What's The Difference Between Bifocals And Progressive Lenses?

There comes a time in the life of many glasses wearers when they're given a choice between bifocal or progressive lenses. Knowing what these types of lenses are, and how they differ from each other, can help you decide which type of lens is right for you. 

Q: What are bifocals?

A: Bifocals are lenses that correct vision in two distinct fields: up close and at a distance. In a way, bifocals are like two types of lenses contained in one piece. A distinct line between the two lenses indicates to the wearer which part of the lens corrects which type of vision.

Q: Why do some patients need bifocal lenses?

A: Bifocals often become necessary when patients age. This happens because the muscles in their eyes begin to weaken and they begin to lose their ability to focus on objects at different distances from their face. 

Q: What are progressive lenses?

A: Progressive lenses work like bifocals, but the line between the two lenses is invisible. Progressive lenses are also called no-line bifocals.

Q: Are there advantages to progressive lenses over bifocals?

A: Some people prefer progressive lenses because they like knowing that no one can tell they're wearing bifocals. In addition, the lack of a line may make it easier to transition between distance and up-close viewing.

Q: Is it difficult to adjust to bifocals?

A: The key to wearing bifocals is learning how to tilt your head and angle your eyes for the various types of viewing. For example, many people who wear bifocals have trouble looking at the ground, because they must tilt their head while doing it. The adjustment period for bifocals can take a couple of days or a couple of weeks. It depends entirely on the patient. 

Q: Is it any easier to wear progressive lenses?

A: The natural "no-line" quality of progressive lenses makes it easier to look all around the visual field without experiencing the "image jump" that happens when looking between two lenses in bifocals. However, progressive lenses have a tendency to produce peripheral blur, which can leave wearers feeling a little disoriented—especially at first. The best way to eliminate this problem is to move your head to look directly at objects, rather than turning your eyes. 

For more information about the differences between the two types of glasses, speak with your optometrist. He or she will be able to answer your questions and help you decide which type of glasses will be right for your situation. For more information, contact a professional like those at Dixie Ophthalmic Specialists at Zion Eye Institute.