Trifocals and no-line progressives are multi-focal glasses, meaning their lenses offer multiple correction fields. Whether you've been wearing multifocal glasses for a while, or you're just beginning to look at options for after-40 vision correction, you've probably heard the terms 'trifocals,' 'progressive lenses,' and 'no-line multi-focals.' In this guide, we’ll explore the differences between these two specific types of corrective lenses and suggest which type may be the right fit for your lifestyle, budget, and style preferences.
Trifocal lenses look and perform similar to bifocal lenses, with an added viewing zone to help correct vision in the intermediate field, and two visible lines where the viewing zones change. The trifocal wearer enjoys improved vision at near, middle, and far distances. Trifocals were developed in 1827, nearly 60 years after the invention of bifocal lenses.
Progressive lenses offer a smooth transition from distance vision through intermediate vision to near vision, and they supply all the in-between corrections. This means that instead of having three different viewing zones, as trifocals do, progressive lenses have progressive powers of correction (from bottom to top), easing eye strain and providing the most natural vision correction. Progressives are also called no-line bifocals or multi-focals, and they're a popular choice for many people who prefer to avoid the look of trifocals.
Progressive lenses were patented in 1907 but didn't become available commercially until 1922. Now they're an option that suits a variety of lifestyles. The vision fields can be adjusted to perform best for your needs, whether you spend most of your time looking at things close up, reading or using a computer screen, or relying on distance vision.
Each type of lens has advantages and disadvantages. Progressive lenses offer the wearer a youthful-looking eyewear option, and they can be customized for specific use.
Trifocals aren't customizable like progressives, but instead, come in a few standard configurations. One option offers a wider intermediate viewing area than progressive lenses do, which can be more comfortable for computer use. Trifocals also tend to be more affordable.
Progressive lenses may be used in prescription sunglasses or in photochromic or light-adaptive eyewear, also known by the brand name Transitions. Though trifocals may be available in sunglasses or light-adaptive lenses, these require a special order.
While some people still prefer trifocals, they're becoming less common with the rise in popularity of progressive lenses. Progressives offer the advantage of seamless switching between lens powers without visible lines.
Progressive lenses may cause peripheral distortion—unavoidable blurring at the edges of the lenses due to the way they're made—while the lines on trifocal lenses can cause an image jump when switching between the fields of vision. It takes time and a few adjustments to the way you move your head and eyes to get used to progressive lenses. For the best vision, point your nose at what you want to see rather than moving your eyes, and then tilt your chin to focus. Once you've adapted to progressive lenses—usually within a few hours to two weeks—they provide a more natural transition between lens powers than trifocals.
These guidelines will help you adjust to your progressive lenses more quickly and comfortably:
In order for progressive and trifocal lenses to work properly for your lifestyle, discuss their use with one of our optometrists to ensure the visual fields are made to meet your needs. Lenses come in different configurations to provide the best vision quality, whether you're on a computer often, view objects close up regularly, or spend more time looking at things farther afield.
We started offering progressive lenses in 1999 and have filled thousands of 100% accurate prescriptions. Dr. Guy Hodgson, co-founder of FramesDirect.com, has developed a proprietary mathematical method of determining the optimal position of the reading (or seg height) of a progressive no-line bifocal without the need for visiting the doctor's office. In fact, Dr. Hodgson's virtual measurement tool gets even better results than an in-person measurement.
FramesDirect.com is the only online eyewear retailer that can determine the perfect height for the progressive lens.
Trifocals require a special order, but our opticians are happy to assist you prefer trifocals instead of progressives.
FramesDirect offers thousands of name-brand and favorite designer eyeglasses, sunglasses, and prescription sunglasses. Contact us for more information about our customizable bifocal, trifocal, and progressive lens options today.