How to Choose Multifocal Glasses?

Multifocal lenses accommodate a range of different lens powers so that you can see objects at all distances without having to switch between two different pairs of glasses. The multifocal category includes two major types of glasses: Bifocals, which offer two lens powers, and progressive lenses, which offer more lens powers by using a gradual shift from the top to bottom of the lens. Get the most mileage from your multifocal by learning how to choose the right pair for your needs.


Multifocal lenses work well if you need vision correction for objects that are far away, up close, and everything in between. If you need glasses for reading and for driving, you could benefit from bifocals or progressives. If you only need glasses for reading or for driving, you probably don’t need multifocal.

If your prescription contains other numbers in the additional or near vision value (sometimes abbreviated as ADD or N.V., respectively), you are a good fit for multifocal. If your prescription has numbers next to the PAL column, then you already have a prescription for progressive additive lenses and should consider progressive lenses.

Bifocals have a clear, defining line across the lens. Progressive glasses do not have this line and may look more like fashion glasses as a result.


Progressive glasses have zones for seeing intermediate, near, and far objects. Depending on your specific vision problems, you may need to pick a certain lens style that best meets your needs. Our optometrist can work with you to pick the right lens style for your vision and find a frame that you like that will accommodate your lens.

Not all frames can accommodate multifocal lenses. Frames that have a very low height cannot comfortably accommodate more than one vision power. Frames that can be worn with progressive lenses and bifocals can be found both online and in stores. Our staff can also point you toward the right frames.

Would you try progressive lenses or bifocals? If so, why or why not?