forum thread. I had always thought of glasses from department stores etc. as low end, but after reading all the positive comments here and a bit more in other places I decide to give the Costco progressives a try. I had already learned that there is a difference between office/computer progressives and regular ones. Since I spend most of my work day in front of a monitor I decide to get a pair of office/computer progressives and a pair of regular ones.

I have had them for about a week and so far I am VERY happy. I spent weeks trying to get use to the old pair and never did. This pair hardly took any getting use to at all. Before I had to constantly play the game of 'pointing my nose' & 'adjusting my gaze'. For the most part I haven't had to do any of that with either of my new Costco pairs. Using them seems very natural. I simple look at what I want to look at as I naturally would and most of the time that puts my eyes in the right area of the glasses to have the proper focus.

The computer/office ones work great for when I am at work. I switch to my regular ones if I am going to be away from my computer for a while, like in a meeting, but for computer use and working with people right next to me they work great. I should also say that the regular ones work fine with my computer for short periods of time, but I always switch to the computer/office glasses if I am going to be more then a few minutes in front of a monitor.

The only disappointment I have had is that the transissions are not nearly as good as I was hoping. They seem to take several minutes in the bright sun before they do anything and even at that the do not do much. That is to say they do not get very dark. Other wise I am very pleased with my Costco progressive glasses.

Postby Tom » Wed Aug 26, 2015 1:51 am

These very helpful posts describing user experiences with the relatively new Kirkland Signature HD progressive lenses do not specify whether the lens material in the poster's glasses is polycarbonate or high index plastic. I wonder whether the material might have an effect on the observations. Would love to hear what the materials were/are. Thanks!

Postby george » Thu Aug 27, 2015 10:31 pm


Mine are polycarbonate. I continue to wear them daily and find them very, very good. I can't imagine progressives being much better. I had also bought the Costco office lens at the same time. I got the office lens first and wore them for a few days at work and liked them much better than my Zenni progressives for that purpose. However, the Kirkland Signature HD Progressives are so good that I have no reason to switch glasses in my office.

I would hope that the high index lenses are equally as good, but I have no personal experience as my prescription isn't strong enough to need high index.
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Postby Guest » Sat Aug 29, 2015 6:57 pm

George, thanks for clarifying that the lens material giving your good optical results with the Kirkland HD Progressives is polycarbonate. Polycarbonate was my first choice until I learned that, among the various plastic lens materials, it has the largest chromatic aberration (lowest Abbe number). This apparently sometimes causes visible eyeglass problems, such as halos around lights and excessive softness toward the edges of the lens. Since I want to get the Kirkland HD Progressives in polycarbonate, it’s good to hear you are not bothered by chromatic aberration effects with them. The other plastic lens materials with lower chromatic aberration have various other drawbacks such as cost, thickness, availability, etc., making polycarbonate a good choice, if no optics issues.

Interesting that you find the Kirkland HD Progressives just as comfortable in the office as the Kirkland dedicated office glasses (essentially near-view no-line bifocals, I think). I can understand the HD Progressives being good for variable office viewing distances and also for relatively wide fields of view (for progressives). But, since office tasks use only the lower part of the progressive lens (close view part), thought it might get uncomfortable to tilt your head up for extended times. With dedicated office glasses, the upper part is relatively close view, so head tilt would not seem to be needed as much.

Postby paddler » Thu Oct 15, 2015 11:49 am

I purchased high index lenses at Costco a couple years ago and I was very happy with them. I recently had an eye exam by an ophthamologist under my insurance and got a new prescription. Went right to Costco and ordered frames almost identical to my old ones with high index, progressive, Transition lenses same as last time. But when the glasses arrived I noticed right away that they didn't seem clear. I wore them for a day and it was obvious when I was driving that road signs were much more blurry than with my old back they went. Costco was very good about taking them back (thank goodness because they were $269!). I went back to my eye doctor who did a recheck and said it was right on with the first one. The woman at Costco said they had changed lens manufacturers since I was there in 2013 - bummer. I may have to try them one more time because I just can't afford the high index lenses anywhere else.

Postby Perry » Sun Oct 18, 2015 4:10 am

I got my first progressives from Costco two weeks ago and they are terrible. The focus field is very narrow. They warned me that I would have to move my head up and down to adjust the focust field based on the distance of the object I want to put into focus but no one told me I would also have to move my head left and right to focus. Basically I can't move my eyes at all. They must be permanently afixed straight ahead and the neck alone must be used to navigate what I am looking at. The peripheral view is completely distorted and unusable. As I move my head left and right, the parrallel lateral lines of my computer monitor bend to the right and to the left. Unless you are exactly facing the object eveything is blury. But the focus range is so ridiculouly small that things go out of focus even if moving your head just slightly. So little in fact that I could not even get both eyes in focus. Once I get one in focus the other goes out of focus and vice versa. Went back to my eye doctor to check my prescription again and ask him if I am doing something wrong. He verified that the prescription was correct and told me my mistake was going to Costco. He told me he gets lots of disatisfied patients with Costco glasses. Went back to Costco to return them and the lady at the counter confirmed that their lenses do have a much narrower focus field than other lenses but maintained that over time I would get used to them. I frankly don't see how that's possible. I see better without these glasses since my prescription is not strong. At least they did not complain and gave me a refund but they did put a note on my permanent record that they are not to sell me progressives again.

Postby george » Wed Oct 21, 2015 9:39 pm


I'm sorry to hear about your negative experience. Based on what you said, it sounds like these are your first progressive lenses you've tried. I'm surprised the optician at the counter at Costco said that their lenses have a narrower field of vision than most. My understanding is that they are pretty much in line with the other premium style progressive lenses. Compared to the cheap zenni optical progressives I used for a year, these have a much wider field of view for close and middle distances. In fact, when I bought these last year I also bought a pair of "office lenses" which are designed for medium distances through the top part of the lens and close vision from the bottom part - with the idea that you will get a much wider field of vision for near and middle distances. While those lenses are very good, I find that I have no problems with the Kirkland HD progressives in my office so I never bother to switch glasses. Maybe I find them really good since I had already adjusted to a really narrow field of vision with the Zenni progressives.

Obviously the Kirkland progressives are not for everyone. I'd be curious to hear your experience if you try another brand of progressive at some point for comparison. If you find something that works better for you, I'd appreciate if you could share the brand here.
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Postby dazzleaj » Thu Oct 22, 2015 3:22 pm

I have a new pair of progressives, two actually, from Costco. I have had them on for about one week now and I am not at all pleased. My experience mirrors Perry's. This is my fourth prescription in which I have opted for progressives and all of them have been filled over the years by Costco. My old pairs of glasses gave me a wide field of view only mildly distorting when my eyes were at the edge of the lenses. The new ones force me into such a narrow tunnel of clarity that is for all intents and purposes useless. At the edges of the glasses I have rivers of unfocused light drawing my attention and distorting my perspective and balance. Walking down stairs is now very dangerous if i am not looking down at my feet and concentrating. I have never had a problem before and still do not with my old glasses.

