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Varifocal and bifocal glasses

Discussion in 'off topic' started by mandryka, Sep 16, 2019.

  1. mandryka

    mandryka pfm Member

    I think that the time is coming for glasses which I wear all the time, I will need varifocal or bifocal lenses.

    It looks like there’s a lot of different types of lens. I’d appreciate any advice and experiences.

    I was planning to go to specsavers. I don’t know whether that’s a good or bad idea.
  2. Marra

    Marra pfm Member

    Always had good service from Specsavers; they do a very thorough range of checks. Personally I prefer bifocals; didn't get on with varifocals when I tried them although it was some time ago.
  3. chartz

    chartz pfm Member

    I’ve used varifocals from Essilor for many years now. Costly though. But no adaptation time is necessary. They are very precise devices you can really use for reading, computer work, driving...
    I couldn’t get used to cheaper Japanese glasses before that.
  4. Rodrat

    Rodrat pfm Member

    If you need varifocals then you may need two pairs of bifocals which I do and it is a pain to have to swop depending on what I am doing. However I have tried vaifocals twice and just can’t get on with them. My wife has no problem with them. Assuming you are uk based, independent opticians are not usually any more expensive that the multiples and are likely to give a more personal service. Turkey is very good and cheaper if you happen to go on holiday.
  5. manicatel

    manicatel pfm Member

    Its one of those things that you get what you pay for. The better lenses will have a larger % of area which is useable. Then there’s all the anti scratch etc coating options which bumps the price up.
    I prefer boots opticians to spec savers, but maybe it comes down to the individual branches & their personnel.
    I must admit that I’ve got varifocals but still don’t wear them all the time. Primarily I need them for close up work, reading etc but my long vision only has a small prescription.
  6. billo

    billo pfm Member

    The first thing to do is go to your chosen optician and see if they suggest bifocals are best for you. They may even say that two pair are good enough.
    Varifocals are good and after half a day I was used to them, they do not have an annoying 'band' across the bottom third of the lens. Due to the thickness of one lens I cannot get small rimless glasses as varifocals
  7. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    I tried varifocals and hated them due to having such a small ‘near’ area. Just totally wrong for me and certainly no substitute for reading/soldering etc glasses. I reverted to standard fixed focal for distance and another set for reading. Despite being very short sighted when out I can still see well enough without glasses to be able to grade vinyl and use my iPhone/iPad if I hold them pretty close. I’m still in sharp focus at 8-10” or so.

    PS The varifocals I tried were an expensive pair too, IIRC Specsavers had three ranges and I went for the top one despite the crazy price. Really didn’t like them as the sweet-spot for reading was just so narrow left to right. I have a feeling with 20/20 hindsight that they screwed my pupil distance up, but never again anyway.
  8. Snufkin

    Snufkin pfm Member

    Like Tony, I also stick to two pairs of glasses - one for general use and another pair for reading and close up work. I think I am too fussy to tolerate my field of vision switching as I moved my eyes around. I discussed this with an optician a few years ago and he was of the opinion that they probably wouldn't suit me and I think it has as much to do with your psychological make up as anything else.
  9. Cereal Killer

    Cereal Killer 432 Point5

  10. MrMac

    MrMac pfm Member

    I was very short sighted ie -8,had specs,then contact lenses for years.
    20 years ago had laser eye surgery and still to this day,I have near 20/20 vision.
    Don't know if this would work for you,but was one of the best things I've ever done.
    Glad to answer any questions.
    Regards Malcolm.
  11. JensenHealey

    JensenHealey pfm Member

    Varifocals for years. My friend works for her brother who has a lens manufacturing business. So over the years I have got to try all sorts - sometimes a bit experimental.

    Good quality and thin varifocals lenses are expensive. My take is that if they are going to adorn my face for 18 hours a day for 4 - 5 years, then I do not give a hoot what they cost. OK I get a good discount which helps - in return she gets feedback from me, because we meet for dinner every 3 months or so.

    They also vary quite a bit in how the various zones are arranged - various suppliers have their own take on this. You will need coatings for glare and so on too. Most recent set are designed for blue light reduction for screen use too.

    I also have 2 sets of varifocal sunglasses. With the latest set the zones were somewhat different and took much longer to get used to. Now that I have I am rather impressed with them.

