Varifocal glasses.

Derek S-H

Distinguished Member
I had 20/20 vision for most of my life, whilst the rest of my family wore glasses and hated me!

But I got to my mid-40's and I started to notice that I was having to hold things further away from me to read them properly, though my distance vision was still sharp and clear.

Quick and first-ever visit to the opticians confirmed my suspicions - I had become farsighted through natural ageing and would now need reading glasses. This was actually okay, though I couldn't get used to taking them with me whenever I went out if I needed to read anything, I was just so used to being glasses-free.

My prescription has increased slightly on subsequent visits to the opticians, but nothing major until my last one two weeks' ago - long distance has also become affected and I was prescribed varifocals to correct this.

So I picked them up today and they are so weird! For a start, you have to move your head around far more than with just reading glasses, you can't just flick your eyes left or right to see things out of the corner of your eye anymore. Walking up and down stairs also requires you to change well-established habits, too. It almost feels like you're constantly leading with your nose, rather than moving your eyes like you used to.

But the main reason I started this Thread on an AV forum is I wore them for the first time to watch something on TV - wow, is all I can say! The programme was in SD (I mainly use Freeview) and it looked HD! I'm not joking, I have a 65" OLED and sit 9 feet away, and the edges were sharp, the colours more vivid; the image just didn't look soft, blurry and washed-out anymore. I was shocked!

So no matter how young or old you are; don't be vain, don't be in denial - if images are starting to look blurry or soft, or you find yourself squinting to make things sharp, go and have your eyes tested because you may just end up enjoying your TV or projector far more than you realise.

Though I don't think I will ever enjoy having air puffed into my eyes during the test!
 

Simian Sibling

Distinguished Member
As soon as I hit 40 I needed reading glasses. At the time I could get away with Poundland ones (my prescription was +1.25) but my last check up I needed to go to +2 😱
My long distance is still perfect but I’ve opted for a pair of computer glasses so I can keep them on all the time for work (I’m a nurse and not only is it a pain taking them on and off all the time it’s an infection control problem) so I can just leave them on. I’m picking them up today. I’ve never worn glasses full time but I decided to just embrace it and get on with it so I too will throw my hat in and say get tested as you never know if life is going to look better through glasses 🤣
 

the whistler

Active Member
I've worn varifocals for many years. They do take some getting used to, but I much prefer then to having two pairs for reading and distance.

Last year my vision was deteriorating rapidly and the optician advised me that cataracts were developing. I had one cataract replacement last year and having the second one in a few weeks. Despite being quite apprehensive I found the procedure to be no problem at all. It was all over In just 7 minutes. No pain or discomfort. The result was amazing, I now see colours as they really are. Can't wait to have the second one done.
 

Jules Tohpipi

Well-known Member
@Derek S-H
It took me a very very long time to get fully adjusted to varifocals but I eventually got there. In the sense of me seeing the world in an entirely natural way again i.e. no longer having to compensate for varifocal effects.

One top tip for coping with the very initial stages (first few weeks particularly). Don't expect things to look normal if you first put them on mid-day or later. You have to have them on from first thing in the day. And even then expect it'll take a while for the weirdness to evaporate.
 
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Ilovewaffles

Well-known Member
I must have been lucky then, I became used to them in a very short time. The only hint I can give is to avoid sudden up and down movements of your head.
 

jurassicmark

Well-known Member
I wore single-vision lenses for a long time then I moved to varifocal lenses about 6 years ago. They took a little getting used to but it wasn't that difficult and I make adjustments without really thinking about it now. For example, I'm typing this on my laptop which on beside me on the armrest of my couch and I raise my head slightly to see the text through the section of my glasses for close-up viewing. I'm mentioning it now because I'm thinking about it but it's usually second nature.

I agree with the OP that you shouldn't be in denial if your eyesight is failing, especially if you are a driver. However, I can understand the reluctance to deal with the issue and I probably took a bit too long to get my first pair of prescription glasses.
 

Bakey

Well-known Member
I have varifocals now (I’m on my 3rd prescription for them) after years of wearing single vision glasses and they’re much easier than having 2 different pairs for reading and distance. However with my latest prescription I couldn’t see the computer screen at work clearly so now I have intermediate/computer glasses for when I’m at work and at my desk, then when I get up to do anything I have to put my varifocals back on. So much for one pair for everything, a bit annoying but I’m getting used to it now. It has however reiterated that varifocals rather than 2 separate pairs are for me, I can’t imagining having to swap between glasses all the time.
 

Tel69

Active Member
I’ve been wearing them for about 5 years although I recall it took 1-2 months to get used to them. That first month in particular was hard for the reasons most of you have already outlined and I nearly asked for a replacement. Driving was particularly difficult in the early days if I tilted my head slightly. After a while I no longer noticed a problem and they enhance my vision and I always get a free pair of sunglasses with the same prescription. In short it’s a pain in the arse to start with but worth the effort once you’re through that bit.
 

D'@ve

Well-known Member
I'm short sighted and noticed that I was increasingly looking over the top of my glasses for reading especially on a smartphone so I got varifocals and persisted for months with them.

But after a while, I realised that I'd started once again reading over the top or even briefly removing them so clearly they weren't as effective as I'd hoped. So I switched to my 'spare' non-varifocal pair (same prescription for distance vision) and haven't looked back since. I read anything small over the top as before, or remove them for really small stuff. At the computer, I have 27 inch screens set at 125% text size and make use of browser zoom keys as and when I feel like it.

So for me, varifocals weren't worth it, I'm much happier now once again, with my single vision glasses and not having a somewhat restricted field of view when out and about or driving.
 

Xenomorph

Member
Varifocals work very well for me. Took me no time at all to adjust. In fact I put them on in the opticians and drove straight home!
 

jurassicmark

Well-known Member
I'm short sighted and noticed that I was increasingly looking over the top of my glasses for reading especially on a smartphone so I got varifocals and persisted for months with them.

