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Bifocal Glasses: A Complete Guide to Buying and Wearing Bifocals

When people hear the term “bifocal glasses”, they often think of Benjamin Franklin. Although optometrists can’t agree on whether Franklin actually invented them, there’s no denying how helpful these lenses can actually be.

If your eye doctor recently recommended that you get bifocal glasses, you might be curious as to what they are and how to go about buying them. Well, you’ve come to the right place.

Continue reading and we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about bifocal (also called multifocal) glasses.

How Do Bifocal Glasses Work?

As the name implies, bifocal glasses utilize two types of lenses. These two lenses are connected together in one lens. They’re often used to treat a condition known as presbyopia, which is when people have difficulty changing focus between distant and near objects.

Usually, the top half of the lens is used for seeing things that are far away. This is especially useful for walking or driving. 

The bottom half takes up a smaller part of the lens and it’s used for reading and seeing objects that are close.

With these two lenses right next to each other, users can easily shift their eyes between two prescriptions. 

For patients with more severe vision issues, they may be recommended by their eye doctors to get trifocal glasses.

Photochromic and Anti-Reflective Bifocals

In order to achieve the best appearance, comfort, and vision when wearing your bifocals, you should ask your eye doctor about AR (anti-reflective) coating.

AR doesn’t just get rid of reflections that can be distracting, the coating also allows more visible to light to enter your eyes for activities such as driving at night.

It also makes the bifocal lines less visible since it lessens the amount of light that reflects off of the junction lines. 

And if you spend a good portion of your day going in and out of the sun or if your eyes are sensitive to sunlight, you should ask your eye doctor about getting photochromic lenses. 

These are lenses that get darker when exposed to certain high-intensity light and they get lighter when that type of light is no longer present.

Progressive Glasses

Progressive glasses, sometimes referred to as no-line bifocals, are similar to bifocals except these glasses only have one type of lens. 

Instead of connecting two lenses of different strengths, progressives use one lens that gradually changes the magnification.

A big positive of these types of glasses is that, while the line is very noticeable in bifocals, you can’t see any junction lines in progressive lenses. 

The magnification is usually in three sections. The top is clear so that you can see normally. The middle section is intermediate and gradually increases in strength as you get to the bottom.

Wearing Your Bifocal Glasses

While wearing bifocals, your eyes will quickly move between one vision strength to another when you look up and down. Objects may appear to jump around. This can make the wearer feel unsteady and off-balance. 

The reason you might feel dizzy is that your brain is quickly adjusting to the different strengths of the lenses. 

Older people who have never worn bifocal glasses before may have to get lenses with more dramatic differences between the top and bottom. It also might take them a little longer to adjust.

Tips for Wearing Bifocals

If you find it difficult to adjust to your new lenses, don’t give up. There are several tips that you can follow to start feeling more comfortable.

First, try putting on your new glasses right after you wake up in the morning. You should wear them for just a couple of hours. This will help you to slowly build up your tolerance to adjust to them.

It’s also important that you don’t switch between your new pair of glasses and your old pair. This can make it take longer for your eyes to get used to the bifocals.

You should also make sure that your glasses fit properly on your face and don’t slide down your nose. Otherwise, they may end up hurting your eyes over time.

Try to also look straight ahead when you walk. Don’t look down at your feet and attempt to point your nose in the direction that you want to look, don’t just rely on moving your eyes. 

When you’re reading, hold the book down and about 15 inches away from your face. Make sure that you’re looking through the bottom portion of the lenses.

Try to keep your eyes and head still as you read. Instead, move the page or book to continue reading.

Another helpful tip is to set your computer screen at just below eye level. You can probably adjust your seat or desk to make this happen. 

And if your lenses are still bothering your eyes after several weeks, speak with your eye doctor. They may have to change the strength of your prescription.

The Importance of Figuring Which Bifocal Glasses Are Right for You

Aesthetically speaking, bifocal glasses aren’t much different than your standard eyeglasses. Albeit, that thin junction line running through it. 

By knowing how they work, and what your options are, you can be better prepared to pick the pair that fits best on you. 

And if you find your new bifocals difficult to adjust to, don’t give up! Just remember that they take some time to get used to it.

Need help finding your perfect pair? Contact us today and see how we can help you!


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