Close up of contact lenses

Varifocal Contact Lenses

Having been at the forefront of contact lenses since their wider adoption, Eyesite has the expertise to advise and provide you with high quality varifocal contact lens solutions to give you freedom from bifocal or varifocal/multifocal glasses.

What are varifocal contact lenses?

Varifocal contact lenses work to give you optimum vision for both distance and near in one – these contact lenses provide clear, accurate vision and take away the hassle of swapping between glasses or having to look through different parts of your bifocal or varifocal/multifocal glasses.

Varifocal contact lenses are available in soft and Gas Permeable (GP) form – daily disposable and monthly varifocal contact lenses are available depending on your preference.

How do varifocal contact lenses work?

Unlike bifocal or varifocal/multifocal glasses, where it was necessary to look up and down to get the vision you need, varifocal contact lenses have near, distance and intermediate correcting areas in front of the pupil. This enables your eyes to automatically select the optimum range required dependent on the distance of the object they are looking at.

Types of Varifocal Lens


Concentric Ring Lenses

This bifocal contact lens features a prescription in the centre and concentric rings of power around it.  Each ring alternates between the near and distance prescription to provide consistent quality of vision.

Concentric ring bifocal contact lenses can be made of either soft or rigid contact lens material. The locations of the powers will vary:

  • Rigid lens bifocals feature centre-distance design, with the distance power in the centre on the lens.
  • Soft bifocal contact lenses usually have the near power in the centre
  • Some soft multifocal designs are centre-near on your dominant eye but centre-distance on your non-dominant eye.

Aspheric Multifocal Contact Lenses

Aspheric  contact lenses feature a progressive strength design, where the prescriptions blend gradually towards the centre.

Translating Bifocal Contact Lenses

Translating (or alternating) bifocal lenses work just like bifocal eyeglasses. They have two power segments, with a clear line of separation between the two. Your eye looks through one or the other, depending on whether you are looking near or far.

Because alternating lenses need to remain in one place, like regular glasses, these contact lenses are made of rigid material and are smaller than regular lenses. This allows the translating contact lenses to ride on your eye so you can use them when looking up or down.

Which bifocal contact lens is right for me?

Two factors that your optometrist will consider when choosing a bifocal contact lens are pupil size and your near prescription.

The general rule is that low adds (near prescriptions) are better suited to an aspheric multifocal. A translating bifocal is a better choice for high adds. Too large a pupil can be problematic for an aspheric multifocal lens.

You may need to try different bifocal contact lens designs before finding the one that’s right for you. Our experts at Eyesite will happily guide you through the range of lenses and help you find the right lens for you.

What is the difference between bifocal and varifocal contact lenses?

Bifocal vs Varifocal

The main difference between bifocal contact lenses and varifocal contact lenses is that bifocal lenses contain two prescriptions in the lens, whilst varifocal lenses contain a range of prescriptions. Bifocal contact lenses have one prescription for close reading and another prescription for normal/long distance vision and are available in translating or concentric form. Varifocal contact lenses are also available in concentric form as well as aspheric, providing a smoother, more transitional vision than bifocal. Both bifocal contact lenses and varifocal contact lenses are available in soft or Gas Permeable materials.

Pros and Cons of Varifocal Contact Lenses

  • Better visual acuity when looking both near and far
  • Switch between prescriptions smoothly
  • Offers the ability to see in most conditions without extra eyewear
  • Nighttime glare and dim light make focusing more difficult
  • Relatively more expensive compared to other types of contact lens
  • You may experience an adjustment period of headaches and blurry vision

Eyesite can help with varifocal contact lenses

Eyesite’s practitioners are able to provide you with expert advice on varifocal contact lenses. We offer a free contact lens experience for you to try out varifocal lenses and get comfortable and used to wearing them.

Varifocal contact lenses online

If you already know what varifocal contact lenses work best for you, you can purchase them through our online shop. This is a quick an easy process that allows you to get exactly what you need for your eyes.