Frequently Asked Questions


Are varifocal glasses a new type of glasses?

What are varifocal lenses?

Who would wear them and why?

Can varifocal lenses fit into any size frame?

Can I buy varifocal lenses from the internet?

Can I measure my own eyes for my PD measurements so I can buy online?

Can I get varifocal sunglasses?

Can I get Light Reactive varifocal lenses?

Are varifocal glasses a new type of glasses?

No. In 1959 the very first varifocal glasses called Varilux were invented. Over the years they have progressed and massively improved in design. Now, one of the most popular types of lenses sold world wide, being so comfortable and practical for the wearer, they have proved to be the ideal choice of everyday eyewear for millions of people. Varifocal Glasses

What are varifocal glasses?

Varifocal glasses are lenses that contain 3 different prescription powers. They contain prescriptions to correct vision in the far distance, mid distance (about an arms length away) and the near distance. There are lots of different brands and types of varifocal lenses available on the market, some of them much better than others in performance. As shown on the image below, the very basic lenses have a much narrower field of vision at all distances. Varifocal Glasses with limited vision

The better quality lenses as shown on the next image below have a much wider field of vision at all distances. Generally speaking, the better quality lenses are by far the best option as they are much more comfortable to wear, and give a clearer, wider field of vision at all distances for the wearer. Varifocal Glasses – Wider Field of View

When wearing varifocal lenses for the first time, advice from an expert in the optical industry is always preferable to trying to choose which lenses are best yourself. Some shops offer very cheap or even free varifocal lenses when you buy frames from them. This isn’t always the better option, as mentioned above, budget varifocal lenses have often been found to give a much narrower field of vision than the better quality lenses, making them impractical and uncomfortable to wear. Often, these low quality lenses end up just sitting in a drawer unworn.

Who would wear them, and why?

It might be someone who has been wearing distance glasses for some time and is now approaching middle age. Or someone who has never worn glasses previously, but when approaching middle age finds they have difficulty focusing on anything up close. Generally people around the age of 45 or over, develop an eye condition called Presbyopia.

This isn’t some dreadful eye disease, it simply means that as the Crystalline lenses in their eyes becomes more rigid with age, and most people find it difficult to focus on close objects. This natural process of decreased flexibility in the eyes is called “ Presbyopia” When Presbyopia first occurs, symptoms are holding text further away when reading, difficulties seeing small writing, and problems when trying to thread a needle. In order to see clearly at close distances again, a positive reading addition (seen as Add or Near on a prescription) is prescribed on top of the normal distance prescription. This means a different power lens is used for distance compared to reading.

In terms of spectacles, if the wearer needs a prescription for both distances, they will need either two separate pairs of glasses, one for distance and one for reading/near), or varifocals which combine both prescriptions together. As time goes on, the Crystalline lenses become more rigid, therefore the reading add (Add or Near on the prescription) has to be increased to compensate. By the age of 55-60 the lenses have lost all flexibility, and glasses are necessary for just about everyone to see up close.

Can varifocal lenses fit into any size frame?

The size of the frame is very important when considering buying varifocal lenses. Very shallow frames limit the quality of vision as the areas of the lenses are too small to fit the different prescriptions into. This results in the area of lens that contains the distance or reading prescriptions not being big enough to look through, limiting the size of the field of clear vision.

Ideally, a frame needs to be approximately 30mm deep to fit in most types of varifocal lenses. The pupils need to sit half way across the frame from left to right to avoid experiencing large amounts of distortion around the edges of the lenses. For example: If the pupils sit a lot nearer to the nose than the temple side of the lenses, the chance of peripheral distortion is greatly increased. Smaller, shallow frames are very popular just now. There are varifocal lenses available which are specially designed to fit into shallow frames. These short lenses are fine for normal everyday use, but can become a problem for anyone who needs to focus on anything at arms length for long periods of time. A perfect example would be using a computer, or reading sheet music.

To make varifocal lenses fit shallow frames, the middle section of the lenses has to be compromised. This results in the area available to see through clearly for mid distance being very small, and unpractical to use. These types of lenses are no good for computer use, or any other similar types of work.

Can I buy varifocal lenses from the internet?

Yes, but only if the online company has the exact eye measurements needed to make the lenses accurately. Caution is advisable if buying varifocal lenses online is an option you’d like to consider. There are some drawbacks and very positive aspects to buying online. The cost is normally greatly reduced compared to high street prices, but the exact eye measurements needed to make up the lenses can be a problem.

Firstly, use caution if buying online. Due to the technical complexities of varifocal lenses, be sure to speak to someone from the company to talk you through the whole process clearly. Make sure you feel comfortable to be able to ask for any advice that you need, that you are not being rushed, and have had any questions answered thoroughly, and in a manner that you completely understand. Never consider a company who is prepared to use average PD eye measurements, rather than making sure they have your own correct ones. Do they offer a no quibble guarantee, and what is their returns policy? Check out their reviews.

Are the comments specific to the person who has actually bought glasses and is sending the review, and does it appear genuine? Just general comments about service etc are usually found on the reviews written by companies who specialize in supplying false reviews for other companies. (Yes this really does happen ) For further info about the pitfalls of buying online – read this.

Can I measure my own eyes for my PD measurements so I can buy online?

Here is a link to a video showing how to accurately measure your own PD eye measurements with the help of a friend. The way PD ‘s are measured on the video is fine for single vision lenses like distance or reading glasses. Just make sure that when you speak to someone about your lenses on the phone, you say if the glasses are for reading or distance vision.
The PD measurement for reading lenses is slightly different to distance lenses, but can easily be worked out by the people glazing the lenses if a normal PD measurement is given as shown in the video. Just follow the instructions carefully and you will be fine to buy your lenses online. Buying varifocal lenses online is slightly different. Follow the instructions shown on the video, but you might be asked to then leave the dots on the lenses and send your frame complete with dots. This way the position of your pupils in the lenses can be double checked for accuracy. Be sure to speak to someone personally though, and follow the advice above regarding buying varifocal lenses online.

Can I get varifocal sunglasses?

Yes. Most brands and types of varifocal lenses can be tinted as sunglass lenses. Some of the thinner lenses can be difficult to tint, but there is usually an option available to you whatever your prescription. Tints vary from very light shades, to darker shades, and graduated tints which are normally a dark at the top of the lenses, graduating to a light shade, or completely clear at the bottom of the lenses.

Can I get light reactive varifocal lenses?

Yes. Also known as Transitions, Photochromic, Reactions, Reactolite. These lenses all react to the UV in the sun. The lenses will all be completely clear when indoors, and go dark when exposed to the UV from the sun when outdoors. Varifocal light reactive lenses are very popular as most people find them very practical for everyday wear. Having just one pair of glasses is ideal as they are suitable to be worn on most occasions, taking away the need to carry more than one pair of glasses.

When these types of lenses are at their darkest, most brands will be fairly dark, suitable for most sunny weather conditions. Normal over the counter sunglasses, and prescription sunglasses will go a shade darker than light reactive lenses, if very darker lenses are preferable.

If sunglasses are needed for when doing a lot of driving, solid tint sunglasses would be a better option. This is because light reactive lenses won’t be as effective when driving as most modern cars windscreens have a UV filter built into them. This filter prevents the lenses from going very dark when worn in the car compared to when wearing them outside. If you would like to comment on this post, please click on the comments link below the title. If you would like to share this post then please pick on the share button of your choice – Thank you.







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