Varifocal glasses - also known as Progressive Glasses have established a new standard since their launch. Progressive glasses provide a visual experience that is the closest to the natural eye. The progressive lens "progresses" between a distance prescription at the top of the lens to a near prescription at the bottom and includes every prescription in between.
Cosmetically speaking, progressive lenses are the most aesthetically pleasing lens as the progression of prescriptions is virtually seamless on the lens and there is virtually no evidence of the transition between prescriptions in contrast to bifocals and trifocals with lines where the vision changes between sections of the lens.
The progressive lens has an enhanced visual channel shaped like an hour glass (see image below). The two main corrections are distance and near and the field of view is wider. Due to the nature of the lenses the progression in between top and bottom has a narrower field of view. Outside the "hourglass" the lens has some slight blurring and distortion. The better the quality of the lenses the easier a new wearer will adapt to them.
The image above shows a graphical representation of a pair of varifocal glasses illustrating the approximate fields of clear and unclear vision. The central corridor (between Distance and Near) can be narrower or wider depending on the prescription of the wearer and the quality of the lens (reflected in the price). We always advise that new wearers go for the best they can afford.
The image below gives a visual perspective of progressive/varifocal glasses. For the sake of clarity this illustration and the one above have been adjusted to exaggerate the distortion in Varifocals glasses.
In practice, the eyes of the glasses wearer are far closer to the lenses than the images above depict and any actual blurring is far less noticeable. Generally, most people can adjust to varifocals glasses in a short period of time. There will be some distortion on each grade of lenses - many people are able to tolerate the "standard" grades and their glasses fit seamlessly into their lives, some may have difficulty tolerating them.
The differences between the lenses is the result of more sophisticated techniques in cutting the lenses, advanced digital programming and sophisticated equipment result in more latitude in the lenses' features resulting in wider channels in the middle of the lenses. This, of course, adds to the manufacturing costs.
Unless you have worn standard progressive spectacles before and have been comfortable with them, we suggest that you buy the best you can afford.
Essilor, the inventors of varifocal lenses, make some of the most technologically advanced lenses on the market today. Find out more about Essilor varifocal lenses and the inventions in optical technology they utilise.
The importance of accurate fitting of varifocal lenses
For varifocal glasses, the centre of the pupils should be just above the centre of the progressive lens. This rarely happens, our faces are different and the glasses we buy vary in size, the size of lenses, the position they sit on the nose, etc. (the picture below illustrates this point).
When we receive your picture we use it to position the distance part of your lenses where your pupil is looking straight ahead. This will ensure greater visual comfort for your glasses. Please read our guide to taking photos for fitting glasses.
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