Difference Between Bifocals and Progressive Lenses

The older you get, the more your vision changes. Many people find that, as they age, they have difficulties seeing both far and near. This presents a problem as far as prescriptive eyewear. If the optometrist corrects for near vision, then you won’t be able to see items in the distance. If the optometrist corrects for far vision, then you won’t be able to see to read or do other close-up tasks. This is where bifocal lenses come in. Bifocal lenses have both near and far vision correction in a single lens. However, you also have the option to get progressive lenses, which also offer both near and far vision correction. So what’s the difference between bifocals and progressive lenses?

What Are Bifocals?

Bifocal lenses are divided into two different areas on the lens. In the past, you could clearly see the demarcation between the two areas with a visible line on the lens. In fact, you can still get bifocal lenses that have that line. Now, though, bifocal lenses without the line are available. These are called invisible bifocals. The idea behind bifocals is that you look straight ahead to see objects in the distance and look down to see items that are close to you. So in each instance, you are looking through the two different parts of the lens. This enables a person to have both near and far vision correction in one pair of eyeglasses.

What are Progressive Lenses?

To understand what progressive lenses are, think of them as multifocal lenses. Instead of having just two different regions on each lens, there are actually three areas with different vision correction. The three areas are near distance, far distance, and middle distance. The different areas on progressive lenses are invisible because there is no line of demarcation. However, if you could see how the lens is divided, it would resemble an hourglass.

Both bifocals and progressive lenses offer you the ability to see both near and far and one pair of eyeglasses. Bifocals and progressive lenses will both require you to become accustomed to the lenses. Once you do though, you will appreciate not having to switch between regular eyeglasses and reading glasses. Speak to your eye doctor about whether you are better suited for bifocals or progressive lenses.


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