Thanks to the advancement of lens technology, glasses lenses are no longer a single, one size fits all solution. There are a variety of different lens types that can be used in glasses, giving patients greater flexibility and control over their vision than ever before.
Also known as monovision lenses, these lenses are designed to correct the wearer’s vision at just one distance, and have a single prescription covering the entire surface of the lens. They are most often recommended for people who are either nearsighted (myopia) or farsighted (hyperopia) and who need glasses for a specific activity, such as driving or reading.
Progressive lenses are multifocal lenses that can correct a patient’s vision at different working distances, ranging from far distance to reading distance. However, rather than designating different areas on the lenses for different distances with visible lines separating them, progressive lenses have a gradual change so that the wearer can smoothly transition from one lens power to another.
As you may have guessed from the name, bifocal and trifocal lenses have either two or three lens powers depending on which type you choose. Bifocal lenses support distance vision in the top half of the lens, and near vision in the lower half. Trifocal lenses support distance vision in the top third of the lens, intermediate vision in the middle segment and near vision in the bottom third. Whichever variety you choose, you will see visible lines separating each segment.
Bifocal and trifocal lenses are recommended for patients who are near or farsighted, and those who develop presbyopia, which is the natural hardening of the eye lens, that occurs as we get older. Presbyopia makes it harder for the lens of the eye to adapt to focus at different distances.
Multifocal lenses are the alternative name given to bifocal, trifocal and progressive lenses.
Computer lenses are prescription lenses that are specifically designed to be worn when doing computer work. This is because they place the optimum lens power for viewing your computer screen exactly where you need it – which is closer than intermediate vision, but further away than reading material is usually held. Wearing computer lenses can significantly reduce the negative effects caused by the high visual demands of computer work, including blurred vision, redness, dry eyes, double vision and dizziness.
Also known as photochromic lenses, transition lenses are a special type of lens that darken when in the sunlight and lighten when in softer light or the dark. This versatility gives the wearer the convenience of being able to move between different environments without needing to change their glasses. This makes them extremely cost effective and prevent the wearer from needing to take multiple pairs of glasses out with them. Transition lenses also filter out many of the harmful UV rays that are emitted from the sun, helping to keep eyes healthy too. They are ideal for people who spend a lot of time going between inside and outside, or who work outside in varying weather conditions.
Blue light lenses are specially crafted lenses that contain filters that block out much of the artificial blue light that is produced by digital devices like computers, smartphones and tablets. Natural, longer blue wavelength light is actually good for balancing our sleep-wake cycle, boosting our mood and enhancing our cognitive abilities so that we can function better day to day. However, too much shorter wavelength blue light, especially from artificial sources, can have the opposite effect. Many people who fail to use blue light lenses can go on to develop digital eye strain, which produces symptoms like eye fatigue, dry eyes, blurred vision, headaches and more. Additionally, short wavelength blue light, (both natural and artificial) has been proven to be the cause of macular degeneration. Blue light lenses are recommended for anyone who spends a lot of time working on a digital device.
Just as UV light causes cataracts, short wavelength blue light causes AMD. It is important to wear lenses that filter out the most damaging short wavelength blue light, not just when working on digital devices indoors, but especially when actively outside in the sun. Polarized lenses filter out UV and blue light when outdoors and are used to reduce eyestrain and improve the quality of vision in patients on especially sunny days, making them ideal for anyone who spends a lot of time outdoors. They can do this because they have a special filter that blocks some of the light from passing through the lens. Vertical light is allowed to pass through, while horizontal light, such as that which bounces off of water and can be blinding, is blocked. Polarized lenses are most often used in sunglasses since they are worn outdoors, and the wearer also needs to protect their eyes from UV and blue light damage.
Still have questions about which lens is right for you? Contact us to schedule an eye exam or an appointment to evaluate your individual needs.