Trifocal Eyeglass Lenses

7 sources cited
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What Are Trifocal Glasses?

Trifocals are multifocal eyewear that offer different lens corrections. Visible lines divide the lens into three segments, including:

  • Distance vision. This could include driving or looking at a whiteboard.
  • Intermediate vision. Card playing and staring at the computer screen fall within this range of vision.
  • Near vision. Close-up reading is a common example.

This type of multifocal glasses corrects eye conditions like presbyopia and cataracts. 

Types of Glasses Lenses

Types of Trifocal Lenses

The are two main types of trifocal lenses available, including:

  • Flat top trifocal lenses. The near and intermediate vision zones are arranged in a D-shape. This shape allows for improved peripheral vision. These lenses are usually easy for people to adjust to.
  • Executive trifocal lenses. The intermediate zone of this lens is thinner than flat top trifocals. They may take longer to get used to wearing.
  • Progressive lenses. Progressive lenses aren't exactly trifocal lenses. They correct the same problems but don't have "hard lines." Many people prefer progressive lenses over trifocals. However, they are typically more expensive.

Where to Buy Trifocal Glasses

Warby Parker

Warby Parker is our favorite independent online retailer. Their customer service is unbeatable. The ordering process is much simpler than most other online retailers.

In addition, they design, source, and manufacture all of their frames and materials in-house. The result is high-quality, affordable eyewear. Warby Parker offers progressive and bifocal lenses.

Warby Parker offers progressive and bifocal lenses in stylish, high-quality, affordable frames.

Warby Parker Logo


GlassesUSA has a huge catalog of eyeglasses. They carry everything from budget to designer frames, so there's a pair for everyone. They also offer progressive and bifocal lenses at a slightly lower price than Warby Parker.

GlassesUSA has the largest selection of frames on the market. They also offer progressive and bifocal lenses.

GlassesUSA Square Logo

What Vision Problems Can Trifocal Eyeglass Lenses Correct?

Trifocals can provide vision correction for some eye conditions, including:


People's eyesight starts to deteriorate between the ages of 40 and 60. The eye’s natural lens no longer retains flexibility and cannot focus near. This is known as presbyopia or age-related farsightedness.

Wearing trifocals can help correct blurred vision, eye strain, and headaches. 


Aging or other factors like diabetes may cloud the eye’s lens, known as cataracts. Objects and surroundings may appear blurry, distorted, or less colorful when the lens is unclear.

However, a trifocal intraocular lens (IOL) placed during cataract surgery can resolve cataracts. Implanting this artificial lens replacement may lower the chances of needing glasses post-surgery.

cataracts scaled e1598035826129

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 30.1 million Americans aged 40 years and older are estimated to have at least a cataract in one eye. 

Pros and Cons of Trifocals

Trifocal lenses offer both advantages and disadvantages. Some of those benefits include:

  • Three different ranges of vision
  • Better focus at a distance of an arm’s length
  • Easy adjustment from standard bifocals or other eyewear 
  • Clear up blurry images
  • Easy to maintain and clean; no special cleaning solution is needed

Some of the drawbacks include:

  • Visible lines across the lenses
  • Limited customization options
  • Possible need to change eye prescription with age 
  • Not easy to customize to individual needs
  • Takes time to adapt and adjust, especially for people with severe presbyopia

Trifocals vs. Bifocal Lenses

Bifocal Lens - Vision Center

Trifocals and bifocal lenses are similar because both types usually have lines to distinguish different vision ranges. Bifocals correct distance vision problems in two segments (bottom half for reading and top half for far vision).

Trifocal Lens - Vision Center

Trifocal lenses, however, offer three viewing zones for better overall sight.

Eye care professionals may recommend the usage of bifocals or other multifocal lenses to treat myopia in children. Previous studies have demonstrated that using such lenses contributes to minimal reductions in myopia progression. 

What Is The Difference Between Trifocals And Progressive Lenses?

Trifocal Lens - Vision Center

Trifocals have noticeable lines that run across lenses. This can lead to an “image jump.” This occurs when there is a sudden change in clarity and the perceived position of an object in sight.

Progressive Lens - Vision Center

Progressive lenses do not have lines and are much more gradual from one prescription segment to the next. Also, because there are no lines, progressive lenses tend to have a more aesthetically pleasing look than trifocals.

Progressive lenses are more expensive than trifocals. Progressive lenses provide better sight at different ranges of vision without any obstruction caused by lines. 

Progressives take some time to get used to. No visible lines mean no visual guidance for the eyes.  

It will take time to learn to perform different tasks. Because of this, some may experience nausea or feel off-balanced during the learning period. 

Vision Center recommends progressive lenses from Warby Parker.

When Are Multifocal Contact Lenses Necessary?

Multifocal contact lenses are available for those not interested in wearing trifocal eyeglasses regularly. It is important to speak with an eye care professional to determine if such contact lenses are the most suitable option. 

As with any contact lens, there is an increased risk of developing an eye infection. 

How Much Do Trifocal Glasses Cost?

Trifocal lenses are more expensive than average single-vision lenses. Costs of trifocals will vary according to an individual’s prescriptions and needs. For example, progressive lenses that offer three different vision ranges can amount to $260.

This price can be even higher with material customization and additional coatings like anti-scratch or anti-reflection. 

If you are considering buying trifocal eyewear, you must consult your eye care specialist and learn more about the costs, benefits, and alternatives. 

Best Places to Buy Glasses

Best Overall

Warby Parker has stylish, high-quality frames at affordable prices.

Also Great

Liingo Eyewear is another great option to buy glasses online.

Best on a Budget

EyeBuyDirect has a wide variety of budget frames starting at $6.

Best Places to Buy Contacts

Best Overall

1-800 Contacts is our #1 recommendation to buy contacts online.

Also Great
glasses usa logo

GlassesUSA has a huge selection of contacts, glasses, & sunglasses.

7 Cited Research Articles
  1. Alcon's Trifocal IOL Makes U.S. Debut.American Academy of Ophthalmology, 2019.
  2. Bizer, Wayne F. “What Is the Difference between No-Line Bifocals, Progressive Bifocals and Trifocals?American Academy of Ophthalmology, 2018.
  3. Common Eye Disorders and Diseases.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2020.
  4. Dry Eye Syndrome PPP - 2018.American Academy of Ophthalmology, Nov.
  5. How to Get the Best Eyeglass Lenses.Consumer Reports, 2016.
  6. Kitchen, Clyde K. “Fact and Fiction of Healthy Vision.Google Books, Google.
  7. Pros and Cons of Progressive Lenses.American Academy of Ophthalmology, 2020.
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