I used one pair for all endeavors with a great field of view and great close and intermediate clarity. I could be at any computer, lap or desktop, for 10-12 hours with no problem. I could read street signs at night almost as well as those who didn't need glasses. Except for the fact that I actually did have glasses on, my life was "normal". Not so with the new ones however. I am now handicapped by a cruel and ineffective interface with the world around me.

It must be noted that my last set was purchased in June of 2013 and it took two tries for them. The first set were the high index and felt wrong immediately. We then went back to the CR-39 and the replacements were as perfect as their predecessors had been.

It must also be noted that I have used the same frames for all my progressives, changing the lenses and wearing my backups until the new ones arrive and then sending out the backups for re-lensing, thus removing lens shape or positioning as a variable.

I am really interested in finding who makes lenses with the CR-39 using the old Costco process. I am not about to say that price is no object but I need glasses to function in the real world and the "new and improved" just does not cut it.

Postby george » Fri Oct 23, 2015 12:37 am


Your experience sounds extremely frustrating. I'm surprised that the newer technology is worse for you, but obviously there must be something specific about the way the lenses are made and your specific eyes. Is it possible that your newest pair was made the a stronger prescription?

It sounds like your best chance is going to a private optometrist who has more options of the types of lenses to order. It is possible that if the old Costco lenses were made by a known third party, there may even be some sort of mark on the lens as to who the manufacturer was. A private optometrist can then order the same specific lens. Even without the specific manufacturer, perhaps a good optometrist can match you with something similar. My limited experience with private optometrists, though, is that they try to push the newest lenses which can be ridiculously expensive. You actually seemed to have the best experience with older technology that should be much cheaper.

I wish you luck finding a lens that works well for you. Please share your progress.
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Postby dazzleaj » Tue Oct 27, 2015 12:21 pm

A bit more information after a couple weeks.

Yes the prescription is stronger for this set. That doesn't seem to be the problem. I noticed while driving at dusk that I saw what can be described as a kaleidoscope for each headlight. When I closed each eye, I saw 2 headlights for each actual headlight in each/both lenses. When I turned my head a bit the images separated further. This was the same for each eye with the other one closed. I quickly switched to the old glasses and this split image was gone and the lights became clear and distinctly one light (a bit blurry as I have need for a stronger power). The next day and every day since, I can now see the same effect when looking at a distinct object in the distance such as the point on a church steeple against a blue sky. I also now can see some of the same type of multiple images, though much reduced, when i hold an object with simple shapes up in direct line with either eye and close the closer eye thus "crossing" the field of view. Having confirmed it's existence at close range using either eye, I now am able to discern it exists in all ranges of view. The only zones it does not overpower the value of the glasses are in a house type setting. They are better than my old glasses when having conversations with people in the 4 to 8 foot range and when using my desktop computer with about 2 1/2 feet from face to screen. In both of these situations I am not using any broad field of view and am for the most part stationary. In all other endeavors they fall short.

Could it be that the CNC programming failed to take eye movement into account when designing the lens profile? In your opinion, would this explain the increasing separation of the two images per lens as the eye drew light from anything other than dead center? It still does not explain the double image's existence at all though, unless there is an error in the orientation of front surface to back surface. Also could it be possible that the program was optimized for a lens blank with a different coefficient of refraction? Perhaps this could explain everything. Do you know if, by chance, this is the same programming that is used in the low index lens grinding process? (Obviously the specific grinding program per prescription must be different but is the program optimized for each specific blank) If you think it might produce a better pair of glasses, I will try a set using that material and see if this ghosting is alleviated.
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Postby surfnet » Tue Nov 03, 2015 2:49 pm

Hello everyone,
Found this forum through google search since I am going to visit my optometrist for an exam soon and I am wearing Costco progressive lens.
A couple of questions for you all:
(1) Do optometrists get a kickback from lens companies? My previous optometrist did not seem too pleased when I said I was going to try Costco.
(2) This is my first Costco progressive lens and I've been wearing it for almost two years. BUT, I did find it not as good as my previous and I assumed it
was Varilux (getting them from my optometrist). I was told that the frame could make a different since my new one is flatter than the old one and it could
make the focus area more shallow. I had to go back to the doctor for him to confirm the prescription since Costco people did not find
anything wrong with their measurements. After many adjustments by Costco people, I feel that it was still not as good as my old lens.
So, I am wondering if I should go back to Costco again this time since my prescription will surely be worse than before.
Thanks for any advice.
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Postby Tracyft » Sat Nov 07, 2015 10:43 pm

Hi all,

Thinking about getting Costco progressives, but would not want polycarbonate. Last time I purchased progressives at the optometrist (2011), they recommended the new polycarbonate lens and I had the same experience as Perry, very limited horizontal field of view. Since this was not my first progressives, I knew this was not right. So, I went back and had them replaced with standard plastic progressives... A world of difference, complete horizontal field of view!

So, Perry, and others, were your lenses polycarbonate?
And, does Costco offer good CR-39 plastic progressives?


Postby smuckerc » Wed Nov 11, 2015 1:14 am

My experience with narrow viewing range and bad distortion to the periphery of the lenses mirrors those of recent posts. I just picked up a new pair of glasses with progressive lenses from Costco. I have been wearing progressive lenses for years most recent pair from Sears Optical. The narrow range of vision was immediately noticeable. And just is bad is how bad the blurriness and distortion is on the periphery. I have been sitting here watching TV and comparing my old lenses to the new ones. The differences are striking. I've not yet decided whether to return the glasses but am considering it. It's not a matter of just getting used to them. I really have to turn and tilt my head to focus properly and glancing to the side, which used to be acceptable, is now impossible. Rather disappointing.

Postby george » Wed Nov 11, 2015 11:14 am

A couple of posts I'll try to respond to.


I'm guessing each optometrist is different, but my impression was that private optometrists make most of their money off of the items they sell (frames and lenses) as opposed to from doing eye exams. So most private optometrists will not be happy if you have your eye exam done and then you take your prescription to another store to get the prescription filled. At big box retail chains, some states require the optometrists to be considered separate from the rest of the store. I would sometimes go to Lenscrafters to get an eye exam but take my prescription to fill it online at Zenni. While the optometrist didn't seem to care, the last time I was there I did get pressure from the store manager about why I wasn't filling my prescription.

You should check with Costco to see if your two year old progressive lens from them is the same as the relative new Kirkland Signature HD progressive. You may find the newer lens works better for you than their older models. Everyone is different, as this thread shows, but generally the newer model is an improvement for most people. The only other thing to keep in mind is that if your prescription has gotten stronger, there is more chance that the progressive lenses will give you troubles until you adapt. I think this is an issue with the requirement for a stronger prescription in a progressive lens more than it is an issue with the particular brand of progressive. But some designs seem to work better for specific types of prescriptions.


I'm wondering if the issue with your bad experience with polycarbonate was due to the polycarbonate material itself or the specific brand / pattern of the progressive lens. I think most people don't notice that much different vision-wise between polycarbonate and plastic, but you will notice significant differences based on the way the progressive lens is made. Some brands have larger near vision zones, some larger distance vision zones, and some larger intermediate zones. That is much more likely to be a mismatch for people as opposed to the material of the lens. Do you know what brand the polycarbonate progressive was and what brand the plastic progressive was? If the plastic progressive worked well, do you still have an option of getting the same brand? As I said above, if your prescription has gotten stronger, there is a chance that any new lens will take some time to adapt to because of the stronger prescription.


