Varifocal acclimatisation. Advice please!

I picked up my new glasses on Monday. These ones.

TC-20150106-1125(Image from Specsavers’ website. Copyright acknowledged.) 

As you may remember, these are my first pair with varifocal lenses. Which means I am officially old. But that’s not the point of this post. We know I’m old already. I knew there would be a bit of ‘getting used to’ involved. And I’m planning to pop back into the optician to ‘review’ my first week. But before I do, it would really help to get some feedback from others to see if my experience is just normal…

Initial impressions were great. But after relaxing into them I began to notice a few things. First up, in some circumstances, looking left and right makes the edges of my vision go up and down. Tricky to explain, but I guess that’s what I recall my dad describing as things ‘swimming around a bit’ when he first got his, so I’m guessing it’s normal. And it’s a little disorienting, but not really a problem. Any other varifocal wearers recognise what I’m talking about?

Next up – and this is probably the prescription needing tweaking – but whilst distant vision is good, when I’m reading it seems to vary a lot. In good light, and when I’m alert, everything seems fine, but at other times I still find that I get a bit of double vision and am tempted to take them off or close one eye, with of which I’d been hoping to avoid. And it’s tricky to be certain, but it seems to me that my best position for reading (when I am still using both eyes!) isn’t quite straight ahead, but slightly to one side. Again – probably something needing tweaking. I’m also noticing a lot more spots of light; I keep thinking the lenses are dusty but they’re not, so I’m guessing the light bounces around inside the lenses more due to the complexity of the varifocal. In about thirty years of wearing glasses I’ve never bothered with anti-glare coatings and never felt I’ve needed to. Are varifocals more of a problem, or is it just the shape of these ones?

But here’s the main thing which I’m struggling with… Once I’ve been wearing them for a while, my eyes actually feel dry. It’s just like when I was wearing contact lenses – I keep thinking I’m looking forward to taking them out. And then I remember I’m not wearing any. Did this happen to you? And did you get used to it?


4 thoughts on “Varifocal acclimatisation. Advice please!

  1. Tina Carpenter

    Trevor, when I first had my varifocals I was told to wear them for a few hours at a time to get used to them and that it could take up to 3 weeks. It didn’t take that long and I felt I’d adjusted to them when I could go down an escalator without feeling nervous. Keep going, it can take time. Dry eyes? can’t see how that’s connected so best to check it out.
    Old? You may be, but I’m not, lol x

    1. Trevor Post author

      I wondered about phasing them in, but thought that might be cheating so have just worn them constantly. (Wasn’t advised to build up slowly.)

      Yes, I’m just wondering if to hardens may be unrelated, but thought could be due to my eyes having to ‘work harder’. Have picked up some eye drops to see if they help.

  2. Phil Wadner

    Congratulations on sticking with the acclimatisation, which I failed to do. I found varifocals impossible to drive with, because the view through my side mirrors was very distorted. And, as you have said, reading was hit and miss. I was pretty sure the reading part of the varifocal lens could have been larger and that would have made them easier to use. So, I only lasted a few days and went back to bi-focals with a pair for day-to-day use and a special pair for doing what I’m doing now. Actually, I worked out the focal lengths myself and bought the computer pair on-line. They were so cheap I also ordered a pair with all the bells and whistles (hard coating, variable tint, etc). I think they were about £70 against nearly £300 in the High Street.


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