What Are Bifocal Glasses Used For?

What Are Bifocal Glasses Used For?

Is reading the newspaper or food ingredient labels becoming more difficult for you? Are you having a hard time seeing important messages on your phone? Are you just plain tired of having to use a magnifying glass to see almost anything in smaller print, even at the restaurant? Bifocal glasses may be the solution to all of your tiny print problems!

What Are Bifocal Lenses?

Bifocal lenses are traditionally used with regular prescription glasses, working as two different lens strengths to allow you to look through them to see any distance, near or far. Usually, the need for bifocals is when your eyes can no longer see all distances through one lens strength or naturally. The upper part of the lens is to see further distances, whereas the lower part will help you see closer objects, usually to read.

The Four Types of Bifocal Glasses

When we see people wearing bifocals, we usually see the most common type, the half-moon on the bottom of the lens. What most don’t know is that there are a few other types as well to choose from when you’re in the market or bifocals.


The other three types of bifocal lenses are

  • Round Segment - which will be placed on the lower inner corner of the glasses
  • Ribbon Segment - a narrowed rectangular area on the bottom of the glasses
  • Full Bottom Half - better known as the Franklin or Executive style, that covers the entire length of the bottom half of the lens

How Do You Use Bifocal Lenses?

After you’ve been prescribed bifocal lenses and have picked out your frames, the first time you place them on your face will feel a little funny. Depending on what style you’ve chosen, the weirder they may feel to look through. Once you get used to them, seeing through them will feel more natural, and not like you’re going to trip over your own feet, because you can’t see them as well through the bifocal lens.


Looking through the upper part will help you in seeing distances, whereas, when you look through the bottom, you’ll be able to read the newspaper, or the small print on medication labels more clearly.


Even with the great benefits of having bifocals, they do, however, cause a slight issue with the middle range of the lens, which can make reading computer screens. This in-between layer is approximately 18 to 24 inches in front of your face. One other downside to bifocal lenses is driving, when you can’t see that middle area, it can cause difficulties seeing exactly where you are on the road.

Who Needs to Wear Bifocals?

Typically, those over the age of 40 will be prescribed bifocal lenses to their regular eyeglass prescription due to the natural wear of their eyesight. Sometimes bifocals will be prescribed to those under 40 because their eyesight has deteriorated significantly over a short period of time.

What Are the Benefits of Bifocal Glasses?

Getting bifocal glasses will benefit your life, and you’ll no longer have to worry if you brought your reading glasses, or finding them for that matter. You’ll also not have to worry about not being able to see something your young child or grandchild has written or drawn you when you’re not at home. No longer will you need that magnifying glass stored in your purse or wallet to see at the grocery store or restaurant for the simple things.


When you have new glasses, you’ll be able to see better, not only with the bifocals but overall you’ll have better eyesight.

When to Consider Talking to Your Optometrist About Bifocals?

You’re beginning to see a difference in your eyesight, and reading is becoming more and more difficult for you, what now? Scheduling an appointment with your eye doctor to talk to them about looking into different options. You should start off by telling them what your eyesight problems have been, and see where the conversation goes from there. Adding in the fact you believe you are in need of bifocal glasses can help with their assessment of your eyes.


Your doctor will prescribe the correct type of bifocal for your eye shape and how weak or strong your prescriptions will be for the top and bottom halves of your glasses. After that process is done, you’ll be looking at a whole new world!

Why Choose Bifocals over Trifocals or Progressive Lenses?

Trifocal lenses are meant to help see through that intermediate level that most bifocal lenses won’t allow, but it can add another line to have to worry about seeing around. It can get in the way when you’re trying to read, and then look back up at the television across the room.


Progressive lenses do work hand in hand with bifocal lenses and are one of the newest ways to have bifocal glasses. They do not come equipped with the lines that you have to try to see around and can help with the intermediate level, similar to the trifocal lens.


If you’re new to bifocal glasses, start with the traditional lenses before you experiment too far within modern technology. When problems arise, you can always get back in touch with your eye doctor and have your glasses changed to either trifocals or progressive lenses. No matter what you decide to stick with in the end, you’ll be able to see better than you did before with regular glasses or having the need for reading glasses.