Did you prescription change much from the previous pair you got at Sears? Do you know what brand made the progressive lenses you got at Sears? That sounds really frustrating. What is your prescription? It sounds like some people are having a rough time with the Costco progressives, yet for others they are really good. I'm wondering if it has something to do with the amount of add for near vision that doesn't work well. It'd be nice to have some sort of data on which brands work best for people with which prescriptions and needs. I doubt we'll ever have access to that information and I'm guessing very few optometrists work with enough different brands in detail to really make the right recommendation. I think the company's promotional materials are far more accessible to the optometrists than the actual research behind it. And based on my research, there isn't a lot of publicly available research comparing different types of progressive lenses to really know what is best for specific individuals. There is a ton of marketing hype because there are huge markups in the private sector on these products.
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Postby tllawrence » Mon Nov 30, 2015 9:30 am

I have recently used Costco for my eye prescription lenses - one progressive pair and one Costco Office Lens pair for computer use. I have VSP insurance and the cost for two complete glasses (frames and lenses) including exam was well under $300. I have to use high-index lenses which are an additional cost. So far, I have found Costco to be an excellent choice for glasses both in cost and service. The only problem I am working through is that the Costco Office lenses (which are a progressive lens) do not come in High-Index, only polycarbonate. Since I found years ago the I NEED high-index lenses, the struggle I am having the Office lenses are manifesting that the "viewing window" or "sweet spot" is not appearing to be as wide as what their diagram shows in their information sheet. My Office pair has a good computer distance viewing area from top to bottom, but the left-to-right viewing area is very limited to a small circle like my other general progressive lenses. The Costco optician doesn't seem to grasp that as a problem, but does admit that the Office Lens DOES NOT come in high-index but is saying that shouldn't be a problem. It is for me so, I will continue to seek another option. Just be informed that this could be an issue for you as well if you require high-index lenses.

Postby tmasopust » Fri Jan 29, 2016 12:37 am

I've been using Variliux for 3 years. Various was my first pair of progressives ever. Prior to them, I just used reading glasses because my eyes were 20/20. Various was sticker shock to say the least. It also took about 2 weeks to retrain my brain to look straight ahead vs. scanning my eyes left and right which I had previously done. Two days into Various I wanted to return them. Two weeks later, all was good.

Fast forward 3 years. My prescription changed slightly, now have a small astigmatism, and my frames were worn. Went to Costco and ordered their progressives after providing them with a prescription from my optometrist. A week later glasses are in. The first thing I notice when putting them on is that my right eye is out of focus. But, if I close the left and turn my head slightly, things focus. Costco's solution was to bend the frames slightly. The other thing I noticed is that the field of vision is dramatically more narrow than my Varilux. I really have to point at everything to get good focus. Peripheral vision is noticeable more blurry with Costco vs. Various.

I work on a computer all day. First attempt to work with new glasses is a fail! Right eye will not focus in reading area no matter what I do. Needless to say, they are going back as that more or less defeats the purpose.

On another note, my Various fitting was very scientific. There was a machine that tracked my pupils over several tests in order to customize the field. Costco's technician simple had be put on the frames, look straight at her, and place 2 dots on my lenses and measure with a ruler. Seemed a little less than scientific.

Postby Big » Sat Feb 27, 2016 9:42 pm

I bought my HD lenses from Costco it took about 5 days to receive my glasses at first it took a little getting use to everything seems a lot closer and wider but once I got used to them I love them, everything is crisper, clearer and closer.but they takes a little getting used to

Postby Kathy McC » Mon Feb 29, 2016 8:11 pm

I ordered a pair of glasses with the progressive digital lenses. Wanted a second pair of glasses. I have a pair of glasses using Verilux, Crizal coating, Transitions and anti reflective. This pair is not as good as my last pair with the same coatings, etc. I had cataract surgery before getting my current glasses. I'm hoping the glasses I get tomorrow (since they are in transit to the store) work well.
Kathy McC

Postby Kathymcc123 » Tue Mar 01, 2016 8:24 pm

The Costco location in Nanuet, NY offers the digital progressive HD lenses. I just got a pair of progressives from that location today. I was impressed with how light the glasses are! And, so far the vision is fine. I was told there is a small adjustment period, so guess I am going to have a couple of days of getting used to them.

Postby lenorend » Tue Mar 15, 2016 11:26 pm

I purchased a pair of progressive lenses in a Michael Cors frame at my local Costco using VSP insurance. It was so ridiculously inexpensive after years of going to a private optometrists' office and purchasing my glasses and frames at that office, also using VSP. I do not know why it is such a big difference and I am 100% happy with Costco. They did a great job and I love my glasses.

Postby kenken4454 » Mon May 02, 2016 7:23 am

I obtained a new prescription from my optometrist last week. The optician in the office first discussed Varilux high-index progressive lenses with Crizal anti-reflective coating. The total cost with "indestructible" Titanium frames was going to be around $800. When I displayed some resistance, the optician suggested I may wish to try a digitally manufactured high-index polycarbonate lens that is made in the Varilux plant. The cost, with the Crizal coating would be less than $500.
Took the prescription to Costco and was told the digitally manufactured high-index polycarbonate lens they sell is made in the Varilux plant! The coating will not be Crizal brand, but one that is applied in the Costco lab. Total cost with Titanium frames (not quite as attractive as the frames I had found at the optician's office) $220!! Expect the glasses to be ready for pick-up this week, will wear them during the 30-day "money back" trial period and update this post. Will also attempt to obtain a written verification from Costco that the lenses are, in fact, manufactured in the Varilux plant.

Postby kdaug » Sun May 08, 2016 5:19 pm

I am on my third set of progressives over 7 years from different suppliers and am now shopping for a new pair. Now one thing that I have learned so far is that no two brands of lenses are ground to the same specs. While the prescription has been spot on for all three pairs so far, the field of view has been quite different.

The current pair that I have (Varilux Physio) were recommended as being better than the previous "big box brands" that I had. Now I had heard good reports about the Physio, BUT, I am really unhappy about the narrow field of view as others here have commented on. If you are new to progressives you might not know better. You only get what you pay for, and with Varilux here is why.

Varilux(owned by Essilor) have 5 lenses in their line. From cheapest to most expensive they are: Freedom, Comfort, Physio, E Series and S Series. Guess what COSTCO carries....the Freedom, and it is the only lense they carry. They just confirmed this for me. That is why they can offer it so cheaply. Now my understanding is that less expensive lenses have less processing/grinding involved and therefore produce a narrower field of view, therefore cost less to produce, and buy. One of the advantages of going to the Varilux E or S Series is that the field of view is considerably wider because of more precise grinding out to the edges, which is what I want in my next lenses. But, the quote from one of my local opticians was $690 including Crizal coatings!!! This is way more than I want to spend for lenses only(no frames)!!

