You had just purchased some prescription glasses last year. This year, your eyes have changed that you needed glasses for up-close work as well as for correcting your distance vision. You had glasses for your distance vision and your near vision. You had multiple pairs of single vision lenses, but not it’s becoming more impractical to carry multiple pairs of glasses. Your optometrist mentioned multifocal lenses as a solution, but now you end up more confused, having heard good comments and disheartening experiences from others. What is the best option for you?
Understanding your Vision
Everyone’s vision is different. Everyone’s vision requirements are also different. To determine if you are ready for the multifocal lenses, you need to have a solid idea of what you want to achieve with your new multifocal lenses.
We have all heard of the term short-sightedness and long-sightedness. These are terms to describe at what distance your vision is clearest without wearing any glasses. So if you are short-sighted, it means that your vision is clearest up close when you’re not wearing any glasses.
If you are long-sighted, it means that you can see things clearest long way away. If you’re long-sighted, you are most likely to struggle with your vision after prolonged reading or working on the computer.
Unfortunately, as we age, our ability to adjust and manipulate our lens inside our eyes to focus at objects, texts and fine prints up close becomes increasingly difficult. As we approach the early 50s, we find that our ability to continue doing long hours in front of the computer is becoming more challenging. This is probably the time where you have just been prescribed your first pair of reading glasses.
Using Single Vision Lenses
Single vision lenses are optimised for a specific focal point. Either at the infinity for distance or a certain distance such as viewing the computer or your book. The focal length of your single vision lenses depends on what your vision requirements are along with your refractive condition.
If you are short-sighted and have worn glasses for most of your life, the chances are that a single vision lens. The lens your optometrist has prescribed is just to correct your distance vision. If you’re a 20-year-old, when wearing these lenses, even though it is optimised for distance vision, you could still look through them to read, leaving your near vision unaffected. That’s because your eyes can still adjust to focus fine prints up close. As the short-sighted individual gets older, your eye’s ability to focus up close becomes more challenging and probably finds it easier to remove his/her glasses to read up close.
For a long-sighted individual, he/she may already have a pair of glasses; whether they are for distance or reading depends on what was discussed in the appointment and what the individual requirements are. Because for a long-sighted individual, they need to focus or use effort to view in the distance, the effort to keep fine prints focussed at a close distance is more compared to a short-sighted individual. In this case, having single vision lenses optimised for the distance, the patient won’t notice any increase in clarity through these lenses. However, when wearing these lenses, their effort required to read up close is drastically reduced — thereby reducing all the eyestrain related symptoms associated with near work such as long hours on computers in the office, or prolonged reading. For this individual, he/she can leave his/her glasses on all day, until reaching an age that requires an increased prescription for near work. This means that for a long-sighted individual, he/she most likely to need two pairs of glasses; one for distance and one for close distance in the future, probably requiring reading glasses a lot earlier on in life.
Using Multifocal Lenses
At some point in our lives, we would require multiple pairs of glasses if we decided to use single vision lenses. As mentioned, as we get older, our eyes become less and less flexible to adjust between multiple distances; from TV to computer and reading. You could get multiple pairs of glasses optimised for the TV, computer and reading or you could have one pair of multifocal lenses with your prescription for all the distances in between. Sounds great, you might think, but nothing in life has the pros without the cons.
The prescription of the multifocal lenses varies throughout the lens. It is usually fitted with your distance prescription on the top of the lens. The bottom of the lens has your reading prescription to help with your near work. In between these areas, there’s a bit of what we call “intermediate” distance for viewing things like the computer, anything from about an arm’s length away. Unlike your single vision lenses that you’ve been wearing for most of your life, these multifocal lenses require you to look at a specific portion of within the lens for focussing on different distances.
By combining different prescription in one lens, due to the design and optics, the vision in the peripheral part of the lens is distorted. This distortion effect tends to increase depends on the difference between your distance and near vision prescription. The distortion also depends on the lens design of the multifocal. At Capital Eye optometrist in Canberra, we offer the latest German-designed lenses which drastically minimise this distortion effect and providing you true edge-to-edge clarity.
The Bottom Line
You are often given lots of different options to correct your vision. Some lenses are more expensive than others. What determines what you need depends on your vision requirements and your refractive condition. Multifocals won’t work the best for individuals that do a lot of close work or reading predominately; like a jeweller. Single vision lenses may not be a good option for an office worker who attends board meetings and requires their distance vision unaffected while using their glasses on the computer to take notes.
At Capital Eye, your optometrist in Canberra fits specialised lenses each week, customising and personalising your eyewear and optical aids to suit your vision requirements and lifestyle. If you have glasses or lenses that no longer work for you, make a booking with us, and we look forward to seeing you in our practice.