If you’ve been told that you need either bifocal or progressive lenses, and you aren’t sure which one to choose, have no fear. This is a question that we hear quite often, and is important for choosing your next pair of glasses. While both lenses will help to correct your vision, many wearers find that they prefer to use either one or the other. If you’d like to know the difference between bifocal and progressive reading glasses, read our handy guide below.
Bifocals & Progressives: The Differences
Both bifocals and progressive lenses correct your vision at varying distances. Bifocals focus on two areas of vision – near and far – and these two areas are clearly divided across the lens. The upper portion of the lens is used for viewing objects at a distance, while the lower area is used for reading or viewing things closer at hand. The line between these two areas is usually small (a few millimeters), but will still be noticeable to both you and others.
Progressive lenses also provide vision correction at varying distances, but it does so without a clear line between the areas of vision. This results in three areas of vision correction that move gradually from one into the next. If you work on a computer all day, these lenses have a distinct advantage, as the intermediate area of vision is excellent for this purpose.
The benefits of each
Bifocal lenses are excellent for people who have discovered that they need reading glasses, but who don’t have any trouble viewing objects in the intermediate distance. They’re also great for people who aren’t spending a lot of time looking at a computer screen all day.
If you do spend a lot of time on your computer, or if you spend a lot of time driving, you may want to opt for progressive lenses. Because the separation between the visual areas is more gradual, these lenses tend to have a more natural feel to them when viewing the world. If the idea of the line of separation across the lens that appears on bifocals bothers you, opting for progressive lenses alleviates this issue.
Vision problems & solutions
As stated above, both lens types help to correct your vision at various distances. While bifocals only address two distinct areas, progressive lenses can correct your entire range of vision. If you’ve been told that you need trifocals, progressive lenses are what you’ll likely be receiving. If you’ve begun to find it difficult to see the words on your computer screen without additional assistance, progressive lenses can help this as well. By contrast, bifocals are usually used in place of having to have a separate pair of reading glasses.
Things to remember
Each type of lens is designed to correct specific issues with your vision, but there is some overlap between them. Today, many people are opting for progressive lenses because they find the horizontal line across the vision that occurs on bifocals to be distracting. Others, however, prefer this line, as they can more quickly adjust their gaze between the area of the lens they need to use. You may want to try both types of lenses to see which type is best suited to your needs – your optometrist will have examples that you can try in their office to give you some idea of what each type of lens will be like when you are wearing it.
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