Which lens is the best for each generation? 2 sage O.D.s share their strategies for choosing designs + treatments for all, from millennials to boomers

Having choices is good. Choosing the right lens out of the plethora of options can be challenging.

Recommending the best lens for patients requires information—on their lifestyle and specific visual needs, and on the features of specific lens designs and treatments that best speak to those needs. And, as any ECP who sees patients of a variety of ages each day can attest, their visual needs can vary greatly.

Why should ECPs recognize that one lens design doesn’t fit all ages?

“Well, to put it simply: No two patients are alike,” says Amanda Rights, O.D., of Blue Ridge Vision in Boone, NC. “What works for one patient might not work for another. It’s important to listen to the patient’s individual needs and customize your lens design and treatment recommendations accordingly.”

Here, we ask Dr. Rights and Palmer Lee, O.D., of EYEcenter Optometric in California what they typically prescribe for each generation—and why.


According to a study commissioned by Transitions Optical,
36% of patients spend 6-15 minutes on their lens discussion/decision
14% make their decision in under 5 minutes

The Doc

Blue Ridge Vision,
Boone, NC


Most-Prescribed Lens: Single vision followed by Eyezen for accommodative relief to alleviate eye strain caused by digital device use or studying.

Lens Treatments Encouraged: For ALL generations, I recommend UV, AR, and blue light protection. I also suggest photochromics like Transitions for extra protection against harmful UV and blue light, both indoors and out.

Discussion Points: Millennials are very tech-savvy and spend a lot of time in front of screens, so I ask if they experience symptoms of digital eye strain or computer vision syndrome while using digital devices for extended periods of time.


Most-Prescribed Lens: Varilux S Design progressive lens, due to its wider corridor and reduced peripheral distortion.

Discussion Points: I ask if they experience symptoms of digital eye strain or computer vision syndrome while using their digital devices for extended periods of time. I’m also asking about near-vision complaints to identify emerging and established presbyopes.


Most-Prescribed Lens: Varilux S Design progressive lens. Again, due to its wider corridor and reduced peripheral distortion.

Discussion Points: I ask about near-vision complaints, difficulty partaking in their hobbies, or problems driving at night due to glare.

BEST Advice:

“I spend more time discussing lens designs with GenX patients, due to the development (or progression) of presbyopia. To a new presbyope, it is important to explain the physiological reason behind their near vision changes and how we can address their visual needs. A progressive lens design is a big change from a single-vision lens design; thus, extra time is needed to explain the reason for, and proper use of.”


MILLENNIALS: 20s to early 30s

GEN X: late 30s to early 50s

BABY BOOMERS: mid-50s to early 70s

The Doc

EYEcenter Optometric,
4 locations around Sacramento


Most-Prescribed Lens: Single vision. The lens material would be more determined by the patient’s prescription, choosing between polycarbonate, high index, or Trivex.

Lens Treatments Encouraged: Always include an AR coating. TechShield Blue would be used on computer glasses. SunSync photochromics are also helpful for this age range.

Discussion Points: Knowing computer use time as well as sports activity is important to ensure safety and proper protection.


Most-Prescribed Lens: This group is now moving into lenses that address near and far vision. I like to prescribe progressive lenses, like Unity Via Elite, to give them the largest zones, and the smoothest transitions.

Lens Treatments Encouraged: AR, TechShield Blue, and photochromics like SunSync for similar reasons as millennials.

Discussion Points: For this group we always talk about computer lenses and outdoor sunwear.


Most-Prescribed Lens: We always opt first for digital progressive lenses like Unity Via Elite, as the patients generally have a fairly high add and will need as large a zone for reading and distance as possible. Also, a near variable lens for computer and reading is beneficial.

Lens Treatments Encouraged: AR coating is imperative. Plus, I encourage a blue light filter on their near-variable lenses and good progressive sunglasses.

Discussion Points: You always want to look at computer time, but I feel elimination of glare as patients drive is of the utmost importance.

BEST Advice:

“Gen X and the baby boomers need more time. Their visual needs require multiple glasses, but they are looking for one pair of glasses to do everything as it had when they were younger. They do not understand the changes within their own visual system that make it impossible for the one pair of glasses to do everything they want and need them to do.”

Keep Learning

Heidi Pham-Murphy, O.D., has more advice and recommendations on lenses for all ages. Read it all in our web exclusive here: