Your life and eyes 3 min read

How to recognise when you need varifocal lenses

Share on

If you are aged over 40 and begin to notice that objects close up are appearing blurry, or you’re struggling to see clearly in low lit conditions, it is possible that you may need varifocal lenses. Learn how to recognise when you need these lenses.

Sight is possibly one of our most important senses. It was revealed in a survey that 78% of people stated sight as the sense they feared losing the most. However, experiencing deteriorating eyesight is inevitable. Varifocal lenses are usually required by those over the age of 40; this is because of a normal loss of near focusing ability.

The crystalline lens in our eye loses elasticity and gets stiffer as we grow older, resulting in our close sight deteriorating. It is the flexibility of the lens in our eye that allows us to focus on different distances. Together with weaker muscles around the eye, it means that your vision may begin to blur when looking at objects up close.

Known as presbyopia, it is a refractive error, and you may start to notice it in your early 40s. Varifocal lenses are often used as a solution for presbyopia, giving you the ability to see clearly again at all distances.

Signs you may have presbyopia

You might start to notice that you suffer from ‘arm too short’ syndrome. For instance, needing to hold objects at various distances to see clearer. One of the first things most people start to notice is that they have trouble seeing small print clearly, such as a newspaper or texts on a phone, especially in dim light. Even people who are shortsighted will notice that their near vision blurs even when they wear their usual spectacles or contact lenses to correct their distance vision.

Graphic of people on train looking at phone screens with presbyope struggling to see

Presbyopia is completely normal and something that can’t be avoided; it is just the natural loss of your near-focusing ability as you get older. While you may see it as a significant sign that you’re getting “old”, you aren’t alone! It will eventually affect everyone!

In 2005, it was estimated that there were 1.04 billion people with presbyopia around the world; 517 million of those had no spectacles or not the correct ones to treat their presbyopia.

The population of the UK is ageing. From looking at past patterns, it has been projected that more than a quarter of UK residents will be aged 65 or over in the next 50 years. The population share of later-life age groups is set to increase, which means even more of us will encounter presbyopia in the next few decades.

Noticing a change in your sight

Adults should have a routine eye examination every 2 years unless told otherwise. However, if you begin to notice any changes or problems with your sight between appointments, it is important to see an optician and have an eye examination. 

Presbyopia is usually diagnosed during a regular eye examination, where opticians are able to test your visual sharpness and your ability to adjust your focus to different distances. Presbyopia will also evolve over time, so having regular eye examinations can ensure you are wearing lenses with your prescription. 

woman having an eye examination for photophobia

Sometimes you may not notice your eyesight per se and other symptoms of presbyopia can include headaches and eye strain. If you seem to be suffering from this more often, head to your local optician and see how they can help.

Treating presbyopia

The most popular solution to help presbyopia is varifocal lenses or progressive lenses as they are also known. Varifocal lenses have two prescriptions in one, for both reading and distance. 

In the past, many people opted to simply just wear reading spectacles, allowing you to see through the lens for close up work and would have to be removed to be able to see in the distance. The next solution was to wear bifocals; allowing you to see through the top for distance and the bottom for reading. However, there was a visible line separating the two, which was often associated with an ageing appearance. Bifocal lenses provide no correction for intermediate vision.

This is why varifocal lenses became a more popular solution offering a more gradual change between all distances, achieved by a simple tip of your head to see through the correct part of the lens.

The varifocal design has been enhanced since its invention in 1959. The latest design from the inventor of the varifocal lens is Varilux X series, this new, modern design means that you can look through any part of the lens and experience sharper, clearer vision without having to move your head.

Through consumer research, it was found that we’re living a more on-the-go lifestyle, with the most important things happening within arm’s reach. Our smartphones, computers, face-to-face meetings all occur in our intermediate and near vision. Varilux X series meets the needs of today’s wearers so they continue with their busy lives without their varifocal lenses slowing them down.

Download Varilux varifocal brochure

Varifocal lenses can correct presbyopia

Wearing varifocal lenses

If you are aged over 40 and begin to notice that objects close up are appearing blurry, or you’re struggling to see clearly in low lit conditions, it is possible that you may need varifocal lenses. Be sure to see an optician, who can check the health of your eyes and perform a vision test, before recommending the best lenses to suit your needs.

Varilux lens brochure

Varifocal lenses for all lifestyles, for all needs and for all prescriptions.

→ Download brochure

Related articles

Your life and eyes 4 min read

Will presbyopia affect my vision on the road?

Whether you drive a car, ride a bicycle or motorbike, or simply prefer to walk, great vision is critical for road safety. Presbyopia is a natural part of ageing and symptoms usually start to occur from the early 40s.