What is the Difference between Trifocal and Bifocal Lenses?

We have all been there. You are shopping for prescription glasses online and it asks you whether you are shopping for trifocal or bifocal glasses. Ummm, what? You are searching for lenses you can see in, what’s the difference? Well, huge actually!

Understanding the difference between trifocal and bifocal lenses makes a big difference in your ability to easily read a menu and then continue talking with your family. Or read a recipe and then cook a meal. Respond to a text and then catch up with a coworker. The days of needing multiple depending on the activity you are doing is long gone.

So as you read this article, consider what your needs are. Do you wear your glasses 24/7? Do you work on the computer all day or with really detailed projects? Are you always on the go and don’t like carrying around multiple pairs of glasses? Consider this distinction next time you shop.

What are Bifocal Lenses?

These are the classic glasses your grandparents probably had. They were created by Benjamin Franklin in the late 18th century and were extremely useful at the time. He created the lenses by gluing two different lenses together. Stacked on top of each other you were now able to do some close up work and see farther distances.

Even for bifocal lenses, there are many different types. You will find the bottom lenses for reading up close come in a half-moon, round, a narrow rectangle, or covering the full bottom. The full bottom coverage is also known as the Franklin bifocal since the lens is cut in half.

What are Trifocal Lenses?

We know “bi” means 2 and “tri” means 3. Bifocal lenses mean 2 different lenses that offer 2 different dimensions so with trifocal lenses you can expect 3 different lenses with 3 different dimensions. They are formulated similar to the way bifocal lenses are, with the exception of the 3rd lenses.

The 3rd trifocal lens sits just above the lower lens and offers an intermediate perspective. This lens is going to help you see anything that is about an arms distance away, like a computer screen or your car dashboard.

Many people have found themselves preferring trifocal lenses because it is an all-in-one. You work on detailed projects up close, type something into your computer, and talk to a coworker all without getting a headache from the improper prescription nor having to switch your glasses!

What is the difference?

So you now understand what bifocal and trifocal glasses offer The primary difference is that center intermediate section. This may come in handy when doing things like looking at a computer screen or reading the GPS in your car. This awkward space has been neglected but if you want a pair of prescription glasses to be by your side from day to night, it is important to consider all the things you may need to see!

How are they similar?

There are the obvious points that these are going to make your life so much simpler. Going bifocal or trifocal specifically is all really dependent on your personal preference and what you are going to need them for in your everyday life.

However, one notable difference is the little lines you will see on the glasses separating out the lenses. This is present on both bifocals and trifocals. While you will not notice them when you wear them, it can be noticeable when looking at the pair of glasses for some.

Should You Pick Bifocals or Trifocals?

If you aren’t sure which shape of the bifocal lens you should go with, or if you should go with trifocal, it is important to first consider your lifestyle. Do you work with your hands a lot? Maybe you frequently use your computer? If you use your computer for work do you also use a second monitor? Or are you an on the go mom, frequently picking kids up from school and driving them to various activities?

Take note of the different times throughout the day you struggle to see and what it is you often look at or devices you use to understand whether bifocal or trifocal is better for you. This will also help you consider what shape of lenses in regards to franklin cut, half-moon, or rectangular cut.

Who should consider trifocals?

Everyone’s eye care needs are different and they will change over time. Maybe trifocals are a good option for you today, maybe not. But if you find yourself with presbyopia, then they may be the perfect solution for you. Presbyopia is when you find yourself holding your arm out to read a card or a menu at a restaurant.

It is that intermediate distance you are struggling with and neither your near-sighted nor far-sighted lenses are offering relief. Trifocal lenses can allow you to look at objects right in front of your nose, all the way to faraway objects on the other side of the room. This is a common issue people develop as they age, but luckily there is a good solution!

Maybe you don’t have presbyopia, but are still looking for some lenses that can offer you support through a wide range of vision needs, then trifocals can be a great option. If you are unsure about how bifocals and trifocals may differ for your needs, consider visiting your eye doctor to try some out.

It can sometimes be difficult to find a quick fix to our health problems that actually works! Luckily there are plenty of options for those of us with prescription glasses who just want to be able to see. Consider your lifestyle, your needs, and where your vision stands to help you make an informed decision on how many focals your need, bifocal, or trifocal?

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