Varifocal Weirdness...anybody else use 'em?

Fab Foodie

hanging-on in quiet desperation ...
3 years ago I had my first reading glasses, ended-up with them perched on the tip of my voluminous schnozz and looking over the top for stuff over a metre away and through 'em for close-up stuff.

Well 3 years later my longer distance sight has declined and Varifocals seemed to be the thing. Am moving to a full-time glasses wearer.

Picked-them up yesterday...the effect is kinda like being drunk. Quite weird, they do work though but the field of effective operation is relatively narrow. After a while I find I am getting used to them.

Specsavers offer a 48 day trial period in which I can return them for more regular types.

Anbody out there got varifocal experience/advice?


Started young, and still going.
Morning FF. I have varifocals for a year or so now and I find that when reading it is best to slightly tilt your head back a bit and look down through the lower half of the lense. failing that, move the book a little lower in the field of vision. Also, make sure your specs are seated on your nose correctly. if they aren't you could be partially looking through the reading part of the lense when you should be looking through the distance part. This would give you a distorted view. Keep with them and you get used to them.

Elmer Fudd

Miserable Old Bar Steward
I had some vari-focal safety specs for work, never got used to walking upstairs with them on, always felt my knee was about to hit my face, so for me personally, I went back to reading glasses, little thin ones that I could look over.
My long sight is OK, I mean, I can see the moon, how much further do I need to see ?


Oldest Teenager In Town
Nr Bath
Hi FF, I have been wearing spectacles for nearly 50 years and have had varifocals for about 10 years, don't seem to have much problem, but you get less distortion around the edges with more expensive lenses. Going up and down stairs etc just bend your head down more. You can't slouch back on the sofe to watch tele as you will be looking through the reading portion (may need new sofa or fix tele near to ceiling). I still peer over the top if I am tying a fly onto a fishing line. Unfortunately it's an age thing so try them, you don't want to be changing glasses every few minutes with cords around your neck!


I was advised against varifocals, some years ago, for some of the reasons you state - and specifically for the problems they might give with computer screens - and driving (no problem with cycling though! ;)). I opted for bifocals instead and have used them ever since. I still have some difficulty with a computer monitor at work which I am forced to have at eye level (the one at home is a bit below eye-level) - so I got my employers to pay (as they are legally obliged to) for a pair of single-focus glasses set to a bit over reading distance, which I still use.

Don't know whether this bit of information helps, or just rubs it in? I'd also advise a caution about Specsavers: they may be cheap but their build quality of the frames is poorer than some others and I'm not entirely convinced of their lens accuracy: once you've put on and taken off a pair of glasses a thousand times you begin to discover such things! Pay a bit extra and go to one of the independent opticians, I'd say. Exactly the same as avoiding Halfords for bikes!


Elmer Fudd said:
My long sight is OK, I mean, I can see the moon, how much further do I need to see ?
I can see the Andromeda galaxy(M31) well enough on a dark clear night well away from light pollution. 2.2 million light years ~= 13 million million million miles. Far enough? The real challenge is a smaller and slightly more distant galaxy called M33 which I have so far failed to pick out - without binoculars. I keep trying though! And some of the most keen-sighted of all stargazers - if viewing from absolutely perfect conditions - claim to be able to make out a still more distant galaxy with the naked eye - Bode's galaxy - which is about twelve million light-years away. That's got to be the utter limit though!

Thought you'd all like to know that.


Frogs are people too.
I've been using them for years. The first few days are a bit of a pain but your brain soon learns how to tilt the head for best vision, it becomes automatic and the weirdness goes. I'd give them a go - much better than bifocals (opinion).


Legendary Member
I got varifocals about two years ago. The shop told me that they would feel a bit weird for 2 weeks until my brain got used to them, and after that I wouldn't notice them.

That's exactly what happened.

The only time I have ever had a problem with them is when I have been sitting high up in a balcony at a theatre or concert, and then you end up trying to look down at the stage through the reading bit.
Fab Foodie

Fab Foodie

hanging-on in quiet desperation ...
Guys thanks for the info.

I do find that I'm getting used to them slowly but surely. It helps when I don't think about them, but as I'm not used to wearing Specs all the time I tend to think about them a lot!
Also need them sitting a tad to the right on my bent nose.

Just slobbed-out in front of a movie and I see what you mean about head position.
Find I also need to sit further back from the computer screen also to avoid the edge distortion.

Still weird's gonna be fun tomorrow ;)

Thanks FF.


New Member
I have been wearing them for years, whenI first went in to my local Opticians (specsavers), the optician told me I would have problems with stairs ( I didn't).

I find the secret (if there is one) to wearing varifocals is to move your head, and view things straight on, don't try and look sideaways, that's when you get the distortion in your peri vision.

And tilting the head helps when reading, I get on really well with mine, and much less faff than having two pairs of specs would have been.

I did have a brief attempt at contacts last year, but because I'm long sighted I found I would have been wearing specs for reading more and more, so I gave up on the contacts idea and continued with me bins!

Maybe I'll get a pair of optilab cycling specs sometime?


Legendary Member
They are brilliant, I've worn them for about 3 years now. It only took me a day to get used to them. The only problem is that in the dark I can't see those slippery roots in front of the bike very well.
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