I went to PearleVision who (here in Canada) supply their own "in-house" brand of lenses made for them supposedly by a lab in Dallas, Texas. They won't confirm if it is made by a name brand like Essilor, etc., but from what I could gather, like COSTCO, it is a lower priced option like the Varilux Freedom, Comfort or maybe the Physio. They also couldn't confirm if their lens has the same, better or worse field of view than the Physio. Their price is good but, but should I take the chance, even if I could get my money back. H-m-m-m-m??

So if there is ANY OTHER brand that can give me a wider field of view than the PHYSIO, at a similar/reasonable price point I hope to find it soon but in the meantime I'd like to know if anyone else knows of one.
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Postby george » Sun May 08, 2016 11:16 pm


I'm sorry to hear that you haven't found an adequate progressive lens. I am fairly certain the Costco lenses are NOT the same as the Varilux Freedom. I have heard it is their own in-house lens. Of course, that could be incorrect, but I'm skeptical of someone who claims the current Costco progressive is actually the Varilux Freedom. Also, my own view is that a lot of the Varilux E and S series are just a lot of marketing hype without any studies to back up the claims. I'm sure they did some in house studies that showed some people prefer the higher end lenses, but based on the feedback I've seen, there are plenty of people who don't like them too. It seems that progressive lenses often are a very personal experience and it can take some trial and error to find a right fit. And for some people, there may not be a right fit. How strong is your prescription?
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Postby bobsyeruncle » Mon May 09, 2016 8:34 am

I've been reading through this thread (and the other one which led me here) and appreciate everyone's feedback. I'm planning on going to Costco this week to "window shop" and talk pricing, etc. with someone, if available, but wanted to get some clarification on insurance first. I understand the "Independent Doctors of Optometry" based at each Costco accept various forms of payment and insurance. I'm covered thru my employer with EyeMed, and so even if the IDO at my Costco doesn't take EyeMed, I can go elsewhere for the Rx. No biggie.

My EyeMed coverage includes a frame benefit ($0 copay, $130 allowance, 20% discount off balance over $130), so I definitely want to take advantage of that. My understanding from reading here is that Costco will provide me a receipt that I present to my insurance for reimbursement, but that they are considered "Out of Network" ... which only provides me a $50 reimbursement via my EyeMed coverage. Am I reading that correctly?

Postby bobsyeruncle » Mon May 09, 2016 8:43 pm

Disregard my previous post. I went on over to Costco today and the IDO does *not* accept EyeMed, but will give me a receipt for reimbursement. Eye exams are $69, so $29 after out-of-network reimbursement. I can get the exam free from an in-network doctor, so I'll go that route and just come back with my Rx if that's how I decide to do it. The lenses will have to come at significant savings, though.

Postby george » Mon May 09, 2016 8:55 pm

I also have EyeMed and I submit as out of network. It is a little bit more work, but I find it is much cheaper going out of network with Costco than going in network with Lenscrafters or a private optometrist. The eye exam costs a little more and I have gone to Lenscrafters just to get the eye exam, but the last time I did that one of the store managers was giving me pressure about why I wasn't buying glasses, etc. The frames at Costco are pretty cheap unless you get the designer models, so usually it isn't much more than the out of network price. The biggest savings is on the lenses though. In network providers want to charge a fortune for progressive lenses, and even more with anti reflective coatings. I'm curious what you price them each out to be.
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Postby kdaug » Fri May 27, 2016 7:04 pm

I just got a confirmation(from another COSTCO optician employee) that the COSTCO progressive lenses are indeed Accolade Freedom, made by Essilor, and not the Varilux Freedom( also made by Essilor) that I was previously advised. I also checked with Walmart as they have a promotion on at the moment and discovered that they also use the Accolade Freedom. So whoever has the best overall prices would seem to be the way to go. Walmart also has less expensive frames.

BUT, for me, I want a wider field of view in my next progressives, and no one can confirm if the Accolade Freedom has narrower, wider or the same field of view as my current Varilux Physio's. :(

I also went back to the optician who sold me my current lenses and frames 2 years ago, and he tells me that he now carries a new brand called the Jena 4K which supposedly has a wider field of view than any of the Essilor lenses. Sounds tempting except for the price of the lens. His 2 for one price is $1034 and Walmart's 2 for one price is $630!!! What to do!! :?
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Postby george » Wed Jun 22, 2016 8:29 am


It looks like in Canada, Costco does use the Accolade Freedom for their progressive lens. In the US, though, Costco has consistently reported for the past several years that they have their own in house manufacturing for their progressive lens. It would be nice to get some real confirmation, but the Costco statements have all said they do their own in house production of their Kirkland progressive lens. I am curious how different the lenses are, but not curious enough to buy another pair at this time. My progressive lenses work very well for me, so I can't justify spending more money. I already moved your previous comment about the Jena 4K lens to its own thread.
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Postby flik » Mon Jul 18, 2016 7:54 pm

I just got the Kirkland HD progressive lenses last week. They are beautiful. I am having no problems wearing them. They are very well made and comfortable on the eyes. I have had Zeiss progressive lenses before and I would compare the Kirkland HD lenses to them. I am very satisfied and the price was fantastic.

Postby jkraus » Fri Aug 05, 2016 9:12 pm

I received my first glasses last week at the age of 53. Without any further advice the optician at the optometrist's office recommended progressives. Same at Costco. I went to Costco and got the Accolade Freedom 167 HD. While I had not too many problems adapting to the different focal lengths (far - arm's length - reading), the field of view in the intermediate/reading is ridiculously narrow. I'd say 5-7 cm (less than 3 inches) for newspaper and computer screen. I went back to Costco and they recommended computer glasses covering from reading distance to 6-7 ft. I received these yesterday: another disaster...the field of horizontal view is now 12-15 cm but my computer monitor is 27 inch wide.

These computer glasses, even in their narrow field of view, are not any better than my 2008 custom-made readers. But those old readers cover the whole 27 inch screen. Therefore, why bother?

At Costco, they told me that I had to get used to them in the next 5 weeks or so. Getting used to and not being able to see are two different things. Does anybody really expect that my brain adjusts to these computer glasses so that my field of view will triple to quadruple in the next few weeks?

My problem is that I have no experience with glasses other than that none of these Costco glasses work right now. According to the Essilor Accolade website, 9 out of 10 people adjust to their lens immediately.

The trick question is: will my eyes mysteriously adapt and the field of view will multiply? Or will I be better off with Zeiss lenses at my local optometrist at three times the price?
Last edited by jkraus on Sat Aug 06, 2016 12:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby george » Sat Aug 06, 2016 12:28 pm

One option is to ask for single vision lenses that work for the distance of your computer screen and then those glasses will just be for computer use, with a full field of vision. It may not be much different from your reading glasses that you use, though, depending on your eyes.

It did take me a while to get used to progressives with a narrow field of view, but the near and far prescriptions were so much better than single vision lenses that it was an easy compromise for me.

I'm also guessing you are in Canada. I think the progressive Costco lenses are not essilor in the US, according to Costco.

There is no way to know if the more expensive lenses will have a wider field of view for you, unless you try. If you do, please share your experience here.
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Postby jkraus » Sat Aug 06, 2016 12:32 pm

Thanks George,
Yes, I am in Canada. The question is: did you get used to the narrow field of view - which means this field of view did not change - or did your field of view increase? It is claimed by some that the brain will adapt ist post vision processing so that the field of view widens. Appears like an old-wife's tale to me.

