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What Are Bifocal Glasses?

By Emily Chaston
Bifocals are a specific type of multifocal lens for close- and long-range vision. Find out more about bifocal glasses and the LASIK eye surgery prospects for those that use them.

Bifocals have come a long way since Benjamin Franklin created the first prototype he called “double spectacles” in the 1700s. So, what are bifocal glasses, anyway? Bifocals are unique multifocal lenses that can improve both near and far eyesight. If you’re tired of switching between two pairs of glasses, bifocals might be the perfect solution for you. 

What Are Bifocals?

Bifocal glasses are a type of multifocal glasses. Multifocal glasses have more than one type of lens in the same glasses. Bifocal lenses contain two different lens prescriptions in one lens. The larger part of the lens is for seeing far away. It can help you read street signs as you’re driving or watch television from across the room.

The other, smaller part of the lens allows for better close-up vision. This part is located in the bottom part of the lenses. This part allows you to read a book or check your email on a smartphone. The two parts of the lenses are sometimes separated by a thin line.

Bifocals eliminate the need to switch between two different pairs of glasses. If you look closely at the bifocal lenses you’ll notice a difference between the long-distance and close-range lenses, but they are almost undetectable to others when looking at you.

Bifocal glasses are commonly used by people with presbyopia, which is the loss of close-range vision associated with aging.

You can wear bifocal glasses with contacts too. Talk to a specialist to find out the best treatment plan for your needs.

Can You Have LASIK If You Wear Bifocals?

The short answer to this question is yes. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, those that regularly wear bifocals to correct both their near and far vision can undergo a special form of LASIK called monovision LASIK to correct both their distance and close-range vision. During this procedure, your doctor will treat one eye for distance vision and the other for close-up vision. Ideally, the procedure has the same effect as wearing bifocal glasses.

Marc S Warner, MD at Stahl Eyecare Experts, tells WebMD Connect to Care that some patients choose to wear contact lenses that mimic monovision before having their monovision LASIK treatment. This helps them to test out what their new vision will be like prior to their surgery. 

It can take time to adjust after LASIK surgery, but it’s generally a good choice for individuals looking for a long-term solution to impaired vision. Your eye doctor will be able to make personal recommendations for you. 

Start Your Journey To Better Vision Today.

According to the American Optometric Association, adult vision tends to decline between ages 41 and 60. It can interrupt daily life and make regular activities more challenging. So, why wait to improve your vision? Take action today for a clearer tomorrow.

Ready to say goodbye to contact lenses and glasses? WebMD Connect to Care Advisors are standing by to help.