What Are Multifocal Glasses and How Do They Work?


As you age, your sight may change, causing you to lose your close-up vision. This change in vision is referred to as Presbyopia. If this happens, you will need to hold the phone, tablet, menu, or a book farther away to acquire reading clarity. This eye condition is common in people over 40 but there are ways to correct the disorder. You can wear multifocal lenses which are available in the form of eyeglasses and contact lenses.

What Are Multifocals?

Multifocals have been around for a long time. Historians credit Benjamin Franklin for the invention of the original multifocal lens called the Bifocal. The glasses eliminate the need to switch between two different pairs of glasses. They contain multiple lens prescriptions in one lens allowing you to perform your daily activities without overcompensating.

Types of Multifocals

There are different types of multifocal lenses, depending on your need. They can be customized to work in different ways to accommodate your specific visual demands. They include:

  • Progressive Addition Lenses (No Line)

  • Office/Computer Lenses

  • Traditional Bifocals/Trifocals

  • Reading Glasses

How Do They Work?

The multiple prescriptions in the lenses help you see objects at different distances. As you look down the lens, the bottom part of the lens corrects your close-range vision. This allows you to easily check your email, read a book, or check your smartphone without having to strain or change to a different pair of glasses.

As you look up, the top part of the multifocal lenses helps you see at a distance. It allows you to drive, see street signs, and watch television. The different portions are almost undetectable and discreet when others look at you.

Progressive Addition Lenses or No Line

These lenses are the newest available multifocal that mimics the natural focusing of the eye as you look down the lenses. These provide a smooth change of focus from top to bottom without the demarcation line. This technology provides a clear point at every distance from fat to near.

The progressive addition lenses or no lines can be customized to a variety of viewing tasks. They can be customized to be used primarily in the workspace where the main portion of the lens allows you to see computer distance and near. There is a little distance correction, which can allow them to be worn during the entire workday without out switching between different pairs of glasses.

Traditional Bifocals

Bifocals consist of two prescriptions. There is a clear line between the two. The top part corrects your sight by allowing you to see objects at a distance. The lower part helps you see near objects. The construction of the bifocals may also be in different styles to meet different needs.

Reading Glasses

Reading glasses can be prescription but they can also be found over the counter. The do not correct the distance, but they magnify the nearby work to allow you to see better up close.


Once you get your multifocal lenses, give your brain and eyes time to adjust to them. They can be tricky as they may change how you judge depth or distance. Avoid switching between your old and new pair during this time of adjustment.

For more information on bifocals or with any questions, call Clarke EyeCare Center at either (940) 905-0700 for our office in Wichita Falls or (940) 569-4131 for our Burkburnett office.