The Difference Between Progressives and Bifocals
The difference between progressives and bifocals that’s most obvious may be the line or lack thereof, but that’s far from the only thing that sets them apart. Learning what really sets progressives and bifocals apart can help you appreciate the pros and cons of each of these types of eyeglasses. This makes it easier to decide which one is right for you.
As All About Eyes explains, bifocals typically have a clear line between the two different sections of the glasses. When you want to look at something farther away, you lift your gaze to look over that line. When you want to view something nearby, you drop your gaze to peer through the glasses below the line.
Bifocal users may experience an image jump as they shift their gaze. If they look up and then look down, objects may suddenly appear unexpectedly large. Their depth perception may also seem off. These sensations often fade as users adapt to wearing the bifocals.
To learn more, check out our blog post Types of Bifocal Lenses.
Progressives are sometimes referred to as no-line bifocals, but as WebMD indicates, that’s a misleading nickname. While these glasses may lack a line, they have three corrective prescriptions in one set of glasses. The highest area corrects for distance. The lowest area corrects for close work. Meanwhile, the middle area offers a comfortable space for tasks that fall in the middle, like computer work.
The way that the visual prescriptions blend without interruption can bother some people. Others may find the inevitable visual distortions caused by the progression between prescriptions disruptive. Most people adapt with practice.
Factors to Consider When Deciding Between Progressives and Bifocals
Should you opt for progressives or bifocals? You’ll want to weigh several factors:
- Aesthetics. Bifocals have a visible line. Progressives don’t.
- Cost. Bifocals generally cost less than progressives. If you’re on a budget, dealing with frequent changes in your prescription, or prone to losing or breaking glasses, opting for bifocals may be easier on your wallet.
- Experience. People who have never worn bifocals or progressives will need time to adapt to either type of eyeglasses. However, people who are used to wearing bifocals sometimes have a harder time making a comfortable switch to progressives because their brains and bodies are already used to bifocals.
- Activities. People who routinely work in an office or at a computer often thrive while wearing progressives. These glasses allow them to see from every angle at work with less work. In contrast, people who do the majority of their work outdoors or in spaces with varying terrain typically fare better with bifocals. Since their more physical tasks require them to move their heads along with their eyes, these professionals often complain that they can’t move their heads in the way that they need to in order to get the most out of progressives.
Tips for Getting Used to Your New Glasses
Once you’ve decided on a new pair of bifocals or progressives, it can take some time to adjust. During that period, issues with blurry vision, headaches, nausea, and balance are fairly common. If you’d like to minimize this period of discomfort, the following tips may help you get used to your new glasses:
- Check that your new eyeglasses fit your face properly. If you notice any sliding, have them adjusted.
- Wear your new bifocals or progressives consistently. Don’t switch back to an older pair.
- When you read, hold the item roughly 16 inches away. Be sure that you’re looking through the bottom of your glasses.
- When you walk, take care to look forward. Don’t watch your feet.
- When you’re using your computer, you should be looking slightly down. Adjust your monitor or chair so that the screen is slightly below eye level.
Are you wondering whether you should opt for progressives or bifocals? Heffington’s can help. Whether you’re in need of an eye exam, interested in updating your prescription, searching for answers about your optical health, or hunting for the perfect pair of new eyeglasses, Heffington’s is ready to assist you with all your eye care needs. Since 1975, the Heffington family has been assisting the Springfield community with top-quality eye care and affordable eyeglasses and contacts. To learn more about our products and services, please get in touch with us online, send an e-mail to [email protected], or give us a call at 417-869-3937 (Optiland location) or 417-882-3937 (House of Vision location).