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Varifocal Contact Lenses


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Presbyopia is a condition that occurs as you age which involves a progressive loss of your eye’s ability to focus on object’s closer to you. It’s caused by the loss of lens elasticity in the eye, what this means is that the property that makes the lens easy to adjust to focus on things is gradually diminished. The treatment for this condition is to use varifocal lenses to compensate for this change in your eyes’ properties. Fortunately varifocals are now available as contact lenses for convenient and easy use.

What are varifocal lenses?

Varifocal lenses are also known as progressive lenses, graduated prescription lenses, and multifocal lenses. Simply put a varifocal lens is one which can be used for both near and far vision, the lens features a gradient for these two different foci, unlike bifocals which have two separate sections. The advantage of this is that you can achieve clear vision at a range of different distances by looking through different parts of the lens or adjusting your head to the same end. These adjustments in where you are looking through the lens are very slight because near view objects can be viewed through the lower part of the lens, while far field objects can be viewed higher up. The presence of this gradient means you don’t experience a sudden jump in the image as you would when you look through different halves of a bifocal lens.

Why varifocal lenses?

Varifocal lenses look good because they lack the distinctive line running across the centre that bifocals do, which is great if you don’t want to advertise your age. Bifocals do have a stigma of being only used by the elderly, and you might not like to be lumped into that category if you are suffering from presbyopia in your early 40s. This is where varifocal contacts can be especially useful, worn directly on the eye they are barely noticeable and maintain your youthful look while also being extremely easy and convenient to wear.

There are however some disadvantages to wearing varifocal lenses in that the gradient discussed above can cause what are called ‘geometric distortions’ to what you see. What this means is that objects can appear curved because of the way the lens is designed, and as you can imagine this can be quite disconcerting. Opticians generally advise wearing these lenses as presbyopia develops (as at the early stages the power of the lens and hence the extent the of geometric rearrangement changes) so that the wearer can get accustomed to their effects. Varifocals also tend to be considerably more expensive than bifocals or trifocals. As with all eye issues, you should discuss the matter with your optician who will undoubtedly help you find the right fit for you.


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