The Difference Between Bifocal and Varifocal Lenses

If you struggle to focus at a distance or up close, then you will probably need some glasses to correct your vision. Bifocal and varifocal are two of the most popular options for correcting both near and farsightedness at the same time. These lenses have evolved a lot over the last couple of decades and are pretty sophisticated now. In this blog, we are going to discuss the difference between bifocal and varifocal lenses and help you figure out which may be the better option for you. Obviously, if you don’t know, then please come in and chat with us.

Both options have two distinct optical powers allowing the user to see objects clearly at different distances. The main difference between bifocal and varifocal is the way in which the optical powers are arranged on the lens.

What Is the Difference Between Bifocal and Varifocal Lenses?

What are Bifocal Lenses

Bifocal lenses have two distinct powers divided into two parts. One power is near and one far. The top part of the lens is for distance and the bottom is for near vision.

The largest benefit of bifocal lenses is their ability to correct both nearsightedness and farsightedness in a single pair of glasses. They are also typically the more affordable option out of the two. On the flip side, the biggest disadvantage of bifocal lenses is the lack of intermediate power. For some people, this may not be an issue if they do not struggle at multiple distances. However, if you do, you will want to look at varifocal lenses. There is also a little bit of an adjustment period as you need to learn to look through the correct part of the lens depending on how the distance an object is from your eyes.

Bifocal lenses are usually prescribed to people suffering from presbyopia, a condition in which their eyes lose their ability to focus on nearby objects.


What are Varifocal Lenses

Varifocals, also known as progressive lenses, have a more complex design than bifocal. They have three optical powers arranged in a gradient. Similarly to bifocal, the top of the lens is for viewing objects at a distance and the bottom is for near. The difference is the intermediate power positioned between them allowing for comfortable viewing at a variety of positions.

The biggest benefit of varifocal lenses is their ability to provide a more natural transition between different optical powers, making it easier to adjust to wearing them. The ability to see clearly at a range of distances makes for a more natural and complete viewing experience. What’s more, your optician can adjust the lens to precisely position the powers in the correct position for your eyes. However, like with bifocals, they can take some time to get used to and the more gradual transition of power can be quite disorientating for some.

What Is the Difference Between Bifocal and Varifocal Lenses?

Which is better: Bifocal or Varifocal

The answer to this question depends wholeheartedly on your personal preferences and your vision needs. Bifocal lenses are a great choice and are often recommended to those whose vision is deteriorating from a single-distance sight. If you find that you’re struggling to read things close up like your phone or a book, bifocals are again a great choice which will allow you to wear the same pair throughout the day.

If you find that you struggle with more than one distance of vision, the varifocals are going to be the far better option. By combining all of your prescription lenses you won’t need more than one pair of glasses for your day-to-day life.

If you have a conversation with your optometrist they can properly advise you on what options will be better for your eyes.

Get in Touch

If you have any more questions about the difference between bifocal and varifocal lenses or feel as though you need a pair of prescription glasses then don’t hesitate to get in touch. Give the practice a call on 01323 442 062, email or fill out our contact form and we’ll be in touch as soon as possible. Alternatively, if you are suffering from any eye conditions don’t hesitate to book an eye exam. We are more than happy to take care of you and your vision, feel free to book an examination today.

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