Lenses: Progressives vs. Lined Bifocals

So, you’ve finally reached that point where you need a little extra help seeing up close. And, along with that, your Eye Doctor has provided a prescription that includes an “Add Power” and recommendations for “Multifocal Lenses”. You’re probably saying to yourself “What is that?! What does this mean?! Am I blind?!” No worries, you’re probably not blind and you’ll likely adapt to your new reality fairly quickly.

Let’s break down, what most times, is just some confusing optical jargon. An “Add Power” simply means what it says; it’s additional magnification (or POWER) that is ADDED to your prescription to help with your close-up vision (Near Vision). “Multifocal” Lenses are also simple to understand; they are lenses with multiple focal points incorporated into one lens to help you focus on different distances while using 1 set of lenses. Basically, you get most of what you need to see properly in one set of lenses.

Multifocal lenses could be a wonderful addition to your everyday life. The flexibility that multifocal lenses offer can be extremely invaluable. The discomfort that some may experience with this vision/prescription change is a common emotion and we’re here to help you through the process with some clarification on lens options. Although there are many more multifocal lens options than Progressives and Lined Bifocals, those 2 are the most common so we’ll reveal some pros and cons of both. Ready? Ok, here we go…


This option is used more frequently and has many beneficial applications. Here are a couple Pros & Cons for Progressive Lenses.


  • You will have the flexibility to see 3 fields of vision; Distance Vision, Intermediate Vision(Roughly, about arms-length away from your face) & Near Vision.
  • You wont have any visible lines on your lenses (People wont know you’re wearing a multifocal)


  • There can be a bit of Distortion on the periphery of the lenses. How much distortion you experience depends on a few different factors. This generally dissipates with continued use of your glasses. Connect with your Licensed Optician for more details on Peripheral Distortion in Progressive Lenses.
  • Sometimes it can take up to a few weeks to get really comfortable with your new-found progressive lifestyle. Using progressive lenses can take some practice and can be frustrating at times, but stick with it. It’ll pay off if you’ve got all the right factors in your corner.

Lined Bifocals

This is an option that isn’t used as much but still has some very useful properties. Here are a couple Pros & Cons for Lined Bifocals.


  • You wont experience any feeling of distortion on the edges of the lenses.
  • You’ll have clearly defined areas for your different fields of vision. One defined area for your Distance Vision and one finite area for your Near Vision.


  • You don’t have as much flexibility with the fields of vision. For example, Progressives give you 3 fields; Distance Vision, Intermediate Vision and Near Vision, all in one lens. With Lined Bifocals, you’ll have to choose between only 2 of those options.
  • There is a visible Line on the lens where the ‘Near Vision’ section starts. Some people are fine with this, but many don’t find it aesthetically pleasing.

As you make your decision on which lens option is best suited for your needs, remember to consult your Licensed Optician to help aid in the process. There are quite a few options when it comes to choosing a Multifocal Lens and at times can become very overwhelming. Our best advice it to Take your time, do your research, ask a lot of questions and make the honest decision that best suits your needs. And remember, “To look and see your best, a Licensed Optician is your Vision Expert”.