It can be  confusing when confronted  by the words bifocal or varifocal, and then there is trifocal, multifocal lenses. It is quite normal especially if you have just had an eye test and then told that you need glasses. It’s important to us that you find the lens that will work best for you.

Bifocal Or Varifocal ? of course this will depend on your own individual preferences and prescription. At D Igoe, our optometrist in Middleton  are  always on hand to talk you through all your options and recommend the most best lens for you.

what lenses are best for may eyesight Bifocal or Varifocal

Below, we have listed  the key differences between each of these lens types. Hopefully this will help you understand what will work for you.

What are varifocal/multi-focal glasses?

Unlike bifocal glasses lenses, varifocal glasses (or multifocal glasses) change prescription seamlessly throughout the lens – there is no definitive line between them like bifocals or trifocals. Instead, they progressively change lens powers from top to bottom, ensuring seamless transition for whatever prescription is necessary.

What are trifocal glasses?

Like bifocal glasses, trifocal glasses lenses have visible lines separating prescription powers. However they also have a third middle section for an ‘intermediate’ vision. This allows users to view long distance, up close and at arms length. The trifocal lenses are not that common because it can be difficult for the wearer to become accustomed to the changes in vision

What are bifocal glasses?

Glasses with bifocal lenses are most commonly used by those with presbyopia. This an age related condition where the eyes begin to struggle to focus on anything up close. Presbyopia usually becomes noticeable in your early to mid-40s and continues to worsen until around age 65. The condition can not be reversed but can be corrected with glasses.

This difficulty usually results in people requiring glasses with two different prescriptions, one for short (reading glasses) and one for long distance. On bifocals, these two prescriptions have a distinct line between them. There is no gradual distinction between the two. You have to physically look up and down to switch between the prescriptions you need. Usually  with long distance prescription at the top and near vision at the bottom.

Progressive Lenses

Progressive lenses perform the same job as bifocals and trifocals, but in a different way. They work around the dividing lines of bifocals. This was a known inconvenience glasses wearers dealt with for many years. There is a downside of removing the dividing line between the lenses, the actual field of vision is smaller than on the regular bifocals and trifocals.

Bifocal or Varifocal: What are the benefits?

Bifocal Benefits

  • Less distortion
  • Usually more cost-effective than varifocals
  • Just need the one pair of glasses
  • Wide field of vision

Bifocal Disadvantages

  • The jump of the image when changing from close to far
  • The prismatic effect
  • Absence of intermediate vision

Varifocal Benefits

  • No distinct lines between prescriptions
  • Intermediate zones with smooth, seamless transition
  • Just need the one pair of glasses

Varifocal Disadvantages

  • Distortion
  • Unable to focus
  • Losing focus could lead to headaches or dizziness.

  Bifocal or Varifocal Lenses ?

If you’d like to know more about bifocal or varifocal glasses then our opticians in Middleton branch can talk you through and demonstrate your options. We will show you how to get the most out of your chosen lenses and find the right glasses that suit you. Choosing new glasses can sometimes feel a bit overwhelming, but at D Igoe we take pride in ensuring you choose the perfect glasses for you.


Once you have decided what lenses suit your needs best then you can choose from a range of enhancements. Would you like progressive lenses, Aspheric lenses or polycarbonate lenses. No need too worry as our optometrists will guide you all the way.

Opticians serving Stanycliffe.

Related: Types of contact lenses.

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