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Bifocals vs. Thick Lenses

Created on: Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Author: Dawn L. Williams, O.D. 

I spend a lot of my time explaining untruths to patients they’ve heard for many years concerning the eye and vision. One of the most commonly heard is very poor vision will require the use of bifocals. This is not an accurate statement. Let’s find out why. 
 
When a person experiences blurred vision, they likely have one of the following conditions: myopia (near-sightedness), hyperopia (far-sightedness), or astigmatism. In most cases, the use of spectacles can provide clear vision. There are varying degrees of these conditions that will dictate how thick your lenses will be. Generally speaking, the higher the value, the thicker the lenses will be. Thick lenses are not called bifocals. They are simply single vision lenses that happen to be thicker. Luckily, there are new technologies that will allow higher powered lenses to be made thinner and more lightweight. 
 
The term bifocal means to have two areas of focus. When referring to eyeglasses, it means there is correction for distance vision and another for near vision. The power and thickness of the lenses has nothing to do with your need for a bifocal. The condition that warrants the use of that type of lens is termed presbyopia. 


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