Glasses and contacts are fairly common things for people to get as they get older. Bifocals are one such type of lenses that can help you see better. But before you decide on getting bifocals, there are a few things that you should consider.
The main reason you should get bifocals is if you cannot focus on close-up or small objects with your current lenses. This can cause you to get frequent headaches and feel fatigued from trying to squint or focus so much. If your lenses are causing these symptoms, it is time to start thinking about getting bifocals.
You don’t have to be experiencing headaches or fatiguing to get bifocals, but that is the most common sign that you should. The following article is a more in-depth description of what bifocals are and the advantages and disadvantages of them.
What are Bifocals?
Bifocal lenses are a type of multifocal lens, meaning they have multiple different types of lenses that are fused together to create one multiple purpose lens. They have different sections that let the wearer focus on certain objects that are either too far away or too close. Bifocal lenses can come in both eyeglasses form and in contact lenses form.
Bifocal lenses have two different sections, each with a different lens power to correct four concurrent issues with your vision:
One section on top of the lens corrects your myopia to allow you to see things clearly at a distance. The second section on the bottom corrects presbyopia to allow you to be able to focus on objects close-ups, such as the newspaper or a book.
What Types of Bifocals Are There?
Those are the two main visual problems that bifocals are designed to correct. But there are a few different types of bifocals, and those include:
- Round – These have a 22 to 24-millimeter round portion near the bottom of the lens that allows the wearer to reach the reading area of the lens a little easier
- Flat top – These are a small half-moon shaped segment in the lower half of the lenses and usually have a visible line on the lens.
- Blended – Blended bifocals have a round portion where the edges of that segment are blended together with the rest of the lens. It’s very similar to a flat top lens, but it doesn’t have as obvious of a line
- Executive – Finally, executive bifocals are designed where the top half of the lens that makes distanced objects clear is completely separated from the bottom half, which makes closer objects clearer.
Different eyeglass wearers will prefer a style based on how distracting they find the line on the lens and how big of a reading segment they want to have.
All of these forms let the wearer switch between two vision perspectives seamlessly by simply moving their pupils up and down. There’s usually a thin line that appears between the two different lenses that make it clear which lens is where, but this can be blended in and made less obvious if it becomes a nuisance.
I always advise people in my optical shop looking for bifocals to check out the different bifocal designs in the shop. Depending on your preferences you might prefer a special bifocal lens design a lot more compared to the other ones. That is why it is beneficial to look through them s you can get a feeling for what you want.
Out of my experience as an optician, I can say headaches can in some cases very helpful with headaches. But in some cases, they can cause them. Especially when lens powers are different for your left and right eye which is called anisometropia and a common problem with glasses. I highly recommend checking this article out here if you need two different lens powers.
But of course headaches can be caused by multiple factors. So when they are frequent also visit your professional for advise.
Are Bifocals Necessary?
Bifocals aren’t necessary if your current lenses already give you sufficient clear vision without giving you headaches or fatigue. But if your lenses aren’t giving you clear vision or making you squint more than necessary, it’s time to consider bifocals.
The need for bifocals usually becomes apparent when you reach around age forty. This is the most common age when signs of presbyopia start to come to light. A few common early signs of presbyopia include:
- Eyestrain and headaches after reading something close to your face
- Holding something you’re reading further away to make it clearer
- Sudden hazy and blurry vision
- Double vision
- Flashes of light or black spots
If you’re experiencing one or multiple of these symptoms, it’s recommended that you consult a doctor and start seriously considering getting bifocals.
Are Bifocals Expensive?
Bifocal lenses are more expensive than single-vision lenses because they are basically two pairs of glasses in one.
But bifocals are definitely less expensive – and more convenient – than keeping two separate pairs of glasses around and changing them out, depending on what you are doing.
That said, depending on where you get your bifocal lenses or contacts, they can cost anywhere between $50 to $600. Bifocals from department store eye centers or online eyeglass vendors will run less – even as low as $50, but they may not be the best quality lens you can get.
If you were to get your bifocal lenses or contacts from a professional eye doctor, then it would cost upwards of $250. Most eye doctors offer free exams to find out what prescription you need, which shaves about fifty dollars off the price. But some things that influence the cost of the bifocals are:
- The style of the frames
- How heavy the prescription is
- The type of lenses used
- The coatings
Consulting with your eye doctor and insurance provider about which is the most cost-effective solution is highly recommended before making a final decision on bifocal lenses.
Pros and Cons of Bifocals
Bifocals are a pretty popular solution to the vision problems experienced by those aged forty and up. But that doesn’t mean that they don’t have their fair share of disadvantages as well as benefits.
Pros of Bifocal Glasses and Contact Lenses
Bifocal glasses provide a two in one solution that offers both far distance and close distance vision in the same lens. That way, you don’t have to wear two different lenses or even two different pairs of eyeglasses to see things far away or close up.
Because of their convenience and adaptability, bifocals are a great solution to blurry and spotty vision.
Cons of Bifocal Glasses and Contact Lenses
The main con of bifocal glasses or contact lenses is that they take some adjusting. Even if you wear contact lenses prior to getting them, bifocal lenses are a specific prescription that your eyes won’t be used to.
With bifocal contact lenses, you might feel disoriented and feel some eye strain as your eyes try to adjust
The same goes for bifocal glasses. While it won’t be as intense as bifocal contact lenses, bifocal glasses will still require some adjustment since they are also a specific prescription.
Another con about bifocals is the stark separation between the lenses.
If the lenses are separated by an obvious extra lens that runs horizontally through the lenses, then the shift from far away vision to close up vision can be jarring. This isn’t as much of a problem with bifocal contact lenses, but it can still feel odd to look through them.
The most prominent solution to these issues is to wait patiently for your eyes to adjust. The more you wear your bifocals, the faster your eyes will adjust, and the clearer your vision will become.
Bifocal lenses might not be the best option for everyone, but they are one of the the most popular and widely used solutions to headaches caused by vision problems. Consult your eye doctor before making a decision to get bifocal glasses or contact lenses to see which option would best treat your vision problems.