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What are the problems with bifocals?

Bifocals have long been a popular solution for correcting vision problems associated with both near and far distances. However, despite their widespread use, they come with a set of challenges that can impact daily life. At Tersigni Vision we understand the importance of clear vision and the frustrations that come with traditional bifocals. In this article, we discuss common issues faced by bifocal users and explore how these types of glasses might not always be the clear-cut solution they seem to be.

7 Most Common Problems With Bifocals

Bifocal glasses can help with different vision needs, like seeing up close and far away, but they’re not perfect. The most common problems with bifocals include:

  1. Adaptation Period: It can take a couple of weeks to get used to bifocal glasses. Initially, wearers may struggle to look through the correct section of the lens for different activities, such as using the lower portion for reading a newspaper and the upper portion for driving.
  2. Bifocal Line Issues: The bifocal line should be at the same level as the bottom eyelid to ensure proper vision for reading or close-up work when glancing down. If the bifocal line is too high, it can result in inadequate distance vision. Adjustments may be needed by an eye doctor to lower the bifocal line or to switch to progressive lenses, which do not have a visible line.
  3. Image Jumping: Wearers might experience “image jumping” or trouble remembering where to look through each lens during the initial adaptation period, affecting their visual perception.
  4. Peripheral Vision: With bifocals, some users become more aware of the frame’s rim in their peripheral vision, which can be distracting until they get used to it. This issue highlights the importance of optics in eyeglass prescription design.
  5. Computer Use: Traditional bifocals are not very user-friendly for prolonged computer work, which can lead to headaches and neck strain. Solutions include using dedicated computer glasses or no-line bifocals and addressing the need for specific corrective lens adjustments for accommodation and refraction.
  6. Reduced Edge-Contrast Sensitivity and Depth Perception: Bifocal glasses can lead to reduced edge-contrast sensitivity and depth perception, increasing the risk of tripping and falling, especially on stairs. This is particularly important for older adults, who are more likely to experience falls due to multifocal glasses. This underscores the complex relationship optometry and ophthalmology face in addressing signs and symptoms of refractive error.
  7. Night Vision Symptoms: Bifocals are presumed to carry higher risks, such as increased night vision symptoms and decreased visual quality, compared to single-vision glasses, a concern for patients with far-sightedness or near-sightedness.

At Tersigni Vision, we know that bifocals might not be the best fit for everyone. That’s why we offer different vision correction options like Custom Lens Replacement, also called Refractive Lens Exchange. This advanced treatment can correct various vision problems, potentially eliminating the need for bifocals, trifocal lenses, or progressive lenses. With treatments customized for each person’s eyes, Tersigni Vision aims to give you clear vision that fits your life better without the downsides of traditional bifocals.

What are the alternatives to bifocal glasses?

Recognizing the need for more permanent and comfortable solutions to presbyopia, Tersigni Vision offers innovative alternatives customized to enhance your vision without the inconveniences of traditional bifocal glasses or contact lenses, such as CLR and RLE.

One of the advanced treatments we provide is Custom Lens Replacement (CLR), also called Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE). This procedure involves replacing the eye’s natural lens with a custom artificial intraocular lens (IOL) designed to correct vision at multiple distances. CLR is a permanent solution that aims to free you from dependency on bifocals or reading glasses.

Another option available at Tersigni Vision is Blended LASIK, a proven technique specifically designed to address presbyopia. This procedure adjusts one eye primarily for distance vision while fine-tuning the other for near to intermediate vision, achieving a balance that allows for clear vision at various distances. This method, often referred to as Monovision LASIK, is carefully customized to match your visual acuity needs and lifestyle, providing a glasses-free solution to presbyopia.

Both Custom Lens Replacement and Blended LASIK are performed by our skilled surgeon, leveraging the latest technology to ensure safety and precision. These procedures not only aim to correct presbyopia but also enhance the overall quality of life by offering an escape from the daily hassles of bifocal glasses.

Choosing the right alternative to bifocals depends on various factors, including your vision needs, lifestyle, and eye health. At Tersigni Vision, we’re committed to guiding you through this decision-making process, providing a comprehensive eye examination and personalized recommendations. By opting for RLE or Blended LASIK, you’re embracing a future with clearer, more dynamic visual perception tailored specifically to your life.

Come see what you’re missing.

More FAQs About The Problems With Bifocals

Why do I experience dizziness with bifocals?

Dizziness is a common issue when adjusting to bifocals due to the different lens powers for near and far vision. If dizziness persists, exploring alternatives like Refractive Lens Exchange or Blended LASIK could provide a more seamless visual transition without the discomfort associated with bifocals.

Can bifocals cause headaches?

Yes, bifocals can cause headaches as your eyes and brain adjust to the new visual zones. This is typically temporary. If headaches continue, it may be worth considering more permanent solutions like Refractive Lens Exchange or Blended LASIK, which can address the need for bifocals and potentially reduce or eliminate these headaches.

Do bifocals worsen presbyopia over time?

No, bifocals do not worsen presbyopia. They are designed to correct vision affected by presbyopia. However, presbyopia progresses naturally with age. At Tersigni Vision, we offer Refractive Lens Exchange and Blended LASIK, providing a more stable long-term solution compared to bifocals.

How long does it take to adjust to bifocals?

Adjustment times vary, but many people adapt to bifocals within a few weeks. If the adjustment period extends beyond a few weeks, alternatives like Refractive Lens Exchange or Blended LASIK at Tersigni Vision may offer a more comfortable visual experience.

Why do I struggle with depth perception when wearing bifocals?

The transition zone in bifocals can alter depth perception as your eyes switch between different lens powers. This can affect activities requiring precise depth judgment. Tersigni Vision’s Blended LASIK or RLE procedures may minimize or eliminate these issues by providing a more uniform field of vision.

Can bifocals affect balance?

Yes, the adjustment to viewing through bifocals can temporarily impact your balance and spatial awareness, especially on stairs or uneven surfaces. Tersigni Vision recommends a cautious approach during the adaptation period. For those who continue to struggle, our Refractive Lens Exchange or Blended LASIK surgeries might offer a more stable solution without the bifocal transition.

Why does text appear blurry in my bifocals?

Blurry text can result from not properly aligning your eyes with the correct part of the bifocal lens. This issue is often resolved with practice and proper fitting. However, if the problem persists, Tersigni Vision can assess your vision needs and discuss whether Refractive Lens Exchange or Blended LASIK would be more effective for you.

Are bifocals supposed to make things look smaller?

Bifocals can slightly alter the size perception of objects, especially when looking through the reading portion of the lens. This effect is due to the lens power needed for near-vision correction. If this becomes bothersome, Tersigni Vision’s advanced vision correction procedures, like Refractive Lens Exchange, can provide a more natural visual experience.

How can I tell if my bifocals are incorrectly fitted?

Incorrectly fitted bifocals can cause discomfort, headaches, or inadequate vision correction. Signs include having to tilt your head unnaturally to see clearly or bifocal lenses that sit too high or low. Schedule a comprehensive eye exam with your eye doctor to ensure your eyewear fits perfectly or to discuss if you’re a candidate for procedures like Refractive Lens Exchange or Blended LASIK for a more permanent fix.

Will switching from bifocals to progressive lenses help?

Progressive lenses offer a gradient of vision correction without visible lines, which some find easier to adapt to than bifocals. However, they also require an adjustment period and may not suit everyone. At Tersigni Vision, we provide personalized consultations to explore alternatives like Refractive Lens Exchange and Blended LASIK to help you find the best solution for your vision needs.

Posted on June 12, 2024

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Dr. Steven Tersigni is a refractive surgeon offering LASIK and five LASIK alternatives in the Portland, Oregon area. In addition to providing customized care to each of his patients, Dr. Tersigni is an educator and researcher He obtained both his medical degree and a master's degree in public health from Tulane University. He has been published in national journals and has been involved in 10 U.S. FDA trials.