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Until now you might not have given much thought to the design of your spectacle lenses but it's worth remembering that, whilst frames create style, it's your lenses that do all the work!
Depending upon your age and visual requirements, there are many ways in which your spectacle prescription may be dispensed.
Single vision lenses
Single vision lenses are used by those needing a correction for general distance or close up work. Single vision, as the terms suggests, assist us to focus at one distance only and would be used, for example, when driving or when reading. Spectacle wearers up to the age of 40 can generally manage with single vision lenses as any extra help required for reading is automatically catered for by the eye adjusting its own power.
Bifocal lenses are effectively two lens powers combined together to assist with both near and distance vision. The most common use of bifocals is for reading correction in the lower lens together with a modest distance correction in the upper lens, giving sharp vision at two distinct distances. Bifocals can also be supplied with a clear (upper) lens for those requiring reading glasses but not wanting the inconvenience of removing their spectacles every time they look up.
Varifocal lenses, also known as progressive lenses, provide the wearer with a multifocal capability over all distances from near to far, thus restoring, to a certain extent, the vision of youth! So whether you are reading, shopping, cooking or driving there will be a portion of the varifocal lens designed to give you the sharpest vision. Although varifocals have attracted the tag line 'bifocals without the lines', they do, in fact, offer far greater visual and performance comfort than any bifocal lens. Despite this, the absence of telltale dividing lines is a major plus for many wearers.
Variations on a theme
Aspheric lenses - these lenses are thinner and flatter than standard lenses to ensure the widest possible field of vision, particularly for short sighted (myopic) corrections.
High index lenses - these lenses are denser than standard index lenses and can be made thinner and usually lighter for any given prescription. This results is a more attractive and comfortable lens.
Wide angle varifocal (atoric) lenses - a new generation of varifocal lens that offers improved reading widths, especially those with occupations demanding the maximum reading width such as architects, musicians, or benchworkers for example.
Extended depth reading lenses - traditional reading lenses tend to have a limited reading distance of between around 30cms (12") and 40 cms (16"). This can occasionally cause problems when working at a desk or using a computer, or even when reading in bed. New lenses now available give an extended reading depth of up to 2m (6") thus, allowing your reading lenses to become far more versatile whilst maintaining the benefit of the maximum reading width normally associated with reading spectacles.