One of the main problems with bifocal and trifocal lenses is the problem of eye fatigue. It is difficult to switch from one focusing power to another. It can make your eyes tired, and it can even lead to a headache, sore neck and sore back.
A recent variation of bifocals and trifocals is the no-line lens or progressive lens. No-lines provide a smooth transition from focusing on nearby to focusing on distant objects because they do not have a distinct line which separates the focusing powers. Instead, a gradual change in power allows the wearer to focus on objects at all distances. Distant objects are viewed through the upper portion of the lens, while near objects are viewed through the middle or lower portion of the lens. These are also great for computer users.
For many people, different lenses are needed for seeing at different distances. Bifocal lenses allow the wearer to look through two areas of the lens. One area focuses on distant objects. The other is used for reading. A little-known fact is that bifocals were invented by Benjamin Franklin, and his style of bifocals are still available today. Most of the time the “reading” area is smaller, shaped like a sideways “D”, and found in the lower hemisphere of the lens. These bifocals are called line bifocals or flat-tops.
If you are focusing on distant objects, you look through the top half of the lenses. To read a book, magazine, or newspaper, you look through the “reading” area. The Franklin style lenses are less common, and are split horizontally down the middle of each lens. One thing that is difficult about using bifocals is dealing with the line between the two vision areas. Fortunately, recent technologies have developed a new type of lens, called the no-line, or progressive, lens.
Bifocals allow the wearer to read through one area of the lens, and to focus on distant objects through another area of the lens. As the eyes age, though, a stronger prescription is often needed to read. This would be fine, but the stronger prescription that allows for reading makes it difficult to focus on objects at intermediate distances, such as grocery items on a shelf or your speedometer. Thus, trifocals are necessary for a third prescription for intermediate focusing.
Trifocals, also known as line trifocals, feature three areas of focusing power, each separated from the other by a distinct line. The three windows allow for focusing on distant objects, intermediately distanced objects, and for reading. The downside of trifocals is dealing with the lines between the different focusing powers. Fortunately, recent advances in technology have led to developments in no-line, or progressive lenses.
There are different lenses for just about everybody. No matter what your particular need, there is probably a specialty lens designed for you. For example, a specialty lens that is becoming increasingly useful is designed for computer users. Computer lenses have “windows” designed for viewing your computer screen, documents on your desk, and distant objects. The lenses are designed to reduce Computer Vision Syndrome, or CVS, which is characterized by headaches, eye strain, neck and back aches, dry eyes, blurred vision, and double vision.
Another example is called the double D-segment lens, also known as the double flat-top lens. If you look through most of the lens, you can focus on distant objects. But you can also look through a D-shaped segment near the top of the lens to see nearby overhead objects more clearly. This is very useful if you are involved in work where you are looking at nearby objects above your field of vision, as with carpenters and pilots. The D-shaped segment near the bottom of the lens allows for reading.