Costco HD Progressive Lens vs Varilux Comfort Series

by Allen
(Ashburn, VA, USA)

Q: If given a choice between selecting between Costco HD Progressive Lens versus Varilux Comfort Series, which will you recommend.(Ignoring the prices).
Thanks very much.


A: Hello Allen

I must say I do not have a lot of experience with the Costco lenses, not as much as with the Varilux at least. But because I get a lot of questions about Costco, I did some research, and here it is....

The lenses industry is very vast, and lately a lot of companies have produced new and improved versions of progressive lenses, and I think there are no bad lenses.
For me, one way to make a difference between them is based on past experiences I had with these companies products and the peoples feedback.

For example, I have a long experience with Essilor (the Varilux producer) and maybe you will consider I'm not very objective talking about them. But I have to say that rarely I had unhappy clients, and the unhappy ones were typically unfortunate people....

The Varilux comfort lens is an excellent one, with a large clear vision zone, with very good quality coatings and a large number of options available like:

- High index
- Photochromatic
- Big diopters

I know that my clients who had Varilux before asked for them again.

About the Costco HD Progressive lenses, I think they are good also, but I cannot put them in the same category. I heard about pleased clients but also unhappy ones.
There are very different opinions, but in the end, I think is about the price and the Costco lenses are cheaper.

You said the price does not matter, so we put this aside, and my vote goes to Varilux for the tradition and my personal experience.

Hope this helps,

Comments for Costco HD Progressive Lens vs Varilux Comfort Series

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Mar 14, 2016
Varilux vs other brands
by: Andy

The Varilux name is a complete hype. It's completely not needed , I have used many different brands , the skill of the optician along with an accurate Rx is what determines the results.

I have recently purchased a digital (HD) Varilux brand lenses , and they have been the most difficult to use than any of all the other brands I have used. In many cases I did find that the Big box stores have many more issues with their lens quality resulting and difficult adjustment to the lenses.

I will stick with paying more and getting the comfortable for from the local optician I use.

Apr 09, 2017
Love my Varilux
by: Karen

When I first got bifocals, over 20 years ago, I eent with Varilux. Only once did I purchase elsewhere. Walmarts Vision tech pointed out the minimal difference in width at the widest part. I found I was turning my head more to the side when working on the computer and referencing paperwork. It was neccessary to turn my head further in order to be looking more through the bifocal center area than the outside edge. The next pair of glases were Varilux. What a difference. That fraction of an inch on the lens becomes critically different when the focus area is 11-18 inches away.
Now I find that my vision store no longer sells Verilux. I will be checking around on pricing for options.

Jun 03, 2017
Progressives are too often a shot in the dark
by: Anonymous

Progressive lenses are as good as the optician is skilled. It's not just the fitting and adjustments, it's the near impossible job of confirming the prescription is correctly reprodoced by the surfacing lab. On top pf this headache, few to none of us dispensers have the skill or the costly equipment needed to read the thru power of digital leneses to define the actual size of the areas of distance, intermediat and near that are within tolerance.

Jan 12, 2018
Varilux vs Costco Progressives
by: bill

I'm currently using both types of lenses.
My Costco sunglasses are progressives using polycarbonate lenses. I believe the price was $189 or thereabouts.

When I got a new prescription I put them in my regular rimless eyeglasses. (Costco will not fill a prescription in rimless eyeglasses.) The optician recommended Varilux progressives, Trivex lenses with a Crizal coating, Transitions (with a pink tint to help night driving). The cost was about $450.

The Trivex lens is extremely clear, much more vivid than polycarbonate. The Varilux progressives make smooth focus going from near to distance. Crizal is anti-glare.

It's a matter of cost and use. The Costco lenses are fine. The cost is very good.
The Varilux, Trivex, Crizal, Transitions combination are on a different level (as is the price). For me it's difficult to go back once I've experienced the clear vision that is really, really clear.

In another week or so, I'll replace my Costco sunglasses with sunglasses using Varilux and Trivex lenses. I probably wouldn't if I hadn't received a new prescription. The difference is slight, but I'll upgrade anyway so as not to confuse my eyes and brain with switching from lenses with one Rx to another.

