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November 10, 2022

Bifocals for Kids

5 Common Questions From Parents, AnsweredBifocal lenses for kids


Why does my child need bifocals?

Children experience several common eyesight problems, and they can each have deep and lasting effects on their performance, mood, and overall well-being. Bifocals are prescribed by an eye doctor to remediate the issues.

Common reasons for needing bifocals include:

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What are bifocals?

Bifocal lenses contain two corrective prescriptions for viewing long distances and short distances. The need for bifocals is often associated with aging, but it’s still common for children to require them. An ophthalmologist is able to diagnose and prescribe the right bifocal lenses. 

How will bifocals help my child?

Bifocals correct issues associated with the eyes’ internal, biological lenses for both near and longer distances. Vision problems can reduce your child’s productivity in the classroom and frustrate attempts at athletics and social situations. Warning signs such as using a finger to trace words while reading, frequent squinting, amblyopia (lazy eye), and reoccurring headaches indicate your child may need corrective eyewear.

Types of bifocals

Traditional bifocals and progressive bifocals are the two main types of bifocal lenses.

Traditional bifocals

These bifocals contain two separate lenses in a single lens plate. A visible line of demarcation runs between them. One lens at the bottom of the lens plate provides assistance for close-up activities like reading – think of the D or half-moon shape seen at the bottom of some lenses. The lens at the top contains a prescription to view objects at greater distances.

Progressive bifocals

Unlike traditional bifocal lenses, there is no line of demarcation between lens strengths. They provide a seamless transition between viewing distances.

When does my child need to wear bifocals?

Your child should wear his or her prescribed bifocals whenever it's necessary to maintain focus on an object. Sometimes a child’s eyesight can be trained and corrected by bifocals after sustained use, but it’s always important to listen to your child’s eye doctor about when (and how often) to use bifocals.

How frequently does my child need an eye exam?

It’s important for your child to have an eye exam before the age of one, another before the age of three, and before starting kindergarten. Afterward, schedule an eye exam for your child every couple of years. That way, problems with eyesight can be detected, diagnosed, and corrected with the proper eye prescription. Your doctor may recommend more or less frequent visits.

Age Eye Exam Frequency
6-12 months Once
2-3 years Once
4-5 years Once
6+ years Annually
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