Varifocal Lenses - Important Buying Information – Nuspecs

Varifocal Lenses - Important Buying Information


If you need different pairs of Glasses for Reading and Distance then Varifocals can be an ideal option.

However they are not suitable for everyone – below are some important things to consider before buying Varifocals.

Why are Varifocal Lenses more expensive?

The machinery and processes used to produce Varifocal Lenses versus Single Vision is more expensive for lens manufacturers.  Because Varifocals can be more difficult to “get right” for optical retailers the return rate can often be higher than standard lenses and so this is factored into the overall price structure.  Whilst the lenses are initially more expensive than Single Vision, buying several pairs of Single Vision Glasses can often exceed the total cost of a pair of Varifocals.  Purchasing Varifocals online can often result in considerable savings although if you require specific advice it is always best to discuss your requirements with a qualified optometrist prior to purchasing.

Varifocal Lens Distortion

Due to how Varifocal lenses are manufactured, to some extent distortion is present in all of them regardless of price level.  In general the better quality lenses from more premium brands do a better job of minimising this effect.  It is important to say that the most expensive lenses may not always be the best – some people find that a mid-market lens can often work better for them than the most expensive.  In contrast some of the very cheapest Varifocals on the market can be the ones that have the most issues.

Difficulty in adjusting to Varifocal Lenses

When worn initially, Varifocals can take some time to get used to.  It is not uncommon for it to take 3-4 weeks to fully adjust to the progressive performance of a Varifocal Lens.  Additionally, for someone who has worn Varifocals for a number of years, if they switch to a different type/brand or new prescription it can take a while to adjust to the characteristics of the new lenses.

Not comfortable for computer work

Whilst Varifocal lenses can be great for all round use they are not necessarily ideal for extended use when working at a computer screen.  If you use a computer for prolonged periods on a regular basis then lenses made specifically for computer/intermediate use may be a better choice.

Varifocal Transitions not practical for driving

Varifocal Transitions can be ideal for many day-to-day situations including driving.  However, on bright, sunny days they may not be suitable for driving if you want the lenses to darken.  This is because the windscreen of the vehicle acts as a barrier to UV rays and so prevent the Transitional element of the lens from operating fully.  Transitions ideally need to be worn outdoors in direct sunlight in order to function to their full capability.


For many people, once they have adapted to Varifocal Glasses they would be reluctant to revert to standard Single Vision Lenses.  It is important to bear in mind that it can take some time to get used to Varifocals but the initial perseverance can be well worth it.  If you have any specific questions about Varifocal suitability it is always best to seek advice from a qualified optometrist.

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