The 4 Types of Prescription Lenses

types of prescription glasses

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There are almost 8 billion people in the world today and studies show that 49.8% of us suffer from one visual defect or another. There are different lens types to meet varying visual needs.

Prescription lenses correct refractive errors—abnormalities in how light enters and forms images in your eyes.

The most common refractive errors include nearsightedness, farsightedness, presbyopia (difficulty seeing up close that develops as you age), and astigmatism (blurred vision at any distance due to an irregular corneal shape).

In this article, you will learn about the types of prescription lenses available—single vision lenses, multifocal lenses, prism lenses, and computer lenses—and their ideal use cases. We will also provide tips on what to watch out for when picking out lenses.

4 Types of Prescription Lenses 

  1. Single-vision lenses

You’ll be prescribed a single vision lens if you have just one refractive error: nearsightedness, farsightedness, presbyopia, or astigmatism.

These lenses have a uniform surface with constant corrective power all around, which allows you to get the same vision correction regardless of the direction or distance you’re looking at.

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Single vision lenses can only be worn to perform specific tasks as they correct for just one distance-related refractive error.

  • Distance vision lenses, or concave lenses, correct nearsightedness, allowing you to see objects far away. They can be worn all day and are perfect for tasks like driving.
  • Near vision lenses, also known as convex lenses, correct farsightedness or presbyopia, allowing you to see objects up close. They are commonly used as reading glasses.

Wearing the wrong pair of single vision lenses may distort your vision and cause symptoms like headaches and eyestrain.

Single vision lenses are common among people younger than 45 who don’t usually have a combination of visual defects. As you grow older, you become more prone to refractive errors, and you may develop more than one. To correct this, you may need multifocal lenses.

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  1. Multifocal Lenses

Imagine having both nearsightedness and astigmatism; this will leave you unable to see clearly at any distance. To correct multiple refractive errors, you’ll need multifocal lenses unless you’re comfortable swapping out single vision lenses every time you need to focus on a new distance.

Multifocals are made in three ways: bifocals, trifocals, and progressives.

Bifocal Lenses 

The typical ”grandma glasses.” These lenses are demarcated into two zones by a line, with the top zone correcting one error and the lower zone correcting another.

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As a general rule of thumb, the lower zone corrects for either presbyopia or farsightedness, allowing you to see nearby objects clearly, while the top zone allows you to see objects placed at a distance. Specifications for the lower zone are written in the ADD column of your optical prescription.

Trifocal Lenses 

Trifocals work the same way as bifocals, but instead of two zones, they have three. This third zone is an intermediate zone that caters to intermediate distances. This provides a smoother transition from distance correction to near correction.

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The demarcation lines on both bifocals and trifocals may interfere with your vision and can even make you look older, but progressive lenses fix this problem.

Progressive and varifocal lenses

Progressive lenses, just like bifocals and trifocals, correct refractive error combinations, but unlike the latter two, they aren’t cut up into noticeable zones. In progressives, all the zones are blended together, so you can transition from distance vision to near vision without noticing. Note that it takes longer for your eyes to adjust to progressive lenses.

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Let’s help you make a choice on what type of multifocal lens is best for you with the comparison below:

Bifocals  Trifocals  Progressives 
Design Has two distinct zones, for distance and near vision, with a visible line dividing them. Has three distinct zones: for distance, intermediate, and near vision, with visible lines separating each zone. Blended transition between zones with no visible lines.
Usage Offers vision correction for both near and distance vision. Offers vision correction for near, intermediate, and distance vision. Corrects vision at all distances.
Pros Clear vision for both at both near and far distances.

 

Less expensive than the other options.

Useful at all distances.

 

Useful for tasks at an intermediate distance.

No visible lines.

 

Smoother vision transitions from far to near with no image jump.

Cons Visible lines may be distracting.

 

Image jump while switching from one zone to the other.

 

No provisions for intermediate correction.

Visible lines may be distracting.

Image jump while switching from zone to zone.

 

Takes time for your eyes to adjust to the varying zones.

More expensive than the other options.

 

Peripheral vision (side view) may be slightly distorted.

 

Takes time for your eyes to adjust, especially on your first prescription.

Although the most common, refractive errors aren’t the only ones requiring corrective lenses. Prism lenses and computer lenses cater to more specific visual needs.

  1. Prism Lenses

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Prism lenses are special lenses that bend light and shift the image of the object you’re looking at to a different angle. They may be prescribed if you have poor eye muscle coordination or strabismus—eye misalignments like crossed eyes and double vision.

Prism lenses are rare and have very high power—it may take up to a month for your eyes to adjust to them. It is important that you get prescriptions for these from a reputable eye doctor.

  1. Computer Lenses

Complaints of eye strain, dry eyes, and headaches from prolonged screen time are common in eye care. These symptoms come together to cause Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS). If you have these symptoms, a pair of computer lenses will be perfect for you. In addition to resolving CVS, computer lenses provide intermediate distance vision correction.

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3 Factors to Consider When Picking Out Lenses 

Now that you know the different types of prescription lenses, it’s time to pick out a pair of lenses from our store. Here are three things you should consider when choosing: lens fit, additional lens features/lens options, and lens coating

  1. Lens and Frame Fit

It is important to perfectly match a pair of lenses to your fashion and visual needs. The right pair of glasses are not just visual aids; they can be key fashion accessories that allow you to express your personal style. We allow you to virtually try on frames before purchasing from us. To do this, simply click the “Try On” button.

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Ensure the lenses you order from us precisely meet your visual needs by entering your correct prescription, not older than two years and your accurate pupillary distance. Entering the wrong prescriptions and pupillary distance will unfortunately lead to you receiving misaligned glasses. Wearing the wrong prescription can cause headaches and eye strain and even worsen your vision.

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  1. Additional Lens Features/Lens Options

We recommend that you consider the perks and additional features that may be added to a pair of lenses. Lenses commonly have features like scratch resistance, UV protection, and anti-glare.

We provide you with the option to choose the features you’d like to fit your lenses with, and we even let you do it within the limits of your budget.

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  1. Lens Coating

You may also consider adding coatings and protective layers to your glasses. We provide you with the option of adding coatings like polarizers, sunglasses tints, photochrome and blue light defense to your lenses,

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£12.95

Size 54-17-139

£22.95

Size 52-19-145

£19.95

Size 53-18-141

£18.95

Size 47-21-140

£23.95

Size 52-17-140

£19.95

Size 51-16-140

£14.45

Size 54-17-142

£9.95

Size 52-20-145

£18.95

Size 55-16-143

£23.95

Size 51-19-140

 

£18.95

Size 53-16-145

£12.95

Size 53-17-145