Are Lined Bifocals Better Than Progressive Lenses?

When you are shopping for a new pair of eyeglasses, you will likely spend some amount of time on your lenses. Yes, the style and design of your frames certainly matter, but your lenses will determine whether you can properly see. It is important to recognize the differences between certain lenses so you can see as clearly as possible.

With this in mind, you may be stuck when deciding between lined bifocals and progressive lenses. Especially if you are a first-time wearer of eyeglasses, you may not know whether one is better than the other.

The short answer? It all comes down to personal preference. Lined bifocals and progressive lenses have their advantages and disadvantages. One choice isn’t inherently “better” than the other. Because of this, it is helpful to understand their advantages and disadvantages before making your final decisions.

Lined Bifocals: Pros and Cons

Lined bifocals, for those of you who don’t know, are helpful because they help you see things and objects far away and help your read text. They do this by having two viewing areas that are separated by a visible line. The larger viewing area is for distance and the smaller viewing area is for reading.

One of the biggest advantages of lined bifocals is that there is a larger viewing area for the distances that you are trying to see. With lined bifocals, you are better able to see people, objects, and even text at long distances. In addition to this distance benefit, lined bifocals contain less distortion on the edges of your lenses. Through this feature, you leverage clearer sight, especially if you are using your peripheral vision.

As for the disadvantages, one of the most prominent centers on aesthetics. Whenever you hear the word bifocals, you likely think of Benjamin Franklin or an elderly person who has trouble seeing. To reiterate, lined bifocals have a visible line in the lens. When having a conversation with a family member, friend, or colleague, they will be able to see the line. While it may not bother some wearers of lined bifocals, it may be a deal-breaker for some of the more aesthetically-inclined wearers.

Progressive Lenses: Pros and Cons

Now, let’s briefly discuss progressive lenses. Progressive lenses are multifocal lenses that contain three viewing areas. Those viewing areas are categorized as distance, intermediate, and near vision. One of the main differences between progressive lenses and bifocals is that there is not a visible line between each viewing area of the lenses. That said, their use is quite similar.

Ultimately, these glasses are for people who need assistance when seeing different distances. The primary viewing area for progressive lenses is distance, followed by a smaller area for near-vision and an even smaller area for intermediate vision.

With that understanding in mind, let’s talk about some of the benefits and detriments. As far as benefits, we just alluded to one of the most significant. Progressive lenses do not have that visible line that separates distance and close vision. You won’t have to worry about friends, family, or other conversation partners noticing the line when speaking with you. Instead, you can focus on what is actually being said during your discussions. Progressive lenses are also great because of their all-around nature. These can be great all-purpose glasses, but they are especially useful for driving and other distance-vision activities.

In terms of detriments, one of the most notable is that there is peripheral lens distortion. This is simply due to how progressive lenses are designed. While it may take several weeks to get adjusted to this distortion, it can be overcome. Along with this, progressive lenses require extremely precise measurements. If you are even 0.25 millimeters off, the entire viewing lens of the lenses will be thrown off. In sum, you need to be extremely careful when getting fitted for progressive lenses.

Making Your Choice

As you can see, both lined bifocals and progressive lenses have their pros and cons. Neither is inherently “better” than the other. Because of this, it is absolutely worth your time to complete your own due diligence. Consider the pros and cons above and make a decision where you are obtaining more benefits than costs. By doing this, you will be extremely satisfied with your final purchase.

  1. Deborah Keilty says:

    I don’t know whether to get progressive sunglasses or bifocal. I have progessive clear glasses. Thank you

  2. Paul K says:

    1. Is there a way to try on frames before purchases?
    2. I would prefer progressive lens. How can I accurately measure PD? The ophthalmologist office says they cannot measure it for me if they are not filling the Rx
    3. What is if the return policy? If the Rx does not seem right? If the fit or something else is not right

  3. Odi Plata says:

    I have a sunglass which I’m planning to convert into a prescription sunglass. Will it be the same lens on my sunglass to be use for my prescription? How much will it cost to make it a progressive lens and is it possible to have an anti glare on it too?

    • rxsafety says:

      New lenses are pulled to make prescription lenses. They will not be placed on the stock lenses that come in the frame. A progressive lens with us starts at around $50 depending on the type of frame. We do offer polarized tints to help reduce glare as well as anti-reflective coating.

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