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Making the move to varifocals

Varifocal lenses offer a practical solution for people who need glasses to correct both their near and distance vision. Instead of switching between two pairs you get all the help you need in one.

Technically known as progressive lenses, they vary in power depending which part you are looking through. They are fitted so that, for distance vision you look through the top 

of the lens and as your gaze moves down the lens power changes, with the correct prescription for reading towards the bottom of the lens. There is no jump between the two as with bifocals.

The team at Patrick & Menzies will spend time talking to you about how you will use your glasses to judge which lenses will work best for you.

How do varifocals work?

Varifocal lenses have surfaces made to a complicated curvature. The top (distance) area on the lens will be relatively flat and as you move down the lens becomes more curved to give the different reading power. When you look towards the lower edges of the lenses you may notice your view looks distorted, more so the further you get to the edge. This can take some adaptation; however most people adapt very well, especially if the lens is of good quality and your frames are well fitted.

What’s the benefit?

For many people with both distance and near prescriptions, swapping between two pairs of glasses just isn’t practical. For example, if you work as a receptionist, you may repeatedly need to switch between using a computer and helping customers. Even if you are just shopping you would need glasses to see where you are going and a different pair when looking at items on the shelves.

Is it hard to adjust to varifocals?

When you start wearing varifocals, they do feel different to single vison spectacles, all of a sudden you have to learn to look through the right section of the lens. But remember, 

lens manufacturers have been designing and refining these lenses since 1959, studying 

people’s behaviour and exactly how they use their glasses. These days varifocals are 

easier to adapt to than ever before. Like any change there is normally a period of adjustment, but people often over-worry about varifocals, and then find it much easier than they imagined.

If you are wearing your glasses for most of the day, you should find you have adapted to varifocals within a couple of weeks of constant wear. If you are still having significant problems after two weeks of wearing them then come back to see us so we can understand what is going on and how we can help solve the issue.

I use a computer a lot – are varifocals right for me?

People who spend a lot of time working at a screen may find that occupational progressive lenses work better for them. They are similar to varifocals in that the strength changes increases the further you move down the lens, but they have a wider section for near vision and are great if you need to switch between looking from your desk to your screen. However, you will need a second pair of glasses if you also have a distance prescription.

Can I get varifocal contact lenses?

Yes! They are known as multifocal contact lenses and are very popular. Get in touch to find out more.

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