What is the difference between bifocals and progressives?

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Just like graying hair and wrinkles, presbyopia is an inevitable sign that you’re getting older. Presbyopia is the normal, gradual loss of your eyes’ ability to focus on nearby objects. Most people will start to notice presbyopia in their mid-40s. But unlike your changing hair or skin, blurred vision is much harder to live with. Thankfully, there are ways to correct the condition so that you can go about your merry day.

What are progressive lenses and how are they different from bifocals?

Progressives and bifocals both help with presbyopia, according to Mei Fleming, OD.

“Bifocal lenses have that line in the middle,” explained Dr. Fleming. “Above the line your distance vision is clear. Below the line, your near vision is clear.”
This means bifocals only cover two different distances. However, with the growth of digital devices, lenses have had to evolve to cover more of a person’s field of vision.

“With progressive lenses, the power actually progresses though the lens,” said Dr. Fleming. “It goes from distance, to intermediate, to near – seamlessly. So, it gives you the full range of clear vision.”

Unlike bifocals, progressives don’t have a visible line across the lens, which can be more visually attractive. Plus, you don’t have to carry around multiple pairs of glasses (i.e. reading, computer, distance) which can really have an impact on your lifestyle.

Watch as Dr. Fleming points out other differences between progressives and bifocals in this episode of #AskAnEyeDoc.

Be sure to consult with an eye doctor to find out whether progressives or bifocals are a good fit for you; your doctor will be able to recommend the eyewear that best meets your vision and lifestyle needs. Don’t have an eye doctor? Use our Find a Doctor tool for a quick and easy way to locate your nearest VSP network provider.

Disclaimer: Information received through VSP Vision Care’s blog and social media channels are for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, medical recommendations, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. 

1 Comment

  • David Haggerty says:

    I have trifocals and am ok with them.

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