Bifocals vs. Progressive Eyeglass Lenses

If you have a prescription for bifocal lenses, which means you need a different prescription for near and far, you may be wondering what lens options you might have. The most common question is: what is the difference between bifocal and progressive lenses?

Bifocal Eyeglass Lenses


Multi-focal lenses are segmented into two categories, lined and no-line. The no-line bifocal is more commonly called a ‘Progressive’ lens, meaning the prescription changes from distance to intermediate to reading as you travel down the lens’ vertical space. The lined multi-focal lenses can be either lined bifocals or lined trifocals.

Bifocals are lined lenses with two separate viewing areas, generally with one for viewing objects that are far and a second area for viewing near. The basic structure of bifocal lenses is that the top section of the lens is designed for distance vision correction and the lower, bottom part of the lens is used for near vision correction for tasks such as reading. There is a clear distinction between the two sections by way of a visible horizontal line, with the bottom section resembling the shape of a capital “D”. If you are presbyopic and have separate prescriptions for far and near, these lenses can accommodate two prescriptions; they are known as bifocals because they allow two types of viewing using just one lens. Bifocals can be used for distance and reading, intermediate and reading, or less commonly, distance and intermediate viewing.

Progressive Eyeglass Lenses


Progressive eyeglass lenses also offer a range of vision correction for multiple levels of vision within the same lens, but without the distinction between vision fields. Progressive lenses offer vision correction for midrange distances as well as near and far vision, making the transition between viewing distances easier for many people.

Progressive eyeglass lenses are designed with distance vision correction on the top part of the lens, a zone for intermediate viewing in the middle, and near vision or reading correction in the bottom portion. These lenses are also known as no line bifocals, due to the fact that there are no visible lines on progressive eyeglass lenses as seen with traditional lined bifocal lenses. This is one of the major differences in bifocals vs progressive lenses. Progressive eyeglass lenses allow the wearer’s vision to progress from distance to intermediate to near, correcting for all focal lengths in one lens and providing vision correction that is closest to natural vision. Lined trifocals also correct for all three focal lengths, but the lines interfere more with regular vision so they are less popular.

In the past, lined bifocal lenses were the only option; today you can choose between lined bifocals and unlined progressive lenses. If you have further questions about progressive lenses vs bifocals, please give us a call today at (800) 752-5572, email us at info@ReplaceALens.com, send us a message using our online contact form, or stop by and visit us at 7800 East Iliff Avenue, Unit 1 in Denver, CO 80231.