Do I Need Bifocals or Progressive Lenses?

By on December 30, 2020

Getting new glasses is an opportunity to enter a world of clearer vision and easier reading and driving. But to get the most of your new pair of lenses, you have to make sure you don’t wind up with a general-use pair that isn’t suited for your needs. There are many types of corrective lenses, and knowing your symptoms and the lenses that can best address them before you head into an eye appointment will give you a leg up.

Your optometrist will be able to help you identify the right lenses for you, but it’s useful to have a basic understanding of lens options before heading to your appointment. There are four primary types of glasses, each designed to address unique symptoms. 

Understanding Glasses Lens Types

Single-vision lenses are the most common type of glasses, as they address general nearsightedness or farsightedness. They’re only built to correct vision from a single distance, so they won’t help someone who has both conditions. 

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Bifocal lenses help those who have both nearsightedness and farsightedness. With a panel built to correct distance vision at the top of the lens and a panel for close-up vision correction at the bottom, they’re often used both as reading glasses and as standard prescription eyeglasses without the need to switch glasses. 

Progressive lenses take the benefits of bifocals and supercharge them with three prescriptions in a single pair. They allow you to focus on a book like you would with reading glasses, use them as standard glasses, and give you the benefits of distance glasses while driving. Also called multifocal lenses, they’re smoother and don’t have the line common in bifocals. 

Lastly, task-oriented lenses are usually single-focus lenses designed for a specific job you spend a lot of time on. These are custom-made and based on the exact distance you need, such as the position of your computer. Once you know the distance from your eyes to the computer, you can find a pair of lenses designed perfectly for your needs. 

Do I Need Specialized Lenses?

The first indication that you need specialized lenses is having trouble focusing your vision in more than one type of situation. 

If your vision is causing you trouble up-close or at a distance, single-focus lenses may work just fine. If you experience both simultaneously or have trouble switching from one to another, you may have a condition called presbyopia. Presbyopia makes it harder to focus on small print or close objects and decreases vision in darker environments. 

If the inability to shift between short-range and long-range vision is causing difficulties at work or in everyday life, it may be time to visit your optometrist for a vision check and a new prescription. 

The good news is, getting a new pair of lenses is easier than ever. You’ll have the option to purchase your lenses right there at their office, though many glasses wearers prefer to shop online, so they have a wider selection. If you take the online route, double-check that the seller offers modern bifocals and progressive lenses, like

While these advanced lenses are more expensive than single-vision lenses, those dealing with vision challenges at multiple distances often find them life-changing and need them to prevent further damage to their eyes.  

Choosing Between Bifocal and Progressive Lenses

So which is right for you, bifocals or progressive lenses? Bifocals have been around longer and are lower-cost, but are best used by those who have decent standard-length vision. 

They’ll improve your vision for distances and close-range, but you’ll have to rely on your natural eyesight or a separate pair of standard glasses seeing clearly in this range. While bifocals are usually associated with a line between the lenses that can be distracting, many pairs today have made that line almost invisible. 

Progressive lenses are an all-in-one option that is ideal for someone who needs vision assistance at three distances. These premium glasses are designed without a line in the middle, setting them apart from bifocal lenses. 

People who frequently need to shift between lines of sight throughout the day tend to prefer progressive lenses. While they tend to cost more than bifocal lenses, they’re versatile and come in many types for different needs like ground-view for athletes and computer lenses for online workers.

Better Vision Is a Visit Away

If your single-vision lenses aren’t providing the help you need, it may be time to consider bifocal or progressive lenses. The science of glasses is advancing every day, and you’ll be amazed by how much clearer you see with a new pair. The first step is making an appointment with your eye doctor to determine which of these versatile lenses is the best fit for your vision needs.

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Do I Need Bifocals or Progressive Lenses?