The difference between bifocals vs progressives, ever wondered what makes them different?

As we age, our eyes change, and around the age of 40 many of us begin to notice how we need to move the dinner menu or our phones farther away from our faces to be able to read them.  This is called Presbyopia.  It’s a condition that is created by reduced elasticity in the lens of our eyes and causes us to become farsighted.  If you are one of the lucky ones and had 20/20 vision up to that point, then correcting it can be as easy as grabbing a pair of readers when you need them, but for almost half (42%) of Americans the solution isn’t quite so easy.  If you were already correcting your vision for nearsightedness, you will need a solution that corrects both, which is why we have bifocal lenses and progressive lenses.  Today we are going to share the difference between bifocals vs progressives.


Bifocals are the traditional lens with the visible line that separates the two ranges of vision.  The top portion of the lens is corrected for nearsightedness and allows you to see far away; whereas the lower portion of the lens is corrected for farsightedness and allows you to see up close, for things like reading.  Though some people rely on their trusty bifocals, there are some drawbacks to them.  One, people are known to experience a jumping type effect in images as the line of vision crosses the line in the lens that separates the two sections of vision. Two, the line itself.  Many people really hate having a visible line in their lenses and feel like bifocals age them. Luckily, there is another solution.

Progressive Lenses

Progressive lenses are a new technology that allow for a seamless field of vision across a lens that gradually tiers from one distance (seeing far away), to the other (seeing up close). This eliminates the telltale line of the bifocal and allows for a smooth transition between the two distances; however, adjusting to a progressive lens can be tricky.

Tips for Adjusting to Progressives

  • Learn to point with your nose.  The technology used to create the progressive lens is getting better and better, allowing for more field of vision coverage, but it isn’t  completely perfect.  The corners of the lens may be blurry, so if you are looking side to side, you will need to learn to look with your whole face instead of simply moving your eyes to the side.  It helps to think of pointing your nose where you want to look as you turn your head.
  • Look through the lower part of the lens to read.  As intended, the lower part of the lens is where the prescription has been made for reading. If you try to read with the upper part, it will be blurry as that part of the lens is made for seeing far distances.
  • Make sure your glasses fit properly.  The lens has a sweet spot for vision.  Dr. Smith and his team use high definition technology to carefully take exact measurements of where the best vision should occur on the lens.  If the way your glasses fit change after you were measured, that sweet spot of vision will move and may affect how well you see through your glasses. Make sure your glasses are fitting exactly how you want them to fit while you are being measured, and then make sure you wear them just like that after.  That will ensure the best opportunity for optimal vision.
  • Be patient.  Adjusting to a progressive lens can take weeks.  Take the time to find your sweet spots in the lens and practice pointing with your nose.  If your prescription changed, you will also need to be patient with your eyes and brain as they adjust to the new prescription.  Many people think it is best to swap back and forth from an old prescription to a new one, but really this only makes the adjustment take longer. Keep trying.


We love our patients, and we want our patients to love their progressive lenses.  We want you to feel completely comfortable and confident wearing the newest and best versions of corrective lenses.  If, after some time, you still struggle wearing your progressive lenses, please call us (435.359.2020) and let us know. We will be happy to double check the lenses and help you get to seeing your best.

The content found on this blog is for information purposes only.  It is not intended to take the place of professional medical advice from your eye care provider.   Always seek treatment from a qualified health care provider with all your eye health and medical questions regarding your health.

Have Questions?
We’ll Reply Quickly.

  • Please use this form for general information purposes only. DO NOT send personal health information through this form. Specific patient care must be addressed during your appointment.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Call Us Text Us
Skip to content