Are Varifocals for You?

Varifocal lenses are more commonly known as progressive lenses (probably one reason is to avoid mixing them up with camera lenses). These type of lenses have two different lens power needs for reading and for distance. The distance prescription is put on the bottom of the lens and gradually shifts to the reading prescription on the top of the frame. Progressive lenses have smooth transition and do not have lines in between prescriptions.

Progressive lenses replace the need of getting two different glasses for different activities which can be a chore to carry around and change in case you have to read a document’s fine print then try to find the right person to submit the document to. This also means a big cut on the cost of having to get two pairs of glasses as you already have everything you need in one.

Varifocals also let the wearer enjoy a continuous field of vision because of the absence of the line in between prescription. This helps your eyes to shift between powers smoothly because there is no sudden jump to a different focus. This makes progressive lenses easy to adjust and get used to. The line in between prescriptions in bifocals can also be very visible and distracting. Some people have reported extra eye fatigue that contributes more to deterioration of vision.

However, progressive lenses are not for everyone and there are people who are not tolerant to progressive lenses. As these lenses have two powers, it requires a careful placement of the prescriptions on the lens so the wearer can comfortably shift prescriptions. Progressive lenses cost less than two different eyeglasses but they are dispensed at a much higher price than bifocals.

If you are considering progressive lenses on your next glasses, it pays to make sure you discuss it with your optometrist or ophthalmologist so they can make recommendations. Progressive lenses have an accommodation period for the brain to adapt to them. This can go range from a few hours to a few weeks in different patients. If the adjustment pains are bothering you, you can remove the glasses for a short period of time. Never opt to use an old prescription or lens design as this will only increase your adaptation period. Varifocals also limit your peripheral field of vision because of a slight distortion and this is more noticeable when your frames are smaller.

Progressive lenses can be either be a convenience or a hassle depending on your lifestyle and preference. They are not cheap, too. So make sure to check with your eye doctor before getting one so you get the most value for your money.