If you’re older than 40, you may have experienced one of the “joys” of aging: Our eyes change as we get older, inevitably developing a new refractive error called presbyopia.

Presbyopia limits our ability to see things up close. If you’ve found you need to bump up the size of the text on your phone, or hold your book at arm’s length, then it’s likely this reality has started to affect you. And a trip to the eye doctor could confirm that you’re a good candidate for bifocals or another type of multifocal lenses to help alleviate all your vision concerns.

Whether you’ve recently started wearing bifocals or you’re considering asking your doctor about them, here are a few tips for making the adjustment.

 

First, what are the different types of multifocal lenses?

Bifocal lenses: Do you need help seeing things that are far away, as well as help seeing things up close? If so, bifocals may be just the vision correction you need, because they function as both reading glasses and eyeglasses that correct your distance vision. The top half of the lens contains your distance vision prescription, while the bottom half of the lens has near-vision correction.

Trifocal lenses: Rather than solving for two refractive errors, trifocals solve for three. In this type of multifocal lens, there’s a middle portion of the lens that offers correction for intermediate vision — this is what you use when you’re working at a computer, for instance. It’s farther away than reading a book, but closer than seeing signs when driving.

Progressive lenses: Bifocals and trifocals both have distinct, visible lines separating the different parts of the lens that correct for different vision issues. Progressive lenses are different in that they offer a gradual change in power from the top of the lens to the bottom, offering a smoother progression from one correction to the next. They’re also lighter and thinner than other types of multifocal lenses.

 

What to expect when wearing multifocal lenses

What to expect: Fit

Depending on the type of multifocal lenses prescribed by your eye doctor, they may fit quite differently than your eyeglasses of yesteryear. Precise measurements make a big difference in whether or not you can see things at all distances clearly.

For starters, the bifocal lens is typically placed so the line is at the same place as your lower eyelid. Because we usually cast our gaze down to read, this places the correction exactly where we need it.

Trifocals may be placed a little higher, so that the top line of the intermediate segment is in line with the lower margin of the pupil. This helps wearers have a clear line of sight to things in their immediate and distance vision.

What to expect: Vision

You may need to consciously train your eyes where to look in order to see things at different distances correctly. For example, walking down stairs may be difficult when wearing bifocals, because we usually look down at our feet when we travel in a downward direction. Remember: The bifocal part of your lens is designed to help you see things up close, and it’s placed at the bottom of the glasses.

You may also need to change how you hold your reading material or how you hold your head in order to focus your gaze through the magnified portion of your bifocal or progressive lens.

Some people experience distorted peripheral vision, or they may feel dizzy or nauseous with the different lens powers in their progressive lenses. These uncomfortable side effects should go away within a few weeks of consistently wearing your new glasses.

What to expect: Adjustment period

It may take up to two weeks to adjust to the blended corrective powers of your new glasses. Wearing your glasses all the time can help you adjust more quickly. If you continue to have trouble after two weeks or more of consistent wear, try to see your eye doctor or optician. They can help ensure the fit is just right.

Is your vision changing? We have the expertise to help you find the right prescription and right type of multifocal lenses or other eyewear, plus we have a great selection of glasses that accommodate bifocals, trifocals, or progressive lenses. Contact us to set up an appointment today.

 

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