Hope this was useful, and not confusing.

Jan 24, 2018
Various Comfort Lenses
by: Anonymous

All of you comments are helpful. However, keep in mind, we all experience different visual impairments. Those of us with more serious visual defects have had best results with Varilux lenses. Especially a degenerative eye condition, this is a good as it gets! We would always opt for the Varilux, it makes all the difference. That said, barring major visual defects, opt for the cost effective, things change, and save up for the Varilux., they truly make a difference! Hope this helps.

Feb 09, 2018
Varilux is Very hard to beat
by: Randall

I owned several pairs of glasses that have been Varilux and they were also Progressive lenses and for close work or reading. When I retired I thought I would save some money, I researched the Costco glasses and they had good reviews so I went with them, this was in 2014. When reading and driving going out in the sun with the auto darkening was just as good as as a $400.00 pair, until I went to back up a trailer, WOW I Couldn’t See! I had to take them off to back up the trailer. I was very disappointed and spoke to Costco about but they couldn’t and wouldn’t do anything to help me.
It’s now Feb 2018 and Costco says they have made HUGE changes in the last couple years and digital improvements, I was curious if anyone has the latest Costco Progressive lenses, but I will most likely go with varilux or something similar, if there is anything.

Feb 10, 2018
Costco HD vs Varilux
by: Anonymous

I have a pair of 3-4 year old varilux progressives . Just bought progressives from Costco (new rx) frames were $59 and lenses were $160. Thank you Costco for allowing us visually impaired to not have to charge $800 in order to see...
My varilux lenses have less distortion when looking side to side. With the Costco glasses I have to turn my head more which makes driving and everything more challenging & fatiguing.
IF price didn’t matter I’d get varilux again.

Mar 19, 2018
Disappointed with Costco lenses
by: Paula

I love my progressive lenses but hated the price. When choosing a new pair of glasses I tried Costco, much cheaper and I could get two for the price of one of my previous brand.
It’s been over a week and I hate them. The Costco progressives require me to move my head way too much just to view normal range. I’m unhappy and hoping to return them today and go order my previous brand.

Apr 15, 2018
Returning Funhouse Mirror
by: VeryDisappointed

I thought I'd try for the first time progressive lenses. The costco rep talked me into getting it in the sun glasses too. When getting fitted I was told it would take 2 weeks to get used to them. Seriously? I wore them out of the store and felt like I was drunk with the continual vision sharpness changes and distortions. When you look around it distorts your vision like a funhouse mirror. In driving with the sun glasses there is a very narrow field of vision the is clear at distance. You can't glance down at dash you need to nod your head down. side view mirrors are blurry unless you turn your head and look down taking your head off the road. I can't turn head enough to see a clear blind spot. It's dangerous driving. I have had a very unpleasant experience with them and find it hard to believe that anyone like the tunnel vision and distortion the lens provides.

Jun 02, 2018
by: Anonymous

I purchased the Costco brand and have regretted it. Loved my Varilux and will be getting them again.

Jun 30, 2018
Unhappy with Costco's lenses
by: Nancy

I wanted to believe that Costco had made a cheaper mousetrap that was just as good as the high-end product. Wanting to save some money, I tried their branded progressive lenses. I've hated them. First, there was a different, often unskilled optician at every visit (I swear they didn't place the location of the progressive part correctly), and they were utterly clueless about adjustments -- I had to show/tell them what to do. Then came funhouse-mirror syndrome, which my brain and head eventually adjusted to. Most annoying, the lenses were near-impossible to clean. Even when you blot, rather than rub, them dry, smudges are left. Finally, the nonreflective coating started coming off -- within a year! For computer work or editing paper, I started simply taking my glasses off. Without a doubt, Costco's are the worst lenses I've ever worn. Yesterday I returned to my former, accurate, private optician with new eyeglass frames I bought online for little. I'm happily paying $409 for lenses because the quality of my vision is too important to skimp.

