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Single Vision & Multifocal Lenses



Single Vision Lenses

Single Vision lenses have one prescription over the entire lens surface. They can correct problems with distance and near focus or both for most people under the age of 40 – 45. These problems include myopia or nearsightedness, hyperopia or farsightedness and astigmatism which can affect vision at all distances. It is very common to have myopia or hyperopia with astigmatism also present.

Single Vision lenses are now available in a variety of materials. Standard, CR-39 optional plastic is the most common, but a wide variety of other products are available. There are mid and high index lens materials offered as well as safety materials like polycarbonate and Trivex. These materials will be covered in more detail later.

Multifocal Lenses

Multifocal lenses are just what they say. They have multiple powers on the same lens surface. Usually they are prescribed for people over the age of 40 who have a condition called presbyopia that …needs a different RX in order to focus for distance from what is needed to see clearly up close. Multifocal lenses can be obtained in all the same materials as single vision lenses.

Multifocal lenses today consist of traditional designs like visible bifocals and trifocals with distinct lines separating the distance and near areas of the lenses and progressive power designs where the strength changes gradually and smoothly and no visible lines are present.

Traditional older designs have a sharp abrupt change over from far to near areas of vision and usually limit the wearer to good vision at a distance of 6 ft. or more and about 18 inches in the near portion of the lens. Mid-range viewing of things like a computer or car dashboard is frequently compromised. Of course they also give away the wearer’s age with their tell-tale lines.

Progressive power lenses have been available for over three decades but have made huge strides in wearing comfort and visual clarity in the last 10 or 20 years. These lenses gradually change from a distance correction in the upper portion of the lens to a mid-range focus and finally a close up viewing area. There are no abrupt changes of strength and the wearer experiences comfortable vision at all distances when the lens and frame are positioned correctly. We emphasize the importance of both the lenses and the frame being set properly, for without the combination of the two working together, comfortable sharp vision cannot obtained.

Fitting Progressive Power Lenses correctly is crucial. A properly fitted progressive power lens and frame allows the wearer to experience sharp, comfortable viewing at any distance. Today’s newer designs are a radical improvement over previous generations of these lens combinations.

The latest and most stunning visually are the futuristic digital progressive power lenses. These are literally like viewing an HD TV picture compared to a good standard TY picture. The Rx is customized to the individual customer and the results are amazing. Items being viewed have a clarity and crispness to them not seen since the viewer’s early years. Great skill and the experience of the optician selecting the designs is critical to maximizing the wearer’s delight when using these lenses.

As well as single vision and general purpose multifocal lenses, there are also lenses specifically designed for computer users. These lenses give the wearer a large mid-range area of vision (perfect for the monitor) and a larger near viewing area than general purpose progressive power lenses. For those at the computer or other tasks requiring a large intermediate up close focus range they are amazing. They can relieve eye strain and fatigue to a large degree.

All the lenses mentioned previously are available in several materials…. they are:

  • Crown’ glass. Rarely, if ever used anymore due to weight and safety issues. Once the standard for clarity and scratch resistance, they have been replaced by far superior products.
  • Standard Optical plastic or CR-39, 150 index plastic is the most commonly used material. It provides excellent clarity and can be coated to prevent scratches and annoying glare. Mid index plastics make for somewhat thinner and lighter lenses and filter out harmful invisible ultraviolet light.
  • Polycarbonate and Trivex are mid index specialty lens materials which provide superior impact resistance as well as lighter weights and thinner lenses than standard plastic. These are or should be always used on children’s eyewear as well as safety and sport glasses.
  • high indexHigh Index lenses can reduce weight and thickness by 40% or more. They are the lens material of choice for people with strong prescriptions who want fashionable eyewear with light weight and pleasing cosmetics. They also filter U.V. light rays and should be anti-glare/anti-reflective (AR) coated.

Polarized lenses are the ultimate sunglass lenses. They eliminate the blinding glare reflected off water or the car in front of you while driving. These amazing lenses can be obtained in many lens materials and other treatments are available such as anti-reflective coating on the back of the lens and mirror front coatings.

  • Coatings AR or anti-reflective coatings are available on all lens types and materials. These dramatically reduce halo effects from on-coming headlights while driving or the ‘star burst” effect of lights on a rainy night. They also make the eyewear more cosmetically appealing – letting those looking at you see your eyes