Bifocals Vs. Glasses + Reading Glasses?

Updated on October 25, 2010
P.G. asks from San Antonio, TX
13 answers

Hi Moms,

I'm in my early 40's and have worn glasses and/or contact for most of my life. Recently I had my vision checked and was told that my vision hadn't "changed", but that eyes weaken with age and reading glasses would help. The doc said I could get the cheap reading glasses to wear in addition to my contacts (just for reading), or I could get bifocals. Of course, the stereotype in my head of bifocals is very negative LOL - but I know they've changed a lot and now you can't even tell if someone has them.

Does anyone out there wear bifocal glasses? How easy are they to get used to? Is it worth the expense? Should I just stick with the contacts/reading glasses combo?


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answers from Portland on

I wore contacts and loved them but about the same time I needed glasses for reading my eyes were too dry to continue wearing contacts. If I could, I would've continued to wear my contacts and used reading glasses. Bifocal contact lenses are also available now. I'd look into those before going to bifocal glasses.

I couldn't get used to bifocals and went to no line lenses which worked much better for me. One of my friends was the opposite. She couldn't get used to the no lines ones but likes the bifocals.

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from Austin on

I wear them now.. In the beginning I purchased an assortment of the "readers" for a dollar each at Target.. But I got tired of putting on and taking them off to switch out.. I was always near sighted and so I purchased some prescriptions with the bifocals that you cannot tell are bifocals (progressive).. I purchased them at Costco.. They were $150.

I also tried the bi focal contacts and did ok with them, but at night, I really had a problem with the glare on the reading portions..I could not read my phone or look at directions very well.. You can ask for one far sighted contact and one near sighted, but I knew that would drive me crazy.

When my husband purchased his glasses, he requested the type with the lines, he said he needed them to guide his eyes.. He purchased his at Costco..

Now we have discovered a place online that you can order glasses and they start at $9.95. I am not kidding.. Our daughters glasses from the regular Optical place were $600.! This summer she purchased from Zenni and they were $14.95 for one pair and the $29.95 for the other.. I am not kidding..

They have tons to choose from.. You could have them like shoes.. a pair to go with every outfit..

All you need is the prescription from your optometrist and then you fill in the info.. on line.. Check it out..

5 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

I started in bifocals last year & LOVE THEM! I went with the progressives (no-lines) & had just a few hours of light-headedness.....& that was it!

My best friend used to struggle with the combo of reading glasses & contacts.....& hated it!

I was unable to use the cheap cheaters....due to a pronounced astigmatism. .......& that's all I know! Good Luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Denver on

I get migraines so I wouldn't get the glasses with lines. I have progressives (trifocals, actually) and I really like them. They're super cute (you can get lots of styles...they just have to be big enough top-to-bottom to allow for the different focal lengths) and nobody would guess they're trifocals.

They did take a little getting used to and I still occasionally have to move my head up & down to find the 'sweet spot.' ;) But I didn't get any headaches or anything from them.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I've never had to wear glasses or contacts. I bought a pair of reading glasses at Reading Glasses to Go that worked well. Last year, my Dr. said I needed a little more power than the Reading Glasses to Go.

He prescribed progressive lens and said it would take me a bit to get used to them since I am not accustomed to glasses.

I HATE them. I kept going back to EyeMasters and they kept saying you'll get used to them. Anything to keep me from making the return within the 30 days.... big bait and switch outfit. I won't go back.

Long story short, I wasted $300. I only wear them at my computer and to read. If I walk in them I get dizzy and I would not dare approach steps with them on.