The next question: is this lens design the wrong one for me and could another progressive lens design work better. Costco have essentially no choice.

To me, the Germans have always been the masters of optics. That'd why the optics had to be destroyed when a tank was left behind in WWII so that the Russians could not copy it. I checked and there is no Accolade lens but a whole bunch of different grades of progressive lenses, presumably at different price points. Therefore, I conclude you should expect better functionality with increasing price. My brother forked out 1400 EUR for his progressives and he does not even need computer glasses. On the other hand, my sister-in-law claimed she experienced no difference between cheap and expensive lenses...this may also depend on the prescription.
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Postby george » Wed Sep 07, 2016 10:23 pm


You are running into exactly the problem that most of us have.

First, I don't think my brain ever adjusted in the sense of making the in focus field of view seem wider. My experience is in the thread when I bought Zenni optical's progressive lenses. I haven't read through the thread in a while, but they were my first pair of bifocals of any type, happening to be progressive lenses. The Zenni progressives (at least from a few years ago) had a very narrow field of vision. However, the improved focus for near viewing was so much better than what I had with my single vision lenses that I loved them anyway. Rather than having my brain adjust to the wider field of view, my body adjusted by turning my head as I read on my computer more than anything else. I also would have to frequently move my head around until I got whatever I was looking at in the "sweet spot". Perhaps loved them is a bit strong of a word.

When I upgrade to my Costco Kirkland progressives, the field of vision was much wider than the Zenni. I find I really don't have to turn my head to find the sweet spot, but it is possible that I am doing it without noticing now - after having used the Zenni progressives for an entire year.

My prescription only changes slightly last year so instead of getting another pair of progressive lenses that work fine, I decided to get lined trifocal lenses from Costco. Those lenses probably have the best focus at different ranges with the widest field of view in each area, but the vertical field of view is pretty narrow for the intermediate zone. I find that the reading portion works best for me when using my laptop computer and the intermediate is best for my desktop computer. I haven't worn them enough to get used to the seemingly narrow vertical ranges for each focal length. They seem great when I'm doing one task, but I just haven't gotten used to wearing them as I walk around doing different things. My add prescription is still not that strong, so I may have been fine going with lined bifocals and may have adjusted more easily to those.

But back to the problem at hand - deciding whether it is worth a $500+ dollar bet that the more expensive lenses will work enough better to justify the cost. I honestly have no idea. For me, the Costco progressives (which I believe are different in the US than they are in Canada) work very well. It has only been in the last month or so that I've noticed some trouble focusing. I'm guessing that the passage of time continues to work its unpleasant magic on my eyes. I'll see at my next eye appointment if the prescription has changed much. About 18 months ago, I started working on writing up an article on the "best" progressive lenses. I did a ton of reading about the history and advances in the technology. Much of the technology changes in the last decade or two seem to be ideas that make for good promotion rather than ideas that have been proven to work better for people. Some people do better with one style and other people do better with another style. It seemed like there wasn't a clear rhyme or reason to predict which people adapt to which style.

What would be ideal is if we could have some type of loaner program to try different progressive lenses before buying. Because they are highly individualized, that obviously isn't a reasonable option. If you aren't happy with your current lenses, Costco has typically been good about giving a refund. It may be worth taking the chance and getting one of the high priced models from a private optometrist who has a lot of experience with progressive lenses. In my experience, my local optometrist tends to favor just the most expensive model for everyone. If I really looked around, I could probably find a local optometrist who works with several different lens manufacturers, but I still don't know how expert that eye doctor is at predicting which manufacturer would be best for me. Trial and error would be the best way to go, but no one can afford to try several different brands of progressive lenses.

Maybe one of these days I'll dig up my draft on the various progressive lens manufacturers and try to finish writing it up. In the end, I wasn't sure how helpful it would have been though since some people prefer different brands.
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Postby Jenny » Mon Oct 31, 2016 6:35 pm

I got my Costco progressives a week ago and they seemed great until I did my long commute to work. I had to put my chin nearly down to my chest to see distance. Try driving like that for an hour twice a day. Took them back to Costco, and they tried adjusting the nose piece, but eventually decided that the prescription must be wrong since I was looking 4 mm down from the top of the frame to focus. I suggested the Costco employee had marked my DRP (distance reference point) incorrectly. He was at least a foot taller than me and asked me to look at his nose. My thinking is that I moved my eyes up to his nose and he marked the DRP way to high, which (in my mind) would make the segment height too high as well. The optical manager was insistent that I return to the optometrist and have my eyes retested. The optometrist measured the lenses of my new glasses and said the correction was good, but the seg height was too high (my thoughts exactly!). Back I went to Costco who gave me this muddled theory of why the Optometrist was wrong. I phoned him and asked him to speak with Costco directly. I figured he would be able to understand whatever language that lady was speaking. The optometrist called back and said he couldn't understand any of it either, but agreed to retest my eyes if they were so convinced they were wrong. My eyes have been pretty steady for years so I don't think he could be that far off. I am not impressed with the optical technicians in this particular Costco. I hope they get it right the second time around. :evil:

Postby george » Mon Oct 31, 2016 8:05 pm

I'd be pissed and demand they remake the glasses. If they give you any trouble, I would try calling the corporate office with your issue. I've never heard of Costco giving someone a hard time before.

When I had my segment height marked, the optician adjusted her seat so that her eyes were level with mine. Of course if you are looking up, your eyes will be higher.

The other options you have in the meantime would be to adjust the nose pads farther apart to lower the frames on your nose. Either that or just lower them a little down on your nose. I'm guessing that may cause other problems though.

I know my progressives had the segment height higher than what I was used to with my Zenni progressives, but I got used to them pretty quickly.

Please let us know how the issue gets resolved.
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Postby BA88 » Sat Nov 05, 2016 5:10 pm

This is my experience with getting progressive lenses at the West Nashville Costco, purchased 23 Oct 2016.

I had my eyes examined by an ophthalmologist. The Rx isn't very strong. I bought progressive office lenses. These are my first ever progressive lenses; over the last 2 years, I've worn 1.25, 1.5, and 2x readers.

$ 80 - Frame : Via Spiga Porzia Black 500 52/16/135.
$ 70 - Lenses: progressive polycarbonate / office lenses.
$ 10 - Edges : polished
$160 - Total

The man that helped me said that Costco uses the Shamir Autograph II process for their progressives. Is Autograph III much different / better?

It took 6 days for the glasses to come in. The Rx was incorrectly written so I had to wait another 6 days for the replacement pair.

When I picked up the replacement pair, the guy who helped me (who initially wrote the Rx incorrectly) offered no apology. When I pointed out the inconvenience, he said he was sorry, mistakes are made, he didn't do it on purpose, what more did I want? I said I wanted an acknowledgement that this mistake was inconvenient and in no way did I think, or even imply, that he did this on purpose. I just wanted an acknowledgement of the mistake.

