“All varifocals are bespoke aren’t they?” I hear you ask.
Up to a point, you’d be correct in thinking this. Traditional varifocals are made up using an optometrist’s prescription which is unique to you and accurately measured so that, once glazed into your frame, the different areas within the lens are in the ‘correct position’ (also unique to you). These two processes put together result in a pair of glasses which enable you to see comfortably at all distances. That’s pretty bespoke, right?
Wrong! Traditional varifocal lenses work best only when fitted at very specific angles and distances in relation to your eyes. This means that lens manufacturers have to make some assumptions about how your selected frame will fit in an attempt to make sure their design gives you the best possible visual experience. If these assumptions are not met, the result can be a perceived reduction in visual fields, increased distortion through the lenses and more head movement being required to look through the ‘correct part’ of the lens by the wearer.
The problem here is that, depending on the frame you select, the assumptions that lens designers make can be wildly inaccurate; when the lenses were designed, the manufacturers didn’t know which frame you would choose and how it would fit on you, how small (or big!) your nose is or how high or low your ears are on your head! How could they? All these things affect how the lens sits in relation to your eyes and as a result, how well you will see through your new glasses. Suddenly things seem a lot less bespoke, don’t they?
The good news is that, whilst traditional varifocal designs are still widely available, eye care professionals at your local optometrist’s can go much further with regard to making sure you get the maximum benefit from your new varifocals, regardless of how the frame you select fits you. The latest generation of varifocal lenses do not make assumptions about how the frame fits. Instead, your optician takes very accurate measurements while you wear the frame and tells the manufacturer exactly how it fits. These measurements are then built into the design of the lens, meaning you, the wearer gets the best possible vision. Now that’s bespoke!