Best wishes.



answers from Seattle on

Bifocals drive me bonkers... since they limit my vision. Quite literally cutting it in half. My opthamologist let me borrow a pair for a month to try them out. My sister loves hers. I think it ends up being a "what's more irritating" question.



answers from Orlando on

Definitely a personal preference. You won't know until you try them to see if you can support them, although you are already an eyeglass wearer, so for you, 1/2 the battle is already won. For me, I have never worn glasses, and have hit the 40 mark and need them. I cannot get used to wearing glasses, it's been a year and I am just starting to use them more and more. My first pair was the progressives (tri-focal) and I could not wear them at all, I could not find "the sweet spot" and it was super annoying to have everything feel as if it were moving around. There is distance, then 2 bubbles of magnification. I would think that just regular bifocals would be easier to tolerate, but they have the visible line, so I didn't get those. I actually returned my first pair, then just got the distance, which now I use a lot to drive with. Then a few months ago, I did end up getting the progressives, again. Because I was sick of not being able to see clear, even up close, or in that "mid-range". I felt that maybe I didn't give them a good try. Well, now I have them and I try to put them on from time to time, and I still can't do it. They say that 80percent of people DO NOT get used to them, but those who can, LOVE them. SO, I would say try them. Maybe you are one of the 20percent that will love them. Also, consider how much reading you actually do, a lot? Or just a little? For me, I read a little, so grabbing readers is a better fit for me. Good luck!


answers from San Diego on

I broke my foot because of my bifocals. I first was told I needed them in Jr high, I'm 40 now. Thought I had 1 stair left...had 4. Cement stairs, can down hard. Needless to rid of them...hate them :(



answers from Amarillo on

I used to wear bifocals and could not get used to the line in the lens. I would either be stepping up before or after for the curb. What I did was go to the variview lens. It's like a cat's eye in a marble. With this type of lens you are always in focus - up close or far away - and it is really neat. I am a person who does a lot of crafts sewing and quilting and knitting and these crafts are done at different arm levels and are in focus. It might take a little bit longer to get used to them but once you do you will really enjoy them. I have been wearing this lens type for over 25 years. The other thing is that there is no line in the glass to confuse your view.

The other S.



answers from Pittsburgh on

I wear my contacts from the minute my feet hit the floor til bedtime, so reading glasses are the way to go for me. And you can get MANY at the dollar store for a buck each and keep a pair in every room, your car AND your purse, b/c the next issue is "Now, where are my reading glasses......?" LOL



answers from Phoenix on

This is truly an individual preference. I've tried both bi-focals and the progressives and could NOT get used to either. BUT, I also have inner ear damage. So returned both types within the policy date allowable.

It also depends on how much you wear the glasses and where. I don't wear contacts, never have. Only glasses for long distance. So now I'm the old lady looking over the top of my glasses to read up close.

I had wanted the progressives for out and about, w/o the big line. They just made me dizzy and fall over. Not good.

I tried the bi-focals, but then you need larger frames to accommodate the space needed to fit the 2-3 different lenses, and that gave me a headache as I'm used to very lightweight glasses, like LINK.

I would recommend you talk with another optometrist, or optician, who are not necessarily trying to make a sell and have them fill you in on the pros and cons.



answers from Tulsa on

I have bifocals and they are real easy to use too and by instinct when I cant see I tilt my head back which already puts you into bifocal area. I have no lines and I say worth the expense. the only question I would ask you to help you decide is if you go from hot to cold in glasses they fog. I am sure contacts dont do that. I also have transition lenses. and my glasses are night vision which I dont think you can that get in conatacts.



answers from Redding on

I love my bifocals.
I was set back a bit when they were suggested, thinking I was too young to be an old lady, but I absolutely love them. It was tough getting used to them at first but I wouldn't have them any other way now. I got the line bifocals to begin with because it was easier for me to tell the graduation from the difference in prescriptions. I got used to them quite easily.
I am scheduled for new lenses on the 21at and I believe I will stick with the line bifocals. Unless someone looks really closely, they can't tell the difference and I am comfortable with the deliniation.
I tried contacts and hated them. My eyes are far too sensitive and they just didn't work out for me. The bifocals have been a god send.
You can get bifocals that are invisible, but for me, the lined ones work well and I navigate them well.
Don't be worried about bifocals. I was just so happy to be able to see! They changed my life! I can't wait to get my new ones in a few weeks as I've had my other lenses for two years now. Time for a change. I have nothing but good to say about my doctor, my Rx, and my bifocals.
My glasses are pretty cute too, so I'm happy all around.

Best wishes to you!

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