But after a while, I realised that I'd started once again reading over the top or even briefly removing them so clearly they weren't as effective as I'd hoped. So I switched to my 'spare' non-varifocal pair (same prescription for distance vision) and haven't looked back since. I read anything small over the top as before, or remove them for really small stuff. At the computer, I have 27 inch screens set at 125% text size and make use of browser zoom keys as and when I feel like it.

So for me, varifocals weren't worth it, I'm much happier now once again, with my single vision glasses and not having a somewhat restricted field of view when out and about or driving.
It's possible that your prescription wasn't quite right and there are lots of different types of varifocal lenses so perhaps the type you had wasn't suitable for you.

It was explained to me and I can't remember exactly what they said but it's something to do with how much area of the glasses each section (in the image below) covers and how smoothly they merge together.

807b93104b077b1549cfea546893be35.jpg


Unfortunately, the variation in the cost of these different types of varifocal lenses is significant so that can be a put-off. An example of that is on the website below.

Varifocal lenses explained - Inspiration & advice - Boots Opticians

BTW, I take off or look over/under my glasses when reading the tiny print on things like food package labels.
 

Derek S-H

Distinguished Member
Varifocals work very well for me. Took me no time at all to adjust. In fact I put them on in the opticians and drove straight home!
I'm not wearing my varifocals whilst cycling. In fact, I cycled over to the opticians to pick them up initially and there's no way I would have worn them cycling home.

I suppose I only wear my glasses during passive activities like computer use, reading or watching TV, my eyesight is still good enough not to need them for anything requiring fast reactions.

That might all change, of course, if my prescription requires it in future. As as cyclist, I try not to think about the fact that a driver's eyesight might need testing, they've got enough distractions to deal with as it is.
 

malsat

Active Member
just had my eyes done with new lenses and WOW i can read and great distance again no more glasses for me,
not cheap but well worth it!
 

mikes48

Distinguished Member
just had my eyes done with new lenses and WOW i can read and great distance again no more glasses for me,
not cheap but well worth it!
Tell us more, please.

I'm listed for cataract surgery in my left eye in the next few weeks, they made no mention of type of lens. My 'research' tells me there's various types, but the NHS option, I believe, is for a distance lens or a reading lens.

With -6.5 in my left eye I'll obviously go for distance over reading - much more beneficial for me, but just wondering what sort you had that are 'not cheap'?
 

crashcris

Distinguished Member
I hated my varifocals, I can't understand how having to move your head and keep your eyes fixed instead of moving your eyeballs in their sockets (as nature intended) is in any way better than bifocals, which is what I swapped them for. Far more comfortable.
 

jurassicmark

Well-known Member
I hated my varifocals, I can't understand how having to move your head and keep your eyes fixed instead of moving your eyeballs in their sockets (as nature intended) is in any way better than bifocals, which is what I swapped them for. Far more comfortable.
I wear varifocals and my eyeballs move around in their sockets to see through different areas of the lenses without any problem.

Maybe it's something to do with your prescription or related to the different types of varifocal lenses that I mentioned a few posts ago.
 

Ilovewaffles

Well-known Member
just had my eyes done with new lenses and WOW i can read and great distance again no more glasses for me,
not cheap but well worth it!
Did you have private multi focal lenses? I imagine you must have had in order to read and have good distance vision.
 

Xenomorph

Member
I wear varifocals and my eyeballs move around in their sockets to see through different areas of the lenses without any problem.

Maybe it's something to do with your prescription or related to the different types of varifocal lenses that I mentioned a few posts ago.

I think it also depends on quality of the lens. I got good quality Zeiss progressive varifocal lenses. No visible line between near and far areas. I have to say they work perfectly for me. They were not cheap though.
 

iqoniq

Active Member
Varifocals are one of those things that you either take to instantly or take ages to get used to. Something I've wondered is whether lens size has an effect on the experience I usually wear glasses that are either frameless or half frames, so the lens isn't that high. My previous pair were full frames and I had major issues with them and I had to move my head around far more. Since going to my current half frames I've found it a lot better.

I'm not sure what people are saying about moving your head and not your eyes with a decent pair. Either I'm not doing it right, or I'm somehow not affected.
 

scarty16

Well-known Member
Has anyone tried varifocal contact lenses?

I tried varifocal glasses and had to get rid of them, couldn't cope.

I currently have one contact lens for close up work and one for distance. -3.75 & -1.50
 

Xenomorph

Member
Has anyone tried varifocal contact lenses?

I tried varifocal glasses and had to get rid of them, couldn't cope.

I currently have one contact lens for close up work and one for distance. -3.75 & -1.50

I love the idea of this, and being able to ditch the glasses. But I'm sceptical about their effectiveness and I wouldn't want to have compromised vision quality. Plus I imagine for complex prescriptions like varifocals, it could get expensive. In the past I've used daily disposable contact lenses. I doubt that would be an option for me now.
 

Xenomorph

Member
Varifocals are one of those things that you either take to instantly or take ages to get used to. Something I've wondered is whether lens size has an effect on the experience I usually wear glasses that are either frameless or half frames, so the lens isn't that high. My previous pair were full frames and I had major issues with them and I had to move my head around far more. Since going to my current half frames I've found it a lot better.

My right eye prescription is very strong, so having a large lens isn't possible as it would be like a jam jar bottom. I have rimless lenses and they work very well.

I'm not sure what people are saying about moving your head and not your eyes with a decent pair. Either I'm not doing it right, or I'm somehow not affected.

Mine are perfect for screen distance, and driving. I may sometimes move my head up or down slightly to get the sharpest image, but I don't find it a problem.
 

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