Should I Get Bifocals or Progressives for Riding my Motorcycle?

Motorcycle riders of a certain age are no different than other members of the general population.

Should I Get Bifocals or Progressives for Riding my Motorcycle?

Should I Get Bifocals or Progressives for Riding my Motorcycle?As they age, they often suffer the same vision degradation endured by anyone over the age of forty – namely, presbyopia. Presbyopia is a common visual condition in which the lens of the eye loses its elasticity and does not direct light into the retina in exactly the same way as it previously did. The result is difficulty in focusing on objects that are close to the eyes…making tasks like reading and writing more difficult without assistance.

Presbyopia is not harmful to your general vision and signals no onset of potential loss of full visual capabilities. Generally, however, it does worsen with age. There are two typical remedies for this condition:

  • The use of reading glasses, which offer a magnified view of objects held close to the eyes. These glasses are available in magnification levels of varying intensities to accommodate the individual and compensate for worsening presbyopia as the condition advances.
  • The use of bifocals or progressives, which “split” your eyeglasses into two sections. The upper portion utilizes your standard vision-correction prescription so that you can clearly see long distances, and the lower portion incorporates a field of magnification for when you look down to focus on close-in objects.

Obviously, reading glasses are not practical for motorcycle usage; once on the road, there’s no easy or safe way to switch glasses. That means bifocals or progressives are the way to go, especially if you require corrective lenses. So what’s the difference between the two formats, and which one works better on a motorcycle?

Bifocals feature a “hard line” that delineates the prescription area from the magnification area. The most common format is a “flat top” bifocal, named after that line; the magnification area is rounded on the bottom and flat on top, sort of like a letter “D” that’s been flipped over on its side. As your eyes look straight ahead, light rays pass through the prescription portion of your lenses, resulting in clear long-distance vision. As your eyes move downward to focus on in-close vision, incoming light rays pass through the magnification zone.

Progressives – also known as “no line bifocals” – are bifocals that eliminate this hard break. These lenses still feature your prescription in the upper portion and a magnification area of the appropriate strength at the bottom, but the transition from one to the other is gradual. With a progressive, you won’t have a “break” that signals lens change. The change comes progressively, in increments.

Shop Progressive Motorcycle GlassesIf you need corrective lenses to obtain proper vision while riding, and can benefit from a magnified lower-area to read your gauges, follow your GPS, focus on the road directly ahead of you, or for any in-close vision needs, a bifocal or progressive may greatly benefit you and add to your riding enjoyment. As to preference, this is entirely up to you. Some people are more comfortable with the “hard break” of a bifocal while others prefer the progressive changeover. Whichever style you prefer off the bike will suit you well on it, as well.

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