Trifocal lenses

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Trifocals are eyeglasses with lenses that have three regions which correct for distance, intermediate (arm's length), and near vision. John Isaac Hawkins developed the trifocal lens in 1827.[1]

Trifocals are mostly used by people with advanced presbyopia who have been prescribed 2 diopters or more of reading addition. The intermediate addition is normally half the reading addition. So, for someone with a distance prescription of −4 diopters and a reading addition of +3, the reading portion of their trifocals would have a net power of −1, and the intermediate segment would be −2.5 diopters.

Trifocal lenses are made in similar styles to bifocals, but with an additional segment for intermediate vision above the reading section. A common style is the 7×28 flat-top or D-shaped segment, 28 mm wide, with a 7 mm high intermediate segment. Larger intermediate segments are available, and are particularly useful for people who spend a lot of time using computers.

Trifocals are becoming rarer as more people choose to wear progressive lenses.


  1. ^ Stein, Harold A. (2012). The Ophthalmic Assistant: A Text for Allied and Associated Ophthalmic Personnel (9th ed.). Philadelphia: Elsevier Mosby. p. 205. ISBN 978-1-4557-3346-0.