    Not sure that your average specsavers will have the full range available - find an independent perhaps.
  12. The Far North

    The Far North pfm Member

    No love for Vision Express on here then? I've had varifocals for 15 years or more, and it's true that there is an initial adjustment period when you have to learn to move your head to look downwards, but that's true of bifocals as well. I only ever went to Specsavers once as they were cheaper than Vision Express at the time, but the first set were no use and the second set were no better. To be fair to them, they repeated my eye test with a different optician for the second set, and then refunded me in full when I still couldn't get on with them. Never had a problem with Vision Express.
  13. cctaylor

    cctaylor pfm Member

    I would agree larger lenses are better, so avoid the dinky fashion lenses some celebs wear.

    I find a pair of prescription readers very useful at times, reading in bed or close up work where you can't get square on to what you are looking at.
  14. blossomchris

    blossomchris I feel better than James Brown

    Started wearing glasses around 20 years ago with bifocals (heavy and cumbersome)and a few years later switched to varifocals with Zeiss lenses, cost a bomb, but do everthing they say, Photochronic, hard coated and anti reflection.
    The only time they are useless is when looking straight down, ie reading weighing scales, or working in confined spaces.

  15. Suffolk Tony

    Suffolk Tony Aim low, achieve your goals, avoid disappointment.

    When I first tried varifocals I really didn't get on with them, but then decided to have another go, and after a couple of days I adjusted, & they're fine now. Got a couple of pairs, one with photochromic lenses. The only thing I struggled a bit with was fellwalking, where I have to look down a lot to avoid tripping. The varifocals make me a bit giddy. So using my NHS prescription I ordered a cheap pair of distance glasses from an internet company, which are great & I wear when walking.

    I did try some varifocal contact lenses, which on the first try seemed to work OK, but it was a bloody struggle to get them out again & my eyes were sore for days afterwards. Too much of a faff.
  16. awkwardbydesign

    awkwardbydesign Officially Awesome

    I tried a pair of varifocals years ago, and found they blurred my peripheral vision. As a motorcyclist* it was deadly, so they went back and were changed for bifocals, which don't have that problem. I imagine cyclists would also be at risk. Do car drivers not use peripheral vision, I wonder?
    * I used to raise some eyebrows wandering around the optician's with a crash helmet on, trying on glasses! But many glasses hurt under a helmet.
    Snufkin likes this.
  17. awkwardbydesign

    awkwardbydesign Officially Awesome

    I find my bifocals can make walking downstairs dangerous, as the stairs appear to move between the segments. I sometimes take them off.
  18. Bob McC

    Bob McC Living the life of Riley

    Had bifocals for years.
    Tried varifocals but just couldn’t get on with them. Could never find the reading bit!
  19. stevec67

    stevec67 pfm Member

    I have VFs and they work, it took a few days to adjust. I can cycle in mine but prefer to wear my old simple prescription lenses as you no longer have to rely on the "sweet spot". Mine came from Specsavers they are OK. It depends on your local branch as to how good they are. Get the 21 year old work experience kid straight out of college, oh dear. Get an opto who has been doing it 20 years, now you are talking. When I had mine done the 21 year old kid did it, the experience opto talked her through what she was doing with "OK, so what comes next? You have X and Y, what about..."

    I lived with 2 pairs of glasses for a couple of years, it was a pain. I still use standard readers to my prescription when I am doing lots of close work or using a computer, the narrow sweet spot in VFs makes looking to left and right across a screen a chore because as you look sideways through the bottom of the lens you get distortion, straight lines become curved, and so on.

    However the win was being able to do more than one thing. Driving a car and stopping to read a map was difficult, I was having to lift my specs up and peer round them to read the map. It was a real chore in factories - I'd be walking round with a clipboard, all gowned up in the gear, coat, hat, ear defenders, I'd need to make a note. Oh bugger, my reading glasses are in my shirt pocket (or better still on the desk!) so I'll fish them out, take off my others, balance them on my head while I wiggle the others under the hairnet and hat, then put the others back in my shirt pocket, then do up my overall, make notes, go back to looking round the factory, oh dear, can't see anything that's more than arm's length away, reverse process...you get the picture.
  20. stevec67

    stevec67 pfm Member

    One benefit, glasses now are dirt cheap. I was paying more for standard lenses 30 years ago than I am now for VF. 2 pairs of VFs cost <£200, back in the 80s I was handing over £100-150 for one pair.

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