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Bifocal lenses have two distinct sections: one for near-distance vision, one for far-distance vision. Unlike progressive lenses, this division is visible, appearing as a line in the lens.
Progressive lenses gradually transition from near to far within the lens. This transition is usually very smooth, without any clear divisions between sections.
These progressives work for most people. They offer a wide field of view and are pretty easy to find. However, they do require relatively large frames to fit both prescriptions.
These lenses address the potential size problem with standard progressives. Since they’re made to fit in smaller frames, the sections are smaller for each type of vision. That means it might take a little longer to be comfortable wearing them.
These lenses are tailored to the anatomy of your eye and vision, so they typically cost the most. Premium progressives are best for people with complicated prescriptions that require more customization than standard lenses.
With standard lenses, you might need to slightly adjust the tilt of your head to see a computer screen clearly. Computer progressives eliminate that by specifically positioning the prescription for computer use.
Progressive lenses tend to be more popular since they offer that smooth transition, but bifocals also have some benefits. Most notably, bifocals usually have bigger viewing areas for reading and computer work. Since a wider section is dedicated to looking at things up close, bifocals might be a better option if your lifestyle involves a lot of reading.
Let’s go over a few pros and cons of bifocals so you can make the best choice for your eye health
Reading is easier thanks to bifocals’ dedicated near-vision section. This section is typically bigger than those available in progressive.
Bifocals have been around for a while, so finding frames you like won’t be a challenge.
Bifocal lenses might be easier to start wearing since the distinction between sections is more obvious than with progressive lenses.
Some users might find the line between sections distracting.
Progressives might be a better option if you use a computer regularly. People who wear bifocals often have to tilt their heads back to see their screen through the proper section of the lens. This position can lead to neck and shoulder pain.
Lined bifocals might take a little while to get used to, but there are a few steps you can take to adjust sooner.
Stick with it
If you had a pair of non-bifocal glasses in the past, switching back to your old pair will make your eyes start the adjustment process all over again. Stick with your new bifocals and give yourself time to adjust.
Don’t look down while walking
The bottom part of bifocals is dedicated to near-distance vision, so looking at your feet while you walk could feel disorienting. Instead, focus on looking forward as you walk so your eyes peer through the lenses’ proper sections. If you have to look down, tilt your head to look through the far-vision section or over the edge of your frames.
Adjust how you read
Bifocal lenses are useful for reading, but you might need to adjust how you hold your reading material. Hold your book about 16 inches away from your eyes and below your head. This position lets you look through the bottom portion of your lenses (a.k.a. the reading section).