Do You Need Bifocal Lenses?: Here’s How to Tell

If you've got a few things going on in your prescription, it may be time to consider bifocal lenses. While the old-school version of bifocals isn’t exactly what you’d call stylish, the latest innovations in technology mean anyone can wear bifocals and still look great. Maybe you're getting a bit older and it's time to power up your lenses, or maybe you're younger and need a more complex pair of glasses to see better at school and work. You don't have to be afraid of bifocals cramping your style!

Let’s explore what bifocals are and why you might need them for clear vision. We’ll also show you how the latest evolution of bifocal lenses has made all the difference in functionality and style — because you deserve to have both.

What Are Bifocal Lenses?

To answer this question, let’s first define multifocals.

Multifocal lenses are prescription eyeglasses that allow for different kinds of vision correction in one handy pair. Bifocal eyeglasses have two prescriptions in one lens, while trifocals have three.

In both types, the bottom of the lens is usually designed for close-up work like reading, while the top of the lens is for distance vision, for example, when you’re driving. Trifocals have an extra section in the middle that allows the wearer to see objects in the middle distance, like a computer screen.

This works because you use specific parts of the lens for different tasks. When you’re reading, you usually look down through the bottom half of your glasses, and when you’re driving, you usually look up into the distance through the top half. So all you need to do is move your eyes, and you’ll be seeing clearly through the right part of the lens. 

Fun fact: Bifocals were first invented by Benjamin Franklin, who was both a founding father and a scientist. Like many of us, as he got older, his vision declined and he eventually got tired of switching between different pairs of glasses. So he sliced the lenses from his two pairs in half and stuck them together to create one pair with his distance prescription in the top part of the lens and his reading prescription in the bottom. Problem solved.

Do You Need Bifocal Lenses?

Bifocal lens: The Grizzlies Splatter

If you need multiple prescriptions to see clearly, bifocal lenses are often a good choice.

For example, you may have hyperopia (farsightedness), which makes near vision a challenge, as well as myopia (nearsightedness), and therefore need help with distance vision. 

For some, this is the case right from childhood, while others develop vision problems later in life. This often happens because as we age, our eyes lose some of their flexibility and don’t focus as easily on objects that are close up. This is known as presbyopia.

You’ll know you’ve developed presbyopia if you start needing to hold a menu at arm’s length to read it, or if you’re asking strangers in the grocery store to check the price of a product for you. You might also find that close-up, detailed work causes eyestrain, fatigue, or even a headache.

Of course, you could simply carry two pairs of glasses with you at all times, switching them as need be. But really, who has space in their purse or pockets?

Bifocal reading glasses are a much better solution. The top part of the lens holds your distance prescription while a different lens in the bottom part helps you see close-up. You’ll never need to carry multiple pairs of glasses around again.

If you’ve ever seen old-school bifocal lenses though, you may not be that keen to wear them — they’re not generally designed for style. Luckily, we now have progressive lenses.

Progressive Lenses: The Latest Evolution of Bifocal Eyeglasses

Old-fashioned bifocal lenses are manufactured with visible lines between the different sections of the bifocal lens. Aesthetically, this doesn’t look great and it also causes a vision jump as you change your field of vision.

The new bifocal lenses are called progressive lenses — or no-line lenses. Instead of a hard line, this type of lens is graduated so you experience a smooth progression between the different sections. There’s no vision jump as you move from one lens power to another, and as your eyes move seamlessly through the transition between close-up and further away, you automatically pass through the middle-distance section of the eyeglass lens, so you get the trifocal effect too. 

Progressive glasses can therefore support your vision through a range of tasks over your day, from looking down at your paperwork in the near distance, then up at your computer in the middle distance, then further away to see what’s going on in the office — or if you work from home, to check on your kids in the other room. As a bonus, unless you look very closely, they look like a regular pair of glasses, so you can retain your sense of style.

Where to Get Stylish Bifocal Lenses

The Flowering Plum Orchard

When you’re looking for your next bifocal lenses, you could pay a visit to your local optician. Or you could get comfy on your couch and enjoy browsing through Pair Eyewear’s range of gorgeous glasses. Our eyewear accommodates progressive lens prescriptions — and looks great too.

Pair Eyewear’s unique snap-on concept allows you to choose your favorite Base Frame (use our Virtual Try-On tool to find your perfect style), then add as many beautifully designed Top Frames as you like. From our Classic Collections to our Limited Editions and Collabs, there’s something for everyone. Pick your Top Frames to complement your personality, then you can change up your look in a moment to suit your mood or your activities — and all at a great price.

Pair glasses frames are made from tough cellulose acetate, while our lenses are made from polycarbonate. They’re impact-resistant and scratch-resistant to withstand daily wear and tear, and they also come with an anti-reflective coating to reduce glare.

To keep them safe while you’re on the move, invest in a Glasses Case or Top Frame Case. And if you like to contemplate your style options each morning before choosing your Top Frame for the day, display your range at home with a Wall Hanger

If you have any questions, feel free to consult our FAQ page or contact us directly at [email protected].

Bifocal Lenses Support Clear Vision

Bifocal lenses contain more than one prescription in a single lens. The bottom part is designed to help you to read easily when you look down, while the top part deals with any other vision issues you have, like correcting for astigmatism or seeing into the distance while you’re driving.

While old-fashioned bifocal lenses have a hard line between the different prescriptions in your glasses, the new progressive lenses give you a much smoother transition — without any vision jump or ugly hard line.

Order your progressive lenses from Pair Eyewear today — then when your new lenses arrive on your doorstep, give your eyes some time to get used to them. You’ll soon be enjoying effortless clear vision, no matter what you’re doing.