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Varifocal Reading Glasses vs. Adjustable Focus: Which Pair Is Right for You?  

Varifocal Reading Glasses vs. Adjustable Focus: Which Pair Is Right for You?  

In an effort to address the age-related vision problems that are so common with so many, people often have a decision on their hands. They can pick up a pair of reading glasses so that they can continue to enjoy their favorite hobbies and activities, sure… but with so many different types available, how do they even know where to begin?

Many people go with one of two different options: varifocal reading glasses or adjustable focus reading glasses. While these two choices are similar in many ways, there are a number of important distinctions that you’ll definitely want to know about.

What Are Varifocal Reading Glasses?

Varifocal lenses, as the name suggests, are a very particular type of lens that essentially has two distinct parts instead of one. The top part of the lens is typically used for seeing things at a distance. The bottom part is for seeing things that are physically much closer to you. Together, they allow you to focus on objects properly without having to switch glasses or employ any other type of solution – in most situations.

Varifocal reading glasses are a lot like multi-focus, trifocal or even progressive glasses in that they still offer you a clear focus regardless of what you’re looking at. When you’re in the middle of reading your favorite book, look up to answer a question from your spouse, look across the room to check the time and then head back to the book, you’re talking about different objects at near, intermediate and far distances. Varifocal lenses, by design, will help you maintain the proper focus regardless of what you’re looking at—not only going a long way toward preserving your vision but also avoiding problems like blurry sight or even headaches at the same time.

Varifocal reading glasses usually include one lens for each eye that gradually shifts between different diopters—those “multiple parts” that were mentioned earlier. This can be hugely beneficial for people who need to focus on objects at different distances all day long, which would be common if you were at work or in some other type of busy environment.

To that end, varifocal reading glasses are actually similar to adjustable or variable focus glasses in that they’re built to preserve your ability to focus, no matter what. There are, however, a number of other important differences that are more than worth exploring.

How Are Adjustable Focus Glasses Different?

The key difference between traditional varifocal reading glasses and the types of adjustable focus lenses offered by Adlens can all be summed up in a single word: control. More specifically, they provide wearers not only better control over the strength of their vision given the situation, but also in terms of when they want to switch from one strength to the other.

With adjustable focus glasses, each lens has its own unique dial that moves a series of two lenses into different positions until your vision maintains the razor-sharp focus you need. So essentially, you’re not waiting for your eye to focus through the right part of the lens, as you would be with a pair of varifocal reading glasses. Rather, you look at something, you shift the dial, your focus improves, and you go about your day. It really doesn’t get much more straightforward than that.

Think about it like this: If you’re wearing a pair of varifocal reading glasses, you typically have to change your eye position depending on what you’re looking at. Like with trifocal glasses, if you want to focus on something in the distance, you look through the top part of the lens. If you want to focus on your computer screen, you look through the bottom. This isn’t necessarily difficult, but it can be a chore to get used to for some.

With adjustable reading glasses, you’re in complete control over the focal strength of the lens itself without needing to actually do anything differently with your eye. These lenses have a single focal length that you can change with the aforementioned dial—so you change the lens itself, not where you’re looking.

Likewise, vision correction with adjustable focus glasses is changed over your ENTIRE field of view in all directions—not just in terms of what you’re specifically focusing on. So with a pair of varifocal reading glasses, whatever you’re looking at maybe sharp and crisp, but everything else would still be blurry. With adjustable focus glasses, EVERYTHING would be sharp and crisp no matter what. This may not be something you’re overly concerned about, but in the event that this is something that you need, it is absolutely worth thinking about.

Which Is Right for Me?

When it comes to determining which of these two options is the right one for you, there are a number of important distinctions to consider. Remember that even though both types of glasses are largely doing the exact same thing, they’re doing so in vastly different ways—which means you’ve got a unique context to consider.

The Adlens UZOOM adjustable, magnifying reading glasses, for example, are really intended for seeing things both close up and then at an intermediate distance away from you. Generally speaking, they’re perfect for focusing on things up to 6.5 feet away. If you’re the type of person who spends a lot of time in front of a computer but still needs to be able to quickly focus on other elements of your environment, this would absolutely be an option that you’d want to explore. But they’re not really designed to replace any prescription eyewear that you already have—they’re simply intended to help combat the effects of poor vision that worsen as we age (i.e. presbyopia).

Varifocal glasses, on the other hand, can be based on your prescription. So if you already have trouble seeing, are already going through the effects of presbyopia, a need a more powerful solution for any other reason, varifocal glasses would absolutely be an option you would want to discuss more with your eye doctor.

Adlens: Your Partner in Health and Vision

Understanding the difference between varifocal reading glasses and adjustable focus lenses is ultimately about more than just knowledge—it’s about taking steps today to preserve your vision tomorrow, making sure that you can enjoy everything you want with as little potential downsides as possible. If you have any questions about adjustable focus glasses, please don’t hesitate to contact us at Adlens today. If you are ready to give adjustable lenses a try, visit

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  • Apr 19, 2018
  • Category: Article
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