What Are Varifocals?

09 May 2019

Author: Alex

What Are Varifocals?

In 1959 the very first varifocal lenses called Varilux were invented by a company called Essilor.

A varifocal lens is a multifocal lens that allows wearers to see at any distance; correcting two prescriptions at once; distance and reading. This is made possible through progressive lens zones.

It’s all in the way the user looks through the lens. To focus on distant objects, the individual will look through the top of the lens. To focus on close-up objects, focus will be through the bottom of the lens and intermediate objects will be focused through the middle of the lens.

Unlike bifocals, they don't have visible lines that separate the zones, so they look the same as standard lenses.

What most people love about varifocals is how precisely they can be made to meet specific needs of the individual.

Getting used to varifocals

Wearing glasses for the first time can feel foreign to anyone. As varifocals offer several focal points, they tend to take a little more getting used to; this of course varies from person to person.

Varifocals tend to need more time to allow the brain to adjust to the new view of the world. On the plus side, varifocals mean no more switching between glasses for tasks such as reading and driving!

The most important thing to remember is to not give up on your new lenses! The brain will learn to adapt to the varifocals, it just takes a little patience.

You’ll be happy to hear that approximately 98% of varifocal users adjust to their new glasses with ease.*

Problems with varifocals

Some people claim that they experience slight side effects for the first week or so of wearing varifocals, but these usually subside quickly.

The most common problems people encounter include:

  • Being unable to focus
  • Headaches and dizziness
  • Soft focus at the edges of the lenses
  • ‘Swim’ sensation- when an image appears distorted through the lens, resulting in a feeling of disorientation
  • Nausea

Choosing the right varifocals for you

There are many different types of varifocals, so finding the pair to suit your needs should not be too difficult.

Types of varifocal lens include:

  • Standard

These ‘entry level’ lenses are the most easy to adjust to. They are designed to have clear vision for distant, intermediate and close-up objects, but there is some peripheral distortion around the edge of the lens.

  • Customised

These are tailor made to suit the individual’s lifestyle and needs. Occupation, hobbies and regime will all be taken into account when constructing the lens.

  • Premium

Premium lenses feature a wider field of clear vision at distance and intermediate than standard lenses. This lens is ideal for wearers that spend a lot of time performing tasks at intermediate and near distances.

  • Elite

The elite lens gives a generous view at far, intermediate and near distances; with minimal soft focus. They are recommended for experienced wearers, who are looking for an all-purpose lens.

Alternative to Varifocals

As diverse as varifocals are, some people simply do not want to rely on visual aids on a daily basis. If you fall into this category, keep reading!

For those looking for a permanent fix, lenses can be inserted into the eye. For this, there are two treatments available, which include:

Lens Replacement Surgery

During this procedure the natural lens will be removed, with the use of ultrasound. An artificial lens will then be carefully inserted. This is permanent and will correct far-sightedness, near-sightedness, presbyopia, astigmatism and cataracts.

Much like a varifocal lens, Ultralase use multifocal lenses that are designed to achieve visual clarity at all distances.  

Implantable Contact Lenses

Implantable Contact Lenses are used as an alternative to Lens Replacement and is generally offered to individuals under the age of 40.

An implantable contact lens sits inside the eye, between the iris and the natural lens. Unlike Lens Replacement, it can be reversed, but only one prescription can be corrected- distance or reading.

*As stated by eyesite.co.uk.

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