Multifocal glassesfitted with progressive or trifocal lensesimprove vision in people with presbyopia, a gradual loss of near vision that's common after age 40. 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 multifocals.' All of these terms refer to types of lenses that offer multiple correction fields in a single pair of glasses. Each provides the ability to see clearly at a variety of distances, but what are the differences between trifocal and progressive lenses?
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 multifocals, 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.
Progressive lenses and trifocal lenses do the same thingeach offers vision correction in three fields. While each type of lens has advantages, there are also drawbacks to progressive and trifocal lenses. Many people choose progressive lenses as a youthful-looking eyewear option, and they appreciate the ability to customize their lenses to a 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.
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 customized vision correction that doesn't cost much more than trifocal lenses, and the advantage of seamless switching between lens powers is one of the many reasons people prefer this style.
Progressive lenses may cause peripheral distortionunavoidable blurring at the edges of the lenses due to the way they're madewhile 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, then tilt your chin to focus. Once you've adapted to progressive lensesusually within a few hours to two weeksthey 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. Call (800) 248-9427 to request trifocal lenses in your prescription glasses.