Varifocal Glasses – Should you get them or not?

As technology in general, the eyewear industry is also always evolving. Whether it is frames, lenses, or contact lenses, there is constant improvement in terms of the materials used or the manufacturing process, like blue light blocking glasses. One such technology is progressives or varifocal lenses – used to correct near and far vision with the same pair of eyeglasses. Thinking you already have bi-focal glasses for the same? Think again! Varifocals are an updated and technologically advanced version of bi-focal lenses. 

Also called no-line lenses, they offer gradual vision correction without any visible lines on the lenses. That is why they look like normal single vision lenses. The best ones have free form technology that allows you to have the widest field of vision possible; to look at near, intermediate, and far distances. They’re getting more common by the day! Read this blog to know if they’re for you or not.  

Advantages of varifocal lenses:-

As you may have guessed by now, there are some obvious advantages of progressive or varifocal lenses. Let us go through them. 

1. No visible lines

One major reason for people to upgrade from bifocal to varifocal glasses is they give no indication that the person has presbyopia (when the eyes start to lose their ability to focus on nearby objects). Although it is a normal part of aging, many people are not comfortable with giving off their age. The glasses in themselves also look much more aesthetically pleasing.  

While there is no segregated division, the upper part of the lens is used to look at far off objects, the middle part including the sides for intermediate distances, and the bottom part for looking at close by objects.  

2. Better custom fit 

Eyewear companies usually provide progressive lenses tailor made for you. Think of them as a bespoke suit! They take all your prescription details, including the Pupillary Distance (distance between both your pupils) This results in a frame with a great and comfortable fit. 

3. No need for two pairs of glasses 

This is the same benefit as offered by bifocal lenses, but done better! Not only do you not need to carry different pairs of frames, they look just like any pair of single vision lenses. 

Disadvantages of Varifocal lenses:- 

Varifocal lenses have some cons as well, do go through them before you choose to buy a style! 

1. Costlier than bifocals 

Advanced technology comes at a price! Since varifocals are digital lenses in a way, they are more expensive to produce. One thing to keep in mind is that not all varifocal glasses are the same. Do not get low quality ones, their peripheral vision can be quite blurred. Which brings us to our next point. 

2. Peripheral vision 

Some varifocal glasses do not provide a wide enough field of view. The vision through the peripheral areas is not of top-notch quality. But with higher technology progressives available in the market, you can rest easy about it. They make these lenses considering your PD, frame of choice, optical centers, etc. 

If you are looking for cheap prescription glasses though, it is better to stick to bifocals! 

3. Takes time to get used to 

Another drawback of varifocal glasses is that they can take quite some time to get used to. While it is common with most prescription glasses, in the case of varifocals it can take up to 2-3 weeks, sometimes even more. People often face issues like headaches and eye strain initially. 

Tips to get used to varifocal lenses:-

If you’re getting varifocals for the first time, these 2 tips can prove handy. 

  • Look directly at an object by moving your head, instead of just your eyes. For example while driving when you look through the rearview mirror, or while reading a book. 
  • While it may be tempting to use your older glasses, it is important to stick to your new varifocals to give your eyes enough time to get used to them. 

The major things to consider before buying varifocal glasses are budget, transition period, and quality. Look for a free eye test around you and get going! 

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