He handed me the glasses and apologized again. I asked, 'Don't we need to fit them or something? To see if there needs to be an adjustment?' So I put the glasses on and he thought they were fine -- he may have adjusted the nose pieces a bit. I thanked him and said that I found customer service to be lacking and surmised that perhaps that is why their prices are so low?

After wearing them 2 days, the glasses hurt -- both on the bridge of my nose and behind my ears. So I went back to Costco for an adjustment.

A different person helped me with this adjustment. I explained I had worn the glasses for 2 days but that they hurt. She replaced the nose pads and adjusted the ear pieces. When I put them back on she said, 'No, you need to wear them up higher.' When I pushed the glasses up higher, my eyelashes brushed the lenses and the nose pieces nearly touched my tear duct. I explained that this was uncomfortable. She said, 'Then progressives are not for you. I suggest you return them.'

I explained that I was disappointed that she wasn't willing to work with me more. She said she's been wearing progressives for 13 years and she knows you need to wear them up closer. I said that I found that uncomfortable.

I also explained that I was also surprised at how small the 'sweet spot' was. If the 'sweet spot' was so small for an office lens, I cannot imagine how it works for non-office lenses. I must move my head from right-to-left when reading across a 15" laptop monitor. She said, "Yes, you need to point your nose."

She had me hold reading material at arms length and to move my head until it was focused. I had to tilt my head up for focus. She said that was because I wasn't wearing the frames up as high as I should be.

I asked why couldn't the 'sweet spot' be moved higher up on the lens. She said that the segment height was at 23 (mm?) and that was as high as it could go. She then drew red lines on the lenses to show me where 23 was. She said that I should be able to focus at arms lengths at the red line. I tried on the glasses and said, 'The words are blurry when I look through the red line.' I then tipped my head up until the words were in focus. Again she said, 'That is because you aren't wearing the glasses up enough.' Again I explained that that was uncomfortable.

She said I should return the glasses.

I tried again to explain that if text was supposed to be focused at arms length when I looked through the red lines she drew on the lenses, well, the text was not. We went back and forth a few times about how I "wasn't wearing the glasses correctly" and how "I found that uncomfortable." Again, I was told that I should return the glasses.

Finally she lost her patience with me (I was persistent about my lack of understanding) and walked away, asking another person to help me. This new person said, 'All you can do is return the glasses.' I chose to keep the glasses and try to work with them up until 30 days.

Is it true that I should give up on progressives and return them?

Shouldn't the segment height (SH) be made after the frames are fit comfortably? The SH was measured before any adjustments were made to the frames. The frames certainly needed adjustment (to stop the pain; new nose pads were swapped in). Wouldn't the SH be different after adjustments?

Is it true that the frames must be worn as close to my face as possible -- regardless of the discomfort? Why can't I have the glasses fitted comfortably and then see about the progressive nature of the lens?

Again, I am being persistent about my lack of understanding. Can someone help me understand better?

All in all, I've had a very poor experience at the West Nashville Costco.

Postby george » Sun Nov 27, 2016 2:15 am


Thank you for posting your experience. I'm sorry to hear about your frustration. I don't know if there is normally a maximum segment height, but I'll see if I can find that out. Normally they should have you get the glasses sitting comfortably on your face before they measure the segment height. They should have been able to tell that the segment height wouldn't fit the particularly glasses you wanted in the position you like to wear them.

I'm also surprised you are having trouble finding a sweet spot with the office lens. I did buy a pair of the office lenses two years ago. I started writing a review a while back but I don't know that I ever posted it. Costco told me that Shamir made the office lenses I got too, but I didn't ask which model it is. The lenses were great, but I found my standard progressive lens was just as good for the distances of my computer screen so I never wore the office lenses.

One thing I've learned from my time on this forum is that everyone is different. Some people quickly adapt to one type of lens and some people don't.

As these are your first progressive lenses, I'm curious why you chose the office lens to start? When you use your laptop, do you have it sitting on a desk at eye level, a desk lower down, or on your lap? That will determine where on the lens you are looking when using the laptop. Regardless, a good optician and/or eye doctor should be able to assist you in figuring out which type of lens would be best for you. It may be that you need to see an optometrist or discuss with your ophthalmologist to get suggestions. I do feel that Costco doesn't do much handholding during this process.

As to your specific questions. It may be that progressive lenses are not for you. A single vision lens will definitely have a wider field of view. I'm not sure that trying another pair of progressives would make much difference, unless they are able ot get the segment height in the right place for you. Even then, the area in focus may be too small for you.

Unfortunately, I don't know how close progressive lenses are "supposed" to be worn.

I would say that if you aren't adjusting to the progressive lenses, you should return them. Since it sounds like you are more sensitive to the variations in the progressive lenses, you would probably be best to go with your ophthalmologist or a private optometrist to work with you on finding what is best.
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Postby jediwho » Sat Jan 07, 2017 5:22 pm

I had bought Shalimar three years ago from my optometrist and now she is selling only Vera Lux. I got a quote from them of $950. This is just for Progressive HD High Index lens with some quoting. My prescription is not very very high or low. Compare this to just under $300 for Costco. What am I missing. Are Vera Lux lenses that good. BTW, I live in West LA, so there might some additional premium built in, but still seems crazy.

Postby bp15 » Sun Jan 08, 2017 12:11 pm

Does Costco make the lenses if I bring my own frames? This is because my face can only take certain frame and I have bought a frame from another place which has been custom adjusted.

Also, do they have 1.74 lens thickness type for progressive since i have extremely high prescription. Does the cost of the lenses vary with the high prescription of -11 and -9?

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Postby Lori » Tue Jan 31, 2017 9:15 am

I read about questions regarding progressive lenses at Costco. My experience was a bad one.
I got my first pair of progressive lenses from Costco. My new glasses made me dizzy. I took the glasses to my optometrist think my prescription must have changed ( I had just had the exam and a new prescription) he checked them and found the lenses were in backwards, whatever that meant. I took them back to Costco, they send them out again. When they arrived the second time I thought they were a little weird and was told that I would get use to them. I never did. The field of vision is about the size of a bottle cap. Fast forward. I just had another eye exam this year and was definitely going to get new glasses. My husband got his new progressive lenses at Sam's, he couldn't stop talking about the field of vision. I went and checked it out myself. Sam's progressive lenses seems practically like single vision lenses in that their progressives have a HUGE field of vision. I got the new Nikon lenses plus transitions. I can hardly believe it....they are wonderful, I love them, I love wearing them. So in a nutshell, Costco was a horrible experience and awful lenses, Sam's was a great experience, wonderful lenses. I got Ray Bans and they weren't ridiculously price. This is just my experience. I got my new glasses the week before Christmas 2016. Can't get a more current real time posting than this. :D

Postby Lee » Sun Jun 25, 2017 1:04 am

Sister for sore eyes 600, Costco 228

Postby Livininva » Thu Aug 10, 2017 12:17 pm

I have Eyemed thru work my glasses & frames with my discount at a par provider is $342.75 Prodesign frames with TruClear Premium Progressive lenses (103.50 frames $239.25 for lenses) . I went to Costco got a quote on a very similar frame by Bulova $59.99 with Essilor progressive lenses $160.00 Eyemed will reimburse me up to $45.00 for frames and up to $60.00 for premium progressives. I wear my multi focal contacts pretty much 90% of the time so the high cost does not benefit me. Thoughts opinions???

