Do I Need Bifocals or Trifocals?

As we reach our 40s, it becomes more likely that our vision starts to change. It usually happens slowly, but eventually you may develop presbyopia, an inability to focus on objects near you. Whether you’re wearing glasses or not, when you develop presbyopia, you will have to start deciding if things like bifocals or trifocals will be best suited to help. But, how do you decide which one works best for you?

To get help with presbyopia and other vision correction problems, you’ll need the help of experienced specialists. Dr. Brittni Rodriguez and the staff at Harlem VistaSite Eye Care have the specialized experience to help you with presbyopia and other eye related problems. 

How does presbyopia work?

Presbyopia is caused by a hardening of the lens of your eye, which naturally happens as you age. Between the ages of 40 and 65, most people are at risk of developing presbyopia, which over time makes it harder for you to focus on nearby objects. If you’re holding your book or magazine farther away from you to see the words, there’s a good chance you’re dealing with presbyopia. 

You may also get blurred vision at you normal reading distances or eye strain from doing work closeup. You can be tested for presbyopia, and once it’s confirmed you can go for glasses, contact lenses or surgery. But if you go with glasses... 

When do you need bifocals?

Bifocals are lenses that have 2 separate zones of vision: one for close distance and one for far distance. Usually, the top section covers the long distance vision and the bottom covers the reading section. 

With traditional bifocal lenses, you can see the difference in the two lenses as the lower section is curved a bit differently. When you are diagnosed with presbyopia and glasses are recommended, bifocals are often the first choice

But bifocals can be difficult for intermediate vision, for things not quite close enough for the reading section of the lens, but not quite far enough for the distance section of the lens. For that you may need to consider the trifocal lens. 

When do you need trifocals?

Trifocals were invented to deal with the issues of the lack of intermediate vision (usually an arm's length) that come with bifocals. The third section is located just above the near distance section (reading section) of the lens, which gives the trifocal its name. Like bifocals, trifocals have visible lines for each section of the lens. So if bifocals aren’t enough to cover all 3 fields of vision, trifocals is the next option.

Whether you need bifocals or trifocals will depend on the severity of your presbyopia. Diabetes and some drugs can increase the risk of presbyopia and may also affect whether bifocals or trifocals are better your specific needs.

If you think you’re suffering from presbyopia and don’t know what you need to correct it, make an appointment with Dr. Rodriguez and Harlem VistaSite Eye Care to help you with your vision needs. 

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