How do varifocals work?

You are not sure what varifocals are and how they work? Friends and acquaintances have told you about their difficulties adapting to varifocals, causing them to experience dizziness?

In this article we will explain everything you need to know about varifocals and we will draw a clear line between facts and myths.

1 - What are varifocals?

Varifocals are glasses,
That enable clear vision at all distances

The lenses, which has a prescription for all distances, are used to correct highly defective vision. Depending on which part of the lenses you look through, the vision at that specific distance will then be clear.

The distance zone is located at the upper edge of the lenses, which enables you to see clearly in the long distance.

All objects that can be seen in the intermediate area (e.g. such as cars, radio, navigation system) are shown clearly.

The more the eyes move downwards, the more you find yourself looking through the reading area of the lenses clearly.

Varifocals and bifocals are different in many aspects, which in the past were used to correct presbyopia.

Bifocals have 2 advantages. The top portion of the lens is used for distance, while the bottom portion of the lens has a round segment which is used to view objects close to you. However, bifocals do not have an intermediate area. While wearing bifocals you jump from one vision to the other. This can lead to accidents like tripping over stairs.

2 - When are varifocals recommended? Advantages and disadvantages

Somewhere around the age of 45, many people develop a condition known as presbyopia. Also known as “elder eye”, this common problem involves difficulty focusing on near objects and is a natural result of the aging process. In some cases, eyestrain and headaches are also associated with presbyopia. The condition can occur in conjunction with other vision issues such as myopia. For people with both conditions, a varifocal or progressive type of corrective lens offers a good solution because they allow the wearer the ability to focus at varying distances.

The reason this happens is because the eyes lose the ability to accommodate to different distances and therefore cannot focus on looking at objects clearly anymore.

When presbyopia begins, people will squint or hold reading materials at arm's length to help their eyes focus. This is obviously discomforting and a strain to the eyes.

At this point, one should consider varifocal glasses if one wishes to see clearly at all distances without having to permanently switch glasses.

Once you learn to appreciate the comfort of wearing modern glasses, you should then rely only on  the latest technology for Varifocal lenses.

When purchasing glasses, be aware that these not only correct your vision but are also a fashionable accessory that needs to fit in with your life situation.

  • Varifocals combines (reading and distance glasses) all at the same time, thanks to different vision zones: you optician can enlarge the zones that you require most and fit them according to your visual needs.
  • The advantage of varifocals in comparison to bifocals is that there is no presence of lines on the lenses allowing clear and comfortable vision at all distances
  • Numerous vision impairments can be corrected at the same time (Including astigmatism).
  • A removal of the lines offers a rapid transition between the visual zones.
  • Clear and smooth vision even in between distances which are also ideal at work
  • Without eyesight-restiction: Varifocals are up to +/- 10 diopters customizable.
  • Dizziness and headaches are likely during the familiarization phase. It might take a few weeks however your eyes will get used to the new lenses.
  • Your habitual vision changes as the head must also follow the eye movements. Pure eye movements to the left or right would lead to blurring at the edges of the varifocal lens.
  • Due to the more complex manufacturing process, varifocal lenses are more expensive than single-vision lenses, however you save yourself the purchase of a second or third pair of glasses.

What are the differences between varifocals and bifocals?

Move the arrow with the mouse to see the difference between bifocal and varifocals lenses

"Bi" means two, which indicates that a bifocal glass consists of only two viewing areas.

On one hand, there is a large long distance area, which allows you to at look objects far away. In addition, a close up /reading area is incorporated into a bifocal glass. This close up area is located in the lower part of the lenses and facilitates reading and  writing.

What is missing is the intermediate range, which is present in a varifocal lenses.

In the case of a bifocal lens, it is necessary to approach either the object to be viewed at medium distances, or go further away in order to see this clearly through the distance range. As a rule of thumb, from 50 cm to 2 meters distance to the body.

The wearer can clearly see through bifocals

Most of the spectacle wearers therefore refuse to wear bifocals and use varifocals lenses because they appreciate the comfort and do not want to miss it

3 - What types of lenses exist for varifocals?

Varifocals are offered in different combinations

While there are frames in all sorts of materials and forms for you to choose from, for your new pair of varifocals, you can select the following materials for your lenses: Mineral, syntehtic material as well as polycarbonat.

Moreover, depending on the prescription and frame, you can select between the high index lenses (thinner and lighter lenses).

In case of varifocal lenses, a distinction is also made between three different types of glasses:

On the market there are usually three types of varifocals: "Basic, Comfort and Premium."

The differences can be found mainly in the size of the individual visual areas which flows smoothly from one lens to the other in order to guarantee a seamless vision at all distances.

We from specsfactory only offer premium varifocal glasses


Visual field

With an all inclusive and insurance package

Blurry vision is reduced

Large visual fields

A high level of wearing comfort

More information


Visual field

With an all inclusive and insurance package

Blurry vision is reduced

Large visual fields

A high level of wearing comfort

More information

If you would like to have thin and light lenses then we recommend to choose high refractive index materials. The light charateristics of thinner lens provides the finishing touch when you select synthetic or polycarbonate material. Both materials are especially light and combined with hard coating are very robust and usable during everyday activities.

4 - What is ist going to cost ?

While purchasing glasses, aspects such as frame, production of lenses as well as extras such as coatings that are supposed to protect your lenses from the enviroment. These services and the work of our partner opticians and production facility are also taken into consideration. These three apects are factored into our prices.

1. Our lenses are charaterized by the effort that has been put into manufacturing our product . Our lenses are our brand! They are produced using the latest state-of the-art optical technology with German machinery. We can offer you high-end varifocal lenses at a sensational price.

2. Our high quality frames are produced by an experienced team in Paris, that identifies the newest trends and with this knowledge produces modern and everyday wearable frames. You are most welcome to also combine your lenses with other brand frames.

3. It is thanks to our exclusive glasses offer that you automatically receive a complete thought through package. This means that, you will receive light synthetic premium lenses with large visual fields, as well as the following coating treatments: anti-glare, hard-coating and clean coating, a frame, 1-year glasses insurance and 100% satisfaction guarantee -  as part of an all inclusive package

Premium varifocal lenses

High quality frames

Insurance package is included

Your satisfaction and security is important to us. Hence, you will also receive an anti-glare treatment, scratch-resistance and clean-coating. Find out more about our coatings and other extras which are included here:

Buying the right pair of glasses can be an expensive affair
But we say "Not with us"

5 - Which frame is perfect for Varifocal lenses

When selecting a suitable material for your lenses, you also need to factor in the appropriate frame

You can only select lenses made out of synthetic or polycarbonate material if you have a rimless or a half-rim frame, because the lenses made out of mineral are too sensitive and can break easily.

Moreover, the frame should be 30 mm high, so that there is enough space for the different visual fields to provide the best possible vision.

Do not forget to undergo an eye examination

Before you select everything according to your wishes, you either require a new eye test or a current prescription not older than an year.

You can either do an eye test at one of our partner opticians or take your previous  prescription on the day of your appointment.

A professional eye examination and perfect centralisation of the varifocals is an absolute precondition for optimum vision. Hence, take your time for the eye test and fitting!

Get your varifocals in 3 steps :

Reserve quickly

1. Select a partner optician and book an appointment. Our call center will then call you and book an appointment with the selected partner optician.

Consultation at your local partner optician

2. You will be advised by your local partner optician, who will if neccessary, perform an eye examination and will assist you with the frame selection

Collecting your glasses

3. We will inform you when your glasses are ready for collection. The final adjustment and fitting will be carried out by the partner optician.