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Varifocal Glasses - How Far Has Lens Technology Progressed?

February 20, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 270

Varifocal glasses have now become the most popular choice of lens for people over the age of 40 who need glasses for reading and distance. They have now even over-taken Bifocals as the most widely sold multifocal lens here in the UK. But for years varifocals had quite a bad reputation for being extremely expensive and very difficult to adjust to. Well, I've got some good news for all those potential wearers who are reading this and thinking the latter. Varifocal lenses are no longer regarded by consumers as an expensive gamble anymore, as the technology that goes into making these lenses has become much more advanced over the past few years. In the early days of varifocal lens technology one of the most common characteristics of these lenses was that even the most expensive lens would have an extremely narrow field of vision. This limited field of vision would cause the wearer to have to turn their head all the way round, when scanning an object on the horizon, just to bring it into focus. For most varifocal glasses wearers this was not at all practical and would commonly lead to many first time wearers going back to having two pairs of glasses, simply because they couldn't adapt to them.

Around the early Nineties the population of people over the age of 40 had exploded in the UK. This was largely due to a post war baby boom in the 1950's. Because of this, many more people were being prescribed varifocal glasses to remedy the problem of being short-sighted and also having age-related presbyopia (impaired near vision). It was around this time that the major prescription lens companies really started to heavily invest in the technology used to make varifocal lenses. They realised that because of the sheer number of people being prescribed multi focal lenses, they had to start giving the customer a better choice of lens and one that would achieve a success rate of above 80% for first time wearers of varifocal glasses. One major lens manufacturer, Essilor, took to the challenge and released a range of varifocal lenses in bid to give the customer a choice of lens products to suit their budget and lifestyle. Since then, varifocal lens technology has advanced to almost unprecedented levels as the market has voiced a demand for more choice and better quality varifocal glasses.

These days the more traditional method for making varifocal glasses is rapidly disappearing. With the emergence of a more advanced lens surfacing method, the customer is now being offered a much wider field of vision through the lens. This new lens surfacing method involves a technique that works the customers prescription on both the front and the back of the lens. This ensures a more natural curve which produces a lens with very little edge distortion. This method (Free Form) has proved to be very successful and in the past 3 years many opticians have started to see a drastic improvement in the success rate for first time varifocal wearers due to the wider field of vision that these lenses offer. Thanks to this improved technology, the idea of wearing varifocal glasses is now a much more attractive proposition for people who need glasses for both distance and reading.

Jim Romand is a specialist prescription lens consultant and dispensing optician who has worked in the industry for over 25 years. After qualifying as an SMC Tech at the london college of optometry in 1985, He has since worked as a Lab consultant for many high street opticians chains within the UK.

He currently works as a specialist prescription lens technician for an online lens retailer specialising in Varifocal glasses

Source: EzineArticles
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