Types Of Glasses Lenses Explained & How They Improve Vision

red frame Reykjavik Eyes glasses

Finding the right solution to correct your eyesight is all about assessing your individual needs. When it comes to buying new prescription frames, the factor that determines their effectiveness in correcting your sight is the type of lenses that they contain. There are various types of lenses for glasses, and our in-store optometrists will explain which option will be best suited to your vision. We’re going to explore some of the most common types of glasses lenses, helping you to get savvy on understanding your prescription when you come to us for your 3D OCT eye exam.

What are the main types of lenses for glasses?

There are three main kinds of lenses for optical correction, and each type refracts light to enhance the quality of your vision. If you only wear non-prescription glasses, these frames don’t have this feature, and therefore they won’t improve the quality of your sight. The different types of lenses for prescription glasses include:

1. Single vision lenses

Single vision lenses are the most common type of prescription glasses lenses. They have one consistent refractive index, meaning they are the same level of correction across the entire surface of the lens. These are typically prescribed for individuals who have trouble seeing either near or far (nearsightedness or farsightedness), but not both. For example, if you only reach for your glasses when you’re reading or working at a laptop, but you don’t need them to see distances, then single vision lenses would be best suited to your sight – as they’re enhancing one part of your vision.

2. Multifocal lenses

While single-vision lenses correct one kind of sight type, multifocal lenses have multiple correction capabilities, all built into one lens. They include:

Bifocal lenses

Bifocal lenses are divided into two distinct sections. The upper part is usually for distance viewing, while the lower part is for near viewing. These types of lenses for glasses are typically recommended for people who have difficulty seeing both near and far, commonly a condition known as presbyopia that comes with age. Bifocals also give wearers the convenience of having just one pair of ‘all-rounder’ glasses – they don’t have to switch between different types of lenses to enhance their vision.

Varifocal lenses

Varifocal lenses are a multi-functioning lens, and they’re referred to as a level up from the enhancement that a bifocal lens provides. They enhance the wearer’s vision for combined near, mid, and long-range distances, making them a dynamic solution. Similarly to bifocal lenses, this type of lens means that the wearer will only need one pair of glasses.

Trifocal lenses

As suggested by their namesake, trifocal lenses are divided into three zones. These distinguished sections target near vision, intermediate vision, and distance vision. Similar to bifocals, trifocal lenses section off their different zones with a visible line, but this type of glasses lens has two lines instead of one.

Progressive lenses

Progressive lenses for glasses offer a smooth progression of several lens powers for all viewing distances. They have a seamless look, with no visible line separating the zones for near and far vision. These are often prescribed for people with presbyopia who also require correction for intermediate/up-close distances.

If you’re used to wearing single vision lenses, it might take some time to adjust to progressive lenses.

Types of glasses lenses: shape

Different types of glasses lenses come in different shapes, and the kind that you’ll need will depend on your prescription. The lens shapes provide a different angle for focusing light onto your retina in the correct way, enhancing your sight in turn. We’ve outlined these below:

Concave glasses lenses

If you’re near-sighted, you’ll need concave lenses – they curve inwards.

Convex glasses lenses

Those with far-sightedness will benefit the most from convex lenses, which curve outwards.

Cylinder-shaped lenses for astigmatism

People that have astigmatism in one or both eyes will benefit the most from cylinder-shaped lenses. This condition means that the eye is shaped more like a rugby ball than a football, so light is focused at more than 1 place.

How do I know which type of lenses I need?

The type of lenses that you’ll need will depend on the exacts of your most recent prescription – so you’ll most likely need an up-to-date eye test to determine the right solution.

How do I know if I’m wearing the wrong type of glasses lenses?

If you’re wearing the wrong type of lenses, you’re almost certain to experience some physical symptoms. These could include:

  • Headaches
  • Squinting
  • Light sensitivity
  • Blurry vision
  • Vertigo

The benefit of getting regular eye exams is that you’re able to monitor these symptoms, and you can find effective ways to treat them and address any other causes of bad eyesight by knowing you’re wearing the right type of lenses for your vision. We wouldn’t advise our customers to wait until these symptoms arise before booking an appointment, and we can also let you know how often you should get your vision tested.

Here at Optical Revolution, we ensure that all of our customers leave our practices feeling informed about their vision, with glasses with lenses that are specific to their sight. We pride ourselves on sharing personalised advice and guidance after every eye exam, giving you total clarity and helping you to unlock the potential of your vision.

Find your local practice and book an appointment online at Optical Revolution, or visit us at Bott’s Opticians in Eastbourne or at Wheeler & Kirk in Southfields.





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