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Varifocals – How do they work?

The world of varifocals can be a very confusing place, there are so many different manufactures with different designs it’s sometimes difficult to know how to make the right lens choice for you. But by understanding HOW a varifocal works will make that decision much easier.

So what is a Varifocal?

 A Varifocal, or progressive, is a multifocal lens. It works by blending your distance and reading prescription into one multifunction lens. 

Representation of the zones in a varifocal

It starts with your distance prescription in the top portion of the lens. As you move further down the lens the prescription gradually increased in strength until you reach the reading prescription in the bottom of the lens.

Because there are no physical lines between the different prescriptions, areas of soft focus or blur are created at the edges of the lenses.

So why are there so many different varifocals?

There are many different quality levels when it comes to varifocals. The higher the grade of varifocal the wider the fields of view become and the smaller the soft focus gets. Simply put, the higher the quality the easier they are to use.

Comparison of different quality in varifocals

Most Varifocals only require a couple of measurements in addition to your prescription: the pupil distance and pupil height.
But when it comes to Individual varifocals we need a lot more detail! As the name suggests these lenses are designed specifically for you. We take more complex measurements such as the pantoscopic angle as well as running through some lifestyle questions. These details are used to calculate where to position the soft focus within the lens to give the widest fields of view possible. 

I’ve tried them before and didn’t get on with them; I don’t think varifocals are for me

 It’s true varifocals can be initially tricky to get the hang of and some people feel they will never get used to them. But it’s not always as simple as “they’re just not for me”, there could be more to it.

The technology involved in lens production has come on leaps and bounds in such a short space of time, it really is quite astounding. The way varifocals are made now in comparison to their original counterparts in worlds apart. Older varifocals have much narrower fields of view, and large areas of soft focus even the “better” designs. As technology has changed we’ve been able to reduce the harshness of the soft focus, eliminating the “sea sick” feeling that many patients felt.

So even if you’ve tried varifocals in the past, don’t rule them out now!

Varifocals have to be positioned exactly in order to achieve the best vision, both vertically and horizontally. If one of these measurements is out of line you won’t be looking through the correct prescription.

Varifocals are also designed to sit at certain angles in relation to your eyes. If they are sitting too flat, too steep or even too close this can push the varifocal out of line and make your vision uncomfortable.

BUT DON’T WORRY! Varifocal issues are few and far between, and the visual freedoms that they provide are more than worth a week of trying something new. We’re confident that with the correct set up you will love your varifocals!

What are the benefits of a Varifocal?

The biggest benefit of a varifocal is the ease of vision. If you wear separate distance and reading glasses you will find you regularly change your glasses for different tasks. This can become quite frustrating, especially if you have to remember to take several pairs out with you when shopping!

But by having all aspects of your prescription in one lens you take away the need to swap and change into different pairs in order to see.  

The gradual increase in prescription also means you have a prescription for many different working distances, meaning you can drive, see your computer and read all with one pair of glasses.

I’m thinking of trying them, what’s the next step?

 First you’ll need an up to date prescription. If you’ve already had your eyes tested you can bring that along, or you can contact us here to book an appointment.

I’ll then sit and discuss your vision and lifestyle with you, as well as explaining the difference in the varifocal levels (although I’m sure you’ll be an expert by now!)
One size doesn’t fit all with a varifocal lens, and by getting to know you, your hobbies and interests means that I can recommend the best lenses for your needs.

All the benefits with no risk…..

I know that moving into Varifocals can feel like a big step. That is why all of our Varifocals come with a 30 day guarantee.

30 Day Varifocal Guarantee stamp

But we’re confident that you’ll your new varifocals and won’t want to give them up!

If you have any other questions or would like to arrange a consultation you can get in touch with me here and I’ll be happy to help.