Postby plwyman » Wed Sep 06, 2017 1:32 am

I've worn progressive lenses for 15 years now and just ordered my first pair from Costco. Thus, I read these blog posts in order to gain some insight. I'm skeptical about purchasing polycarbonate lenses (CR-39 and Trivex is all I own...) but would like to see what Costco has on offer. If anyone could conquer the mass marketing of quality budget eyewear, it's Costco. I have faith.

I'm hoping to introduce a few more variables into the discussion. Many things can go wrong with progressives and some can be easily assessed by the consumer. For instance, with my first pair of progressives I could barely see anything at a distance and when I looked down it was a complete blur. I was given the usual caveats about taking time to adjust to my first pair, looking where I wanted to see, etc., etc. I never did adjust, unfortunately. I returned them, instead, and sought advice from my local optician.

My optician was very patient and educated me well. He showed me the laser watermarks (small crosses located on either side of the progressive lens; you don't really notice them unless you look...). These are used to center and align the lens when it's cut. The marks need to be in parallel across the entire frame. Otherwise, the progressive portion will skew outward or inward and you'll see very little when you look down. Mine were both at a 45 degree angle to the frame. Hmmm... My issues made sense.

My guy ordered new lenses and cut them in his shop; I could see perfectly from day one. I've ordered all my glasses from him since and all my progressives work just fine. If you find someone who provides excellent service why not give them the repeat business? Integrity is a rare thing these days and lower cost isn't always the true bottom line. Just one opinion although I'd love to find a less expensive alternative, of course, like everyone else. Sometimes you do get what you pay for, however.

There are other potential issues, of course. As others have pointed out, you also need to make sure the pupillary distance and segment height are measured correctly. If you can see with your glasses pushed up high on your nose or lowered down to the tip, they are cut at the wrong height. If you can rotate a lens and see fine then it's likely cut at the wrong angle (check the watermarks...). If you can't see at all either the lenses are reversed or your Rx is entirely wrong. It's not rocket science, I assure you. If you give them specifics when you go back you'll likely be taken more seriously. It's nice if you can help to resolve such issues sooner versus later.

So, if there are problems please check what you can check. Go back if need be. BUT, remember it does take two weeks for your brain to generate a memory file for each new pair of glasses. I wear about a dozen pairs. The RX's are all similar but are not exact. Each is cut a bit differently, the frames sit differently, there are many lens brands represented, etc., etc.

If I wear a new pair of glasses for a FULL TWO WEEKS my brain slowly makes a reference file. When I later switch glasses it takes about 10 minutes for my brain to retrieve another file; then I'm fine. I've had glaucoma surgery and a cataract replacement and somehow my brain still retains all this information. VERY CLEVER, INDEED!

I'll report back when my Costco glasses come in. They say if Costco lenses work for you then you're in luck; life is good (even on a budget...). If not, you need to look elsewhere (and budget a bit more...). Costco only has the one polycarbonate progressive lens, after all, but perhaps their new Free Form HD manufacturing process kicks butt and will rival my $700 Seiko Superiors. Hard to know. Thanks,again, to all who have shared. It is immensely useful to hear about other's experiences especially when our good vision is at stake.

Postby plwyman » Thu Dec 28, 2017 4:43 am

I picked up my polycarbonate progressives and driving progressives yesterday from Costco. Both pairs were totally fine, prescription-wise, right out of the box. The sunglass lenses were cut a bit big and I had a hard time getting them out of the frame in order to polish it. I sanded down the edges a tad and they are now far easier to insert.

I have worn progressives for 15 years now so perhaps I adjust quickly to a new pair. These are just fine, however, with no break in period. If I force myself to look peripherally they clearly do have some distortion at the edges. I don't notice this unless I go looking for it, however. The woman at the counter said about 5% of people find the distortions disturbing and they are fine giving them refunds. I would also say their AR coating is comparable to all my other glasses.

The fact that Costco only offers polycarbonate progressives, don't do rimless frames of any kind, and have their own manufacturing plant makes this level of quality possible at this super low price point. I'm thoroughly impressed and wasn't expecting to be. My $700 Seiko Superior lenses are definitely a better lens but for everyday use these are just fine. Also, the driving lenses have an excellent but modest amount of polarization and tint. I wore them all morning while driving and really appreciated the benefit.

Thanks, Costco, for figuring out how to bust through the monopoly on frames and lenses in the US. They are one of the few organizations that could pull this off, I think. Color me impressed.

Postby MiriamW » Tue Apr 10, 2018 3:59 pm

Just bought two pairs of glasses at Costco and didn't even leave the store with them. My old lenses were Varilux DRX New Comfort and defnitely had a wider range. My current glasses are a shambles, falling apart daily, lens coatings coming off, even some glue on them. They were still clearer around the periphery than the costco lenses. So, these were high index - I have a strong prescription with an astigmatism. The second pair was for the computer and they weren't very sharp. BTW, there was virtually no change between my new and old RX.
They recommended I get used to them, I don't want to get used to a narrower range of focus. It was so liberating when I got my current pair after some Zenni glasses.
When I asked what kind of lenses they use (Novato, CA) all I could get out of them was standard Varilux - whatever that means.

Postby george » Tue Apr 10, 2018 10:57 pm


Thank you for the helpful information for Canadian Costco members. I'm sad to hear that the Costco lenses were not up to the same standards as the Varilux DRx New Comfort you already have. It is important for people to understand that the Canadian Costco stores seem to use different progressive lenses than in the US, so unfortunately, we can't be sure that the US Progressive lenses are inferior to the Varilux DRx New Comfort.

Based on the Costco Canada Optical website (as of 4/10/18), it appears they are now offering two progressive lenses in Canada. They have the Accolade Freedom 3.0 HD progressive lens, and the Kirkland Signature HD progressive lens.

I'm curious which of those lenses you were given, if either. Too bad they couldn't give you a clearer answer, and also too bad that you found the lenses to be inferior to what you already had.

If I can find any more details about the specific progressives offered in Canada, I'll add the information to this thread.
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Postby sleepy1950 » Wed Apr 11, 2018 11:16 pm

Thanks to all for their posts. I live in Canada. My optometrist recently recommended glasses with progressive lenses. I was then quoted $1050 for a pair with the highest quality Zeiss lenses they sell. I'm willing to pay for quality, but that seemed excessive. I have always got my glasses from Costco and have generally been satisfied, but have never purchased progressives. As others have commented, it is difficult to make a decision on glasses without the benefit of trying them. Adding to the difficulty is the range of experiences people report regarding their Costco progressives. Some love them; some hate them. To make matters worse, it appears Costco Canada lenses are different than Costco US. Here is a link to a 2017 Costco article on Costco Canada lenses I haven't seen referenced in previous posts: ... pg=65#pg65

It refers to the two HD progressive lenses Costco Canada carries - the Accolade Freedom 3.0 and the Kirkland Signature, but does not discuss the differences between them. The article seems to mainly focus on the Kirkland, which is made by Costco at its lab in Laval, Que. I'm going to go into Costco on the weekend and see what I can learn about the two lenses.

