Adapting to Varifocal (Progressive) Lenses

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Adapting to Varifocal (Progressive) Lenses
By Tina Mason 1 April 2018

With today’s up-to-date designs in varifocal (progressive) lenses, most first-time wearers notice very few problems at all; this is even more so with freeform back-surfaced varifocals (also known as ‘digital surfacing’).
However, for others there can be a short adaption period to progressive lenses, typically lasting a few minutes to a few days.


When first adapting to your varifocal lenses, you may at first feel as though you will never get used to the ‘swimming’ sensation when you initially make quick head movements. You may also experience a soft blur in the peripheral edges of the varifocal lens when you glance to the far right or left, and especially when you look down. This is because the ‘blending’ of lens powers in progressive lenses lets you see clearly at all distances. This can cause minor aberrations in the peripheral part of the lenses.


Side Effects With Varifocal Lenses


Varifocal lens designs have improved significantly over the last several years and have greatly reduced peripheral aberrations, hence first-time wearers seldom notice no problems at all.


If you do experience the blur (or “swim”) you may at first need to make slight head movements to look more directly at objects. These problems do disappear as you adjust to your varifocal lens.


If you have hyperopia (farsightedness), adapting to progressive lenses may take a bit longer than if you are only mildly farsighted or are near-sighted.

Other side effects during the adjustment period may include headaches, dizziness, and nausea. If you do experience any of these problems, please do not be tempted to return to your single vision (reading/distance) glasses or a different lens design (Bifocal, Trifocal) as this will only serve to increase the adjustment period.


Simply remove the varifocal glasses for a short period of time and once the symptoms have subsided, put them back on. With today’s progressive lens designs, nearly everyone can wear varifocal progressive lenses successfully.


Make sure you wear your new varifocal lenses as often as possible, which will make the adjustment period shorter.


If you are first-time varifocal lens wearer, unlike traditional varifocal lenses, our bespoke freeform back-surfaced varifocal lens is individually crafted to suit your prescription and chosen frame, thus making it one of the easiest varifocal lenses to adapt to with little or no adjustment period.