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Bifocal Lenses

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Bifocals Don’t Deserve Their Bad Reputation

If your optometrist tells you it’s time for bifocals, don’t be alarmed.

Many patients believe these prescriptions mean they’ll be wearing thick, heavy glasses, but this is just a misconception. In fact, bifocals, like glasses, come in all shapes and sizes.

Bifocals are simply glasses with lenses that have two distinct parts to help you see clearly in two different focal lengths – near and far.

The stereotypical chunky “bifocals” are usually for patients who need very strong prescriptions. Most patients’ bifocals will have average prescriptions and will look just like regular glasses with thin and light weight lenses.

If you’re making a shift from lenses with a single focal length to bifocals, you probably won’t even notice a difference in the appearance of your glasses.

Bifocal Benefits

What you will notice is that, with bifocals, your vision is more versatile. You’ll be able to see distant objects more clearly through the top portion of the lens, as well as clearly see material up close through the bottom section.

Typically, bifocals are prescribed to people over 35 to help treat presbyopia, which is a decline in the vision that’s a natural part of aging.

The bottom line is, pay no mind to the negative stereotypes surrounding bifocals. Instead, talk to your optometrist about what your own prescription would look like as glasses. You’ll likely be surprised!

More about Bifocals

Sometimes our vision fails us at two or even three distinct distances, especially as we age. Bifocal lenses—lenses with two distinct viewing areas—have traditionally been a reliable solution to such a dilemma. (A lens with three distinct viewing areas is called a trifocal.)

By distinct, we mean there are noticeable lines separating the two different fields of vision within a bifocal lens surface. A slight adjustment to the angle of the head allows wearers to choose which lens area to look through based on the distance of the object they’re trying to see.

A farsighted person who also has trouble reading may be prescribed a pair of bifocal reading glasses, for example. The upper section of the lens would correct difficulties seeing objects at distance, and the lower section would assist in reading. (Bifocal glasses date back to the days of Benjamin Franklin!)

While wearers quickly adjust to the line separating the multiple vision fields, it is a noticeable distraction within the lens itself. This line can be eliminated using a newer lens technology called progressive lenses.

Progressive lenses incorporate two, three, or more fields of vision within a single lens without noticeable lens lines. Bifocal, trifocal and progressive lenses are all considered “multi-focal” lenses—lenses that provide correction to multiple vision problems.

Special thanks to the EyeGlass Guide, for informational material that aided in the creation of this website.