A question - I'm hoping progressives will work as an all around pair of glasses for driving, reading a book, reading the monitors on my desk (around eye height), golfing. Am I asking too muchI? Is it likely I will also need a pair of "computer glasses" for the office?

Postby george » Thu Apr 12, 2018 6:46 am

As to the question of whether your progressive lenses can be an all around solution, I'd say that depends. For me, I'm able to wear my progressive lenses for everything. When I had cheap Zenni progressives, I had a lot of trouble wearing those for computer use. With the Costco progressives (united stated), I've been very pleased with just using one pair. At first I wasn't sure so I also bought a pair of computer lenses. I wound up never using them because I was able to adjust to the general progressive lens.

I think it really depends on how strong your prescription is and also there are some people who adjust more easily than others.

As for golfing - it definitely takes some adjusting, but I've been able to play using the general progressive glasses. I have never really researched what type of glasses are recommended for serious golfers, but perhaps I shkuld.
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Postby sleepy1950 » Thu Apr 12, 2018 8:25 pm

Thank you, very helpful. I'll probably go with the Kirkland progressive lenses to start and add a pair of computer glasses if I'm having trouble at my desk. I found a nice pair of frames at Costco that come with clip-on sunglasses. Seems like a cost-effective way of adding prescription sunglasses. Anyone know of any downside? Re golf, I've actually found that computer glasses work fine on the golf course - no more trouble than I usually have! However, as I said previously, I'm hoping the progressives will work for me on the golf course as well, so I can wear one pair for everything. I'll provide an update post once I get my glasses.

Postby Adgonz » Wed May 30, 2018 2:11 am

Miriam, Did you get your glasses from a Costco in Novato California? (Or Canada as George was saying?)

Postby Bella615 » Wed Jan 16, 2019 7:20 pm

What a wonderful thread! I had always gone to Henry Ford Optimeyes and gotten the best lenses they offer it is one of the verilux lenses but I am not sure which one. I did research it extensively on my last pair but the details are foggy now. At the same time I did go to Costco and their Optometrist told me flat out that if I was used to the Verilux lenses (I knew the name at that time) that I would not like their HD lenses. He gave me a very extensive explanation as to why and I ended up buying my frames from Costco and getting the lenses put in at Optimeyes.

At that same time I had called Lenscrafters who told me that Optimeyes has some special arrangement with Verilux that was the deepest discount out there and that their Verilux (Lenscrafters) would be much more expensive. The lady used to work at both places and was very helpful and she was right I priced them out at both places and saw a huge price difference.

Now I need a new pair and I have moved and wanted to find a new exam place as I have never felt my RX was right, I still struggle with anything up close. In researching a new place to go for the exam I came across this thread from a review on the Clarify Exam at Lens Crafters. I want to go there but if the same is true as a few years ago that HD lenses would be so much more money I am not sure if I should do that. Does anyone know anything about that topic?

Also in reading this thread it makes me want to give the Costco HD progressive lenses a try!

Postby mhonig34685 » Thu Jan 17, 2019 3:45 pm

I have always used the Veralux progressive lens without issue. A few months ago I got a minor prescription change and instead went to Costco in Clearwater, Floria, and purchase frames and their best progressive lens. With them, I cannot use them with my 27" iMac computer. When I complained, the optician told me I should get separate glasses for use with my computer. I have had to revert to my old Veralux glasses for everyday use. This is the only disappointing experience I have had with Costco.

Postby gyeltsen » Fri Aug 23, 2019 6:41 pm

george wrote:Miriam,

Thank you for the helpful information for Canadian Costco members. I'm sad to hear that the Costco lenses were not up to the same standards as the Varilux DRx New Comfort you already have. It is important for people to understand that the Canadian Costco stores seem to use different progressive lenses than in the US, so unfortunately, we can't be sure that the US Progressive lenses are inferior to the Varilux DRx New Comfort.

Based on the Costco Canada Optical website (as of 4/10/18), it appears they are now offering two progressive lenses in Canada. They have the Accolade Freedom 3.0 HD progressive lens, and the Kirkland Signature HD progressive lens.

I'm curious which of those lenses you were given, if either. Too bad they couldn't give you a clearer answer, and also too bad that you found the lenses to be inferior to what you already had.

If I can find any more details about the specific progressives offered in Canada, I'll add the information to this thread.

George, I'm a bit confused here. Miriam W quoted her experience at the Novato, California Costco, so why mention Canada? Do you know what quality lenses are used t the Novato California costco?

Postby george » Wed Sep 18, 2019 5:20 pm


You are exactly correct. I mistakenly thought CA was referring to Canada, not California. I should have done a search for the specific city and seen that it was a city in California. That does change things quite a bit, as in California, the lenses would have been the Kirkland Signature HD Progressive lenses.

This information gives some very useful feedback as to the comparison of the Kirkland Progressive lenses with Varilux DRx New Comfort. At least for MIriam, the Costco lenses were inferior. I will go back and correct my earlier responses when I have some time. I will leave the quote in your post so people can follow the conversation here.

Thank you for pointing out my mistake!
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Postby DRose » Fri Oct 23, 2020 10:40 pm

I just ordered my first glasses. I am nearsighted with astigmatism again after an accident caused retinal detachment and I had to get a Vitrectomy. I was nearsighted as child (-2 and -4 Diopters with astigmatism) and got LASIK in my mid-twenties.One time LASIK gave me 20/20 vision for 30 years until I got hit in my eyes with a car door causing a slight tear in the retina in one eye and a severe detachment in the other. One year after the Vitrectomy and after making sure all is healed out I got an eye exam and now I got -0.25 Diopter in one eye and -1 Diopter in the other with astigmatism again. I went to COSTCO and after a few HickUp's with the Prescription and the resulting wrong lenses ( the Doc forgot to write down the ADD) I just ordered now Progressives. I looked high and low for Information on them and feel they are the right choice. What I found on the COSTCO brand and best explained on what exactly they are I found on PAGE 2 (!) of the following link. Under Progressives and Tech watch.

Tech Watch
Commonly referred to as free-from or HD progressive lenses, this new optimized lens design offers the latest
in progressive lens technology and is ideal for people with specific visual needs. This includes those who are
new to progressives and needing them for the first time. Also suitable for those motivated to wear progressive
lenses, but have had issues adapting to them in the past, as well as current progressive wearers interested in
the latest technology.
With free-form lenses the fabrication of the lenses from the wearer’s eyeglass prescription is optimized with
computer-controlled surfacing equipment that is much more precise than conventional tools. The result is
that high-definition digital progressive lenses may provide sharper image quality, better peripheral vision
and improved contrast sensitivity. This digitally enhanced technology is available in multiple lens materials
and brand names. When combined with a premium anti-reflective coating these lenses offer the best visual
experience for the progressive lens wearer. These lenses are featured as options within the Premium and Ultra
Progressives Lens categories within the ... Formulary

I hope this will help to verify that the COSTCO brand is not the super duper and super expensive Verilux brand but also a quite great quality for a low price. The rest is being lucky if your brain adjusts, your prescription and what exactly your lifestyle is...just my opinion.

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