Oct 24, 2018
Costco lenses kind of ok
by: Frank

I had Costco lenses for a number of years when I was younger and was basically satisfied. As my prescription became stronger the more disappointed I was with Costco lenses. I finally went to an independent optician and the improvement in my case with the higher quality and priced lens was immediately noticeable. Both products seem to have their place. Chevy vs Cadillac, you get what you pay for, etc.

Oct 29, 2018
100% happy with Costco progressives
by: Jeff

I've been a user of progressive lenses for 20 years. Until recently, I've purchased my glasses from a local optician who did an excellent job and provided Varilux progressives. The cost was very high, although I had some insurance coverage and accepted the price. Recently, with no insurance coverage and having read favorable reviews in Consumer Reports, I decided to try Costco's optical shop.

After having 3 pair of progressive lenses filled through Costco, I am completely satisfied. I've had no problems switching between Varilux and Costco glasses, and find the Costco ones to be excellent. I haven't been using Costco frames as I've been buying frames online (usually through eBay) at a fraction of the cost of high-end optical shops, and using Costco to provide the lenses. This has saved me more than 50% of the cost of my previous glass purchases with total satisfaction. I think the current price of progressive eyeglasses and name-brand frames is completely unjustified.

Dec 06, 2018
Costco progressive/transitional lenses
by: Bern

2 years ago I decided to get my new glasses at Costco. I purchased a pair of knock off Ray bans with progressive/transitional lenses. Great price and they were a great price and a great fit. After 1 year the transitional started not going clear like the ones I had had previously from lens crafters. So I went back to Costco and asked for new lenses.

On a good note their frames did not cloud or look bad like my Ray bans after a year, they held up very well.

Needless to say I won't be buying lenses at Costco any time soon

Dec 08, 2018
Varilux vs other progressives
by: Michelina

Varilus is a patented lens and is definitely superior to other progressive lens, per a very knowledgeable Costco clerk who knew she'd lose a sale by disclosing this to me. An even greater downside to them than their very steep price is that once you use a varilux lens, it's almost impossible for your eyes to again become accustomed to other lenses. I found this out when I went to Costco to replace a pair of glasses I had that had a varilux lens. Costco worked with me on multiple pairs of glasses, unsuccessfully - I just could not get used to them, felt dizzy, even, and like a bobblehead. Ultimately, a very experienced Costco clerk studied my current glasses and identified and explained that they were varilux, how it differs, etc. This was all even though she knew she would lose a sale b/c of it (offered to refund glasses as well as the cost of the Costco membership). Costco does not have a license to sell varilux lenses (due to cost). Varilux = hi- end dr. offices, although possibly BJs sells them. So unless you know you can continue to afford varilux lenses (now around $1K), don't ever get them, as there is no going back. This should have been explained to me, but it was not. Won't be going back to that dr. again.

Jan 05, 2019
Costco Prgressives vs Varilux Comfort Enhanced
by: Anonymous

I have always had Varilux Comfort progressives in CR-39 material. I just got a new prescription and tried the Costco HD progressives. Our Costco does not offer CR-39 in a progressive. Only polycarbonate or high index plastic, so I got the high index plastic. The Costco lenses were easy to get used to, but I had a lot of color fringing especially out doors with road signs and anything with horizontal lines. This was due to the low Abbe value of high index plastic (polycarbonate is even lower). I also have some astigmatism which might contribute to the color fringing only on horizontal things.

I just couldn't tolerate the color fringing. Costco was very understanding and returned my money, although they said they had never seen this problem before.

So I went back to Varilux Comfort Enhanced lenses in CR-39 again. It cost me 3 times as much, but now I have zero color fringing. So comparing Varilux to Costco with the exact same prescription, I can say I liked the Costco lenses better (except for the material they were made out of). The reading area was wider as well as the corridor, and the distance too, actually. The Varilux distance has a small sweet spot, and a large area above that and to the high corners that is pretty good but not perfect. The Costco distance is excellent above and to the high corners.

If Costco would ever get CR-39 for their progressives, I'd switch back in a heartbeat! If you are already in a progressive polycarbonate or high index plastic and aren't having problems with color fringing, then don't be afraid of Costco lenses. They are a top notch design.

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