VARIFOCALS: A simple guide to varifocal lenses


We know that choosing the right frame can be tricky decision to make. But what about lenses? With the amount of different lens materials and coatings available, it’s really easy to be confused about what’s worth buying.

The type of lens you choose will influence your appearance, vision, comfort and safety. Therefore, it is really important to keep in mind that selecting the right lens will depend on different factors, such as your lifestyle, job, preference, hobbies and vision needs.

In this post we will guide you through one particular lens type, varifocals. If you want to know what this lens has to offer and if it is the right one for you, simply keep on reading!

Why would you need varifocals?

With age, the elasticity of the eye lens can become thicker and less flexible, meaning that it is unable to focus clearly on close-up objects or needs more time to do so. This is a very common condition known as presbyopia. This condition can affect anyone, whether you have already worn contact lenses or glasses or always had perfect vision. One of the most common treatments for presbyopia are varifocal or bifocal lenses.

How do varifocals work and which are its benefits?


Varifocal lenses, also known as progressive lenses, are the perfect solution if you need more than one prescription -one for distance and one for reading- to correct your vision. These lenses change its power gradually from the top of the lens to the bottom, which means that moving your eyes up and down the lens will allow you to see clearly at all distances, whether you are walking down the street, driving, reading or working on your computer.

Forget about the hassle of having to switch between two different glasses when driving or reading, with varifocals a single pair will accommodate all your vision needs. Having separate pairs of glasses can be a nuisance, as they can get lost or damaged, so having it all in one pair is always much appreciated.

What differentiates varifocals from bifocals?

You might have heard of bifocals too. Unlike varifocals, this lens type contains a visible dividing line that separates the top -usually for distance- and lower half -usually for reading- of the lens. We highly recommend you to check with your optometrist to see what type of lens would work best for you. However, if you need to correct intermediate vision, such as computer work, for example, varifocals might be a more suitable option for you than bifocals.

Adjusting to progressives

Many people still resist progressive lenses, as they are pricier than single vision lenses and adjusting to them can take some time, you can either love them or hate them! Some issues that might come up your first week of wearing them -in some cases even longer- is blurry vision, headaches, nausea, balance problems and even objects that seem to jump or move around. Be extremely cautious during this period of adaption, as you might trip or fall with them when climbing stairs or simply walking around!

A few people give up on them after a while, as they don’t like the change in their vision. Inevitably, some might notice a peripheral distortion with varifocals and bifocals more than others. However, if you regularly suffer from dizziness, we would not recommend them for you.

Varilux X Series: a revolutionary solution

Luckily, thanks to the latest developments in optical technology, Essilor has come up with an innovative progressive lens that makes the adaptation to varifocals much easier: the Varilux X Series. A common patient complaint with varifocal lenses is that they have to move their head in the direction they want to see. When wearing these award-winning lenses, little movement is required to see that right spot clearly.

The Game Changer:

As of 1st February 2019, our Japanese partners at Nikon have dropped a brand new varifocal, claiming to blow all other varifocal lenses out the water. If you are interested to the SEEMAX ULTIMATE, send us an email or drop us a line.

Varifocal contact lenses

“Are varifocal contact lenses a thing?” is a very common question we get in our practice, and yes is the answer. Progressive contact lenses lenses are usually preferred over glasses, as they take away the burden of having to look through different parts of your bifocal or varifocal glasses. Keep an eye out on future posts to learn more about them!



Words by Valeria Martinez

Fashion Executive for The Eye Establishment