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What is the difference between bifocal and progressive lenses?

What is the difference between bifocal and progressive lenses?

By Jennifer. Published on January 18, 2020, 8:21 pm

Bifocal and progressive lenses both are prescription lenses that correct the vision disorders. Usually, adults above 40 years of age suffer from both types of vision disorders that is near-sightedness and far-sightedness. Nowadays, many people are found with refractive vision disorders, even children as young as pre-school wear spectacles. As the name suggests, bifocal means bi + focal, thus, bi means two and bi-focal has two focus points. Since progressive glasses are also known as varifocal glasses. Here, varifocal refers to vary + focal means various focal points.

Let us understand the difference between bifocal and progressive glasses in detail:

1) Focal points

As apparent, the focal points of both bifocals and progressives are different. On one hand, the bifocal glasses have two separate focal points in a single lens. The upper part is helpful for distance vision clarity and the lower part helps in viewing the objects nearby. This means, that the upper zone of the bifocal glasses is helpful in correcting myopia and the lower part of the lens is helpful in correcting hypermetropia or presbyopia. While the upper part lets you view distant objects clearly, the lower portion allows you to read, do needle-work, use a smartphone, etc.

On the other hand, the progressive glasses have three different focal points, they are for distance, intermediate and close by vision clarity. The upper part of the lens provides correctness for myopia, the lower part is helpful in correcting eyesight disorder of hypermetropia and presbyopia just like the bifocal glasses. The middle part of the lens provides intermediate focus, which is helpful in focusing on the objects kept a little further than arm’s length such as working on laptop/computer, cooking, etc.

2) Comfort level

Definitely, there is a difference in the comfort level provided by bifocal and progressive lenses. A regular user of bifocal may find it more comfortable than progressive glasses when they will switch to a new pair of progressives. However, as they will use progressive glasses on a daily basis, they will find the comfort provided by it is more than a pair of bifocal glasses. Since there is a sudden shift of focus in case of bifocal glasses, the eyes take time to adjust the focus point from reading to distance zone and vice versa. However, in the case of progressive glasses, the shift from reading to distance and vice versa is pretty gradual and smooth. With progressive glasses, the eyes can easily shift focus from one part to the other part of the lens.

3) Adjustment

Since progressive lenses are altogether a new experience for the first time user. It takes a little time for the first time user to focus through the progressive glasses. Similarly, if a bifocal user switches to progressive glasses, he may also go through the same issues but will adjust faster. Generally, it takes around a couple of days to a couple of weeks to adjust and become fully used to progressive glasses. There could be a little strain or headache initially, but with the passing of time, the brain and eyes become accustomed to the new glasses. The key is to use progressive glasses more often and regularly. Besides, do not go back to your previous glasses or bifocals when you start with progressives. Stick to progressive glasses and the adjusting issue will fade away soon.

Read: Are varifocal glasses easy to get used to?

4) Cost-effectiveness

When it comes to prices, bifocals win the game. However, considering the comfort, quality of vision, the gradual shift of focus, and more viewable area, the benefits of progressive glasses cannot be ignored.

Read: Are bifocal cheaper than varifocals?

Looking at the difference between bifocal and progressive, it is important to consult an ophthalmologist or medical practitioner to know which eyeglasses are suitable for the prescription of your eyes out of Bifocal and progressive.

In fact, Specscart offers variable glasses at a very affordable price. Where high-end shops and luxury stores charges rocket high prices of progressives, Specscart provides the prices at one third the cost of high-end brands, including anti-glare, anti-UV, anti-scratch and shock-resistance properties. The progressive glasses crafted by Specscart are digitally advanced with the option to buy blue light blocking glasses.

You may even reglaze your old eyeglasses, by sending existing and used frames to add new progressive lenses. This is another cost-effective option to re-use the eyeglasses.

Check out the link and get your progressive lenses.


Specscart : A pair of great frames shouldn’t leave your wallets bare. Born in the Manchester University, Specscart aims to show that glasses are not just sight correction instruments - but fashion accessories. From manufacturing their own glasses to a game changing website interface which allows users to choose & customize highest quality eyewear, the independent student startup is changing the way glasses are sold & perceived.