Progressive Vs. Bifocal Lenses

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 03/24/2021 - 09:46
Senior man struggling to read documents with current glasses or lenses

As we get older, our focusing system gets weaker and we find ourselves holding our phones, menus, and reading material out further. This process is known as presbyopia and usually occurs around the age of 40. Some will try to prolong the need for reading glasses as long as possible, but there is no known way to reverse it. Instead of suffering through awkward reading distances, eye strain, eye fatigue, and even headaches, call and schedule an appointment with your eye doctor to discuss your options for near prescriptions, and be on your way to visual comfort.

There are several types of near lens designs you can pick from, like single-vision reading glasses, trifocals, computer multifocal, progressives, and bifocals. However, the two most commonly used are progressives and bifocals both of which have their advantages and disadvantages.


Bifocal glasses have a distinct line that separates distance and near. Because of the distinct line, it is easier to find distance and near portion with less distortion. This also allows for a wider distance and near the viewing portion.  However, the line can be a turn-off to some people due to the aesthetic appeal. Also, another disadvantage of a bifocal lens is that there is no computer-distance portion so when working at a computer can cause some eye strain and fatigue.


Progressives lenses do not have a line, so they are discrete in design. They use a corridor design that has distance on the top, intermediate distance in the middle, and near on the bottom. This offers the computer distance that bifocals do not offer. A common complaint of progressive lenses is they give the viewer a fishbowl appearance—making straight lines look curved. However, not all progressives are made equally. There are new designs like the progressive Varilux X series that have an easier adaptation period and eliminate the fishbowl effect.

Both lenses give a good option to alleviate eye strain up close. But what lens option you chose ultimately depends on your near demand. Make an appointment at Gem State Eyecare and discuss your options today!