Do I have to have progressive/multifocal lenses?

No, you don’t if you don’t want to.

A customer questioned recently if they had to purchase multifocal or progressive lenses if the optometrist had written that on the prescription?  The short answer is, No.  But you should consider why the optometrist wanted you to wear progressive or multifocal lenses.  In the vast majority of cases it is due to the need for a different prescription for viewing the distance as opposed to reading up close.

The fellow that initially posed this question had previously tried multifocal lenses and couldn’t wear them for work.  He did quite a bit of welding and had to get into all sorts of tight spots to weld and found that the near portion of the lens wasn’t where he needed it to be.  In this case a pair of single vision safety glasses made for near would generally be very helpful.  Though you should understand that you will not be able to see clearly in the distance while wearing them.

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