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Do I Need Bifocals or Progressive Lenses?

By Essilor News

We have three basic ranges of vision—the near range for reading and seeing up close, the midrange for seeing things at arm's length, such as computer screens, and the distance range for seeing objects farther away, like road signs.

Which Lenses Can Help with Farsightedness (Presbyopia)?

As we age, the eyes have a difficult time making adjustments from one range to another. On top of that, around the age of 40, we start to develop presbyopia, an eye condition where the lens loses flexibility, making it harder to focus on objects up close. Presbyopia, experienced by nearly 2 billion people worldwide, is so common that even people wearing glasses for myopia may have trouble seeing up close. Eyeglasses—either bifocals or progressive lenses—are a simple, effective solution.

Limitations of Bifocal Lenses

In the past, the only option available to help with presbyopia was bifocal lenses. A bifocal lens is split into two parts—the top part for distance viewing and the bottom part for seeing up close. However, bifocals are unable to meet the demands of the modern world. Bifocals don't account for midrange vision, and wearers must tilt their heads in an uncomfortable position to view a computer screen or other focal point 18 to 24 inches from their face.

Benefits of Multifocal Lenses

With advancements in technology, we have a lens option that makes it possible to see clearly at all distances. Progressive lenses such as Varilux®, often referred to as no-line bifocals, are multifocal lenses that provide a seamless transition between all viewing distances. Progressive lenses eliminate image jump—a common issue with bifocals, as images seem to jump when your eyes move past the boundary line between the distance and near parts of the lens.

If you are experiencing presbyopia or blurry vision, talk to your eye doctor about which type of glasses are right for you.

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