Varifocal Lenses

Varifocal lenses contain three separate prescriptions within one lens; distance, intermediate and near. They are also often referred to as progressive lenses, as the lenses provide a seamless and invisible progression between all three prescriptions. 

Varifocal lenses look like a standard single vision lens to those looking at the wearer; there is no visible line separating the prescriptions and the only person that knows that the lenses are varifocals is the person wearing them. In order to achieve this invisible design, there are 'lobes' of distortion at the edges of the lenses which may take some getting used to, though varifocals provide a solution for those requiring correction for more than one prescription and enable the wearer to use one pair of glasses for everything. 

At Harpenden Eye Centre, we offer numerous different brands of varifocals, such as Hoya, Nikon and Zeiss, though all varifocals typically fall into one of the four categories below:  


These varifocal lenses offer the wearer the ability to carry out all modern everyday activities at every viewing distance.


These lenses provide the above but with greater visual comfort, a wider visual field and less distortion.


These lenses provide the wearer with clear, relaxed vision for all distances as well as natural progression between the three prescriptions. Computerised technology provides a wider visual field than standard varifocal lenses and eliminates a much greater proportion of the distortion 'lobes'. These lenses are able to be tailored to the wearer's needs and lifestyle, with the additional option to provide a primary focus on one of the three prescriptions within the lens, such as distance for those who spend a large portion of their day driving, or near for those who spend a large portion of their day reading. 


These lenses provide the wearer with the clearest, most relaxed vision for all distances with the minimum amount of distortion. Computerised technology alters the wearer's prescription for all directions of gaze over the surface of the lens, rather than the prescription that was found when the wearer was looking straight forward at the 'Letter Chart' during their eye examination. A consultation will be conducted with the wearer about their needs and lifestyle, and the three prescriptions and their focuses within the lenses will be completely tailored to meet the wearer's requirements.  These exclusive lenses offer unprecedented individualisation and unsurpassed binocular performance. 



Bifocal lenses are an alternative to varifocal lenses, but contain two prescriptions in the lenses rather than three. Bifocals  give the wearer distance vision in the top part of the lens and reading vision in the bottom part of the lens, which is separated by a visible line. 

Bifocals allow a wider field of view than varifocals as there is no distortion at the edges of the lenses, though bifocals are not as cosmetically pleasing as varifocals due to the visible line separating the two prescriptions. 

There are a number of different bifocal designs, including Executive, which is where the lens has a straight line the whole way across, Round, where the lens has a visible small circle for reading, and D-Shaped, where the reading section looks like the letter 'D' sideways. Our dispensers will talk to you about your requirements and help you decide on the type of bifocal that is best suited to you.