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What’s the difference between varifocal and bifocal lenses?

What’s the difference between varifocal and bifocal lenses?

Many people get confused about the difference between varifocal and bifocal lenses and which would be the best type of lens for them. We have created this simple guide to help you understand the difference and pick the right lens type. Both types of lenses can take a bit of time to get used to if you have been used to using just single vision lenses.

Bifocal Lenses

Bifocal lenses allow two different prescriptions to be combined into one lens. The lens is divided into two parts to accommodate the combination of prescriptions. The top half of the lens usually has the distance lens and the lower half of the lens is usually the near vision prescription. Bifocal lenses are perfect if you have two prescription types.

If you want to add Bifocal lenses to your Fashion Eyewear you can contact our customer service team on [email protected]

Varifocal Lenses

Varifocal lenses allow a combination of three prescription types. This is usually a combination of prescriptions for distance vision, intermediate vision and near vision.

Distance vision is placed in the upper part of the lens. There is a soft focus around the edge of your vision.

The middle of your lens is your mid-distance or intermediate vision. This prescription type is usually for seeing computer screens or your dashboard while driving.

The bottom of your varifocal lens will be your reading prescription or near vision, again there is some soft focus of your vision in this part of your lens.

The Varifocal lenses are perfect if you have three prescription glasses and you need all three prescription types in one pair of glasses. This is especially useful for day to day activities and is most useful for driving where clear vision in all ranges is so important.

More on Varifocal Lenses

Varifocal lenses are one of our most popular prescription lenses. They work by changing power from the top to the bottom of one pair of lenses combining three prescription types. Moving your eyes up and down your lenses will give you the clarity you need from all three vision types: Distance, Mid-Range and Reading. Varifocal lenses have a wide field of vision therefore you simply move your eyes to change where you are focussing through instead of having to move your head. Varifocal lenses are perfect for everyday use, for example, if you are driving you can see the road clearly at a far and mid-range distance as well as your dashboard or SatNav.

Varifocal Lenses at Fashion Eyewear

We only stock the best lenses at Fashion Eyewear. As well as stocking top optical brands Essilor, Nikon, Ray-Ban and Oakley our opticians have also created our own specialised packages. Each package is of high quality and designed for different lifestyle needs at affordable prices.

Basic Package

This is our most affordable varifocal package and is perfect for the wearer who needs a pair of varifocal glasses but doesn’t rely on them daily. As they are a standard lens the field of vision is quite narrow due to distortions in the lens. However, you can add coatings to this lens to add extra qualities.

Advanced Package

This advanced lens package offers a wider field of vision than the Basic package. This is an important feature for people who spend a lot of time in glasses. The wider field of intermediate vision enables wearers to adapt more easily to the lenses. Less head movement is needed and you just need to your eyes to see out of the side of your glasses. These lenses are perfect for first-time wearers and higher prescriptions. If you are buying varifocals for the first time it is recommended you purchase a premium or elite lens package as the higher quality lens allows you to adjust to them more easily.

Premium Package

With our premium varifocal package, you will be able to see more clearly. Images will look sharper and the field of vision is much wider than both the Basic and Advanced package. Premium lenses are excellent for the first time wearers of varifocals due to the wide field of vision and visual acuity - these features will allow you to adjust to your new varifocals easily.

Elite Package

This is our most elite package at Fashion Eyewear. As well as this package being most recommended it is also a bestseller. If you are looking for a high-quality lens with advanced optical clarity then this package is for you. These lenses have unmatched visual acuity designed by a special technology in the lenses which lower the aberrations or distortions. Your vision will be much cleaner and sharper, which makes them particularly suitable for first-time wearers as well as people who will rely on their varifocals for a long period of time, daily. These lenses are incredibly easy for the eyes to adapt to as the aberrations (distortion in the lens) is minimal. The elite lenses also have the widest field of vision allowing the ultimate comfort and minimal eye strain.


Once you have chosen your varifocal package you can then add a coating. This is a perfect way to design your lenses to meet your lifestyle needs. This also adds durability and longevity to your eyewear.


This coating protects your lenses from everyday wear and tear so you can get the most use out of your eyewear. As well as anti-glare providing the utmost comfort.


Our premium coating package provides three care elements: Scratch-resistant anti-reflection, anti-glare, and smudge resistance. Smudges on your frames can be annoying, especially if you live in your varifocals - so reduce your cleaning time with our premium package.

Elite Coating

The Elite package has many features and is a must if you wear your varifocals every day. This coating includes scratch-resistant, anti-reflection, anti-glare, smudge resistant, water and dust repellency. This elite coating also has an 18-month warranty for any scratches.

For more information on our lenses and brands, we stock check out our ‘our lenses’ page!