Choosing Reading Glasses, Bifocals or Progressives for Presbyopia

A natural part of the aging process is presbyopia — farsightedness resulting from a loss of elasticity in the eye lens. Eventually, eye muscles tire out and cannot expand and contract as easily as they used to. The result: the inability to clearly focus on close objects. Things like reading menus, pill bottles or books becomes increasingly difficult.

Depending on your vision pre-presbyopia, you have a few options:

Reading Glasses:

For people who have never needed prescription eyewear prior to developing presbyopia, single vision reading glasses is all that’s required to correct the problem. These glasses will only be required when reading at a close range, as distance vision is not affected.

When someone who has never needed glasses before develops presbyopia, they often purchase pre-fabricated reading glasses from their local corner stores, pharmacies or big box retailers. These glasses come in a few different magnifications, but there is no licensed optician to fit the glasses to the individual or to ensure that the magnification is correct. Without an eye exam and a proper prescription, the wearer will be prone to headaches, eyestrain and nausea from pre-fabricated reading glasses.


For those that required glasses prior to developing presbyopia, many choose to wear bifocals. A bifocal lens has two different prescriptions in one lens, allowing a person to see clearly at a distance and at close range. The bottom portion of the lens corrects vision for close range, while the top portion corrects vision for distance. Depending on preference, there are a few different options for bifocal lens configuration:

  • Half-moon configuration
  • Round segment
  • Ribbon segment
  • Franklin or executive style (seen above)

Your licensed optician can review the different styles of bifocal lenses and help you determine which option is best for you.

Progressive Lenses:
Progressive lens glasses are multifocal, meaning there is a seamless progression from one prescription to the next. Unlike bifocals, there is no hard line (visible or invisible) between the different powers, but a corridor that runs vertically down each lens.

Using progressive lenses cuts down on the image jump that can occur when wearing bifocals, where vision cuts and “jumps” as your eye passes over the line to the other prescription.

Hakim Optical has been committed to providing our customers with fast and simple eye care solutions since 1967. Our expert staff, one-hour labs and low prices combine for a complete experience.

If you’re looking for bifocals or reading glasses, stop by any one of our 161 locations to see the selection that we have available.

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