No-Line Bifocals vs. Lined Bifocals

No-Line Bifocals vs. Lined Bifocals

Did you know that Benjamin Franklin is credited with inventing lined bifocals? With age, he began having difficulty seeing both far away and up close. Rather than use two pairs of glasses, this ingenious man came up with his own solution: two types of lenses that fit into one frame.

Franklin’s problem was a common one. Like millions of Americans today, he suffered with presbyopia, a natural result of the aging process, where the eye lens loses flexibility. It’s mostly seen in people over 40, and can cause blurred vision, eyestrain, headaches and fatigue.

If you’re having similar issues, you know how frustrated Ben must have been. Fortunately, relief is easier now than it was back in the 18th century. The solution to your dual vision needs is as close as your neighborhood optical shop, where you’ll find you may choose from lined bifocals or no-line bifocals.

What Are Bifocals?

Bifocal lenses divide the viewing area into two parts: the upper section is for distance, and a segment below corrects up-close vision. Bifocals eliminate the need for a second pair of glasses by combining two different prescriptions into one lens. A total of four prescriptions can be incorporated into a single pair of eyeglasses, for custom vision correction on each eye.

Two Types of Bifocals

Today’s eyeglass wearer has more options than ever. With bifocal lenses, you may choose between lined and no-line bifocals, each with distinct differences.

Traditional Lined Bifocal Lenses

Standard lined bifocals offer far-distance correction in the main part of the lens, with a smaller area below for near-vision correction. This section may be half-moon-shaped, round, rectangular or it can take up the entire bottom half of the lens.

Bifocals are fitted so that the line is even with your lower eyelid. When using lined bifocal lenses, you look up and through the distance portion of the lens when viewing objects far away, and down when viewing objects or reading materials up close – typically about 18 inches away.

Traditional lined bifocals have both pros and cons:


  • Lined bifocal lenses are less expensive than no-line alternatives.
  • Vision is clear throughout the entire lens area.
  • The reading area is much larger in lined bifocals.
  • Distortion is minimized when looking out the sides of the upper and lower lens.


  • Images may seem to “jump” as your eye moves across the boundary between distance and near vision.
  • Using lined bifocals for computer work can force the wearer to tilt the head back and experience neck strain.
  • The visible line bothers some people, because it “advertises” that they are of a certain age.

No-Line Bifocals

No-line bifocals are also known as progressive lenses. They offer far-, near- and middle-distance vision correction without any visible lines.

With no-line bifocal lenses, you still look up for corrected distance vision, but you can also look straight ahead for viewing objects in the intermediate zone, such as a computer screen. For reading, knitting and close-up work, look through the bottom of the lens.

No-line bifocals also have pros and cons:


  • No-line bifocal lenses eliminate “image jump,” with a smoother transition from one focal point to another
  • There are no lines to give away your need for age-related vision correction.
  • They provide a more natural correction of presbyopia.
  • Using a computer is easier, with mid-range vision correction and no neck strain.


  • Progressive lenses may take time to adjust to. However, designs have improved and many wearers find they are comfortable with the lenses almost immediately.
  • Distortion on the sides can lead to dizziness or loss of peripheral vision.
  • The field of view for reading may be smaller in no-line bifocals.
  • No-line bifocals are more expensive.

How to Choose the Right Lenses for You

How can you decide whether traditional lined or no-line bifocals are right for you? Your first step in the process should be to see your eye care professional. Your optometrist can help you determine whichprogressive lens glasses will work best to correct your vision. Some are made specifically for heavy computer use, while other styles have larger reading areas.

Your eye care practitioner is trained to help with proper fit – another vital aspect of choosing bifocals. It’s important that no-line bifocals are seated straight and high on your nose, for more comfort and better vision.

Whether You Choose Lined or No-Line Bifocals, Choose the Eye Shop

Today, when it comes to eyeglasses, we’re much more fortunate than Ben Franklin. No longer are you limited to just one solution for presbyopia. You may choose either lined or no-line progressive lenses to suit your needs and lifestyle.

When you’re ready to improve both your up close and distance vision, make an appointment to see your eye care practitioner. If you’re seeking an optometrist in Clearwater, Florida, the Eye Shop of Downtown Clearwater can handle of all of your vision care in a convenient neighborhood location. The skilled and dedicated staff at the Eye Shop is ready to help you choose the right lens, along with the perfect eyeglass frames to suit your personal style.

The Eye Shop staff is led by a Board Certified Ophthalmologist, so you can be sure you’re placing your vision care in the right hands. It’s easy to schedule an eye exam with our professional optometrist. Plus, we offer a full range of great-looking designer frames, prescription sunglasses, contact lenses, sports glasses and more. You’ll also receive personalized service from Pamela Rowan, owner and fashion and retail director of the Eye Shop, who will provide expert advice on choosing the perfect frame to suit any budget.

Stop by the optical boutique at the Eye Shop of Downtown Clearwater. Our friendly staff is ready to help you see your best, care for your vision health and look great in the perfect pair of glasses. Call 727-807-1174 to schedule an eye examination. We’re located at 432 Cleveland Street in Downtown Clearwater. For more information, visit