Bifocals vs Trifocals vs Progressives

Many of us start to lose our vision as we age and that means glasses or contacts to help bring the world back into focus. For some, that visual assistance is not as simple as a basic lens that makes far objects more visible or near ones clearer. Thanks to optical technology, a lens can include as many as three fields, if needed. That allows the user to see areas of different distance with greater clarity, all with only one pair of glasses. You can accomplish this with bifocals and trifocals (which have both been around for a number of years), or progressives (a comparatively newer option).

Bifocals and trifocals are easy to spot because you will see a line across the lens that clearly delineates the different fields of vision. Some people don’t like this style because it further calls attention to the fact that they are wearing glasses. Progressives perform the same function, but without the line, so that makes them more appealing.

Right or wrong, bifocals and trifocals suggest that the wearer is old. Never mind the fact that such visual assistance can be required by people of almost any age: the stigma is there and some wish to avoid the evidence that they are getting on in years. Progressives offer the suggestion instead that you might just be wearing glasses as part of your overall look.

Progressives do this, while also easily matching the distance/intermediate/near fields offered by trifocals. They also eliminate what is known in the industry as the “image jump.” As your eye moves up and down a bifocal or trifocal lens, the image seems to jump as your vision adjusts from one field to the next; that is the not the case with progressives, which offer a smoother transition experience.

While earlier versions of progressive lenses required large frames to accommodate the technology, they have since been improved and will now fit in a regular sized frame. That has caused their popularity to soar, and they are the first choice for people whose vision correction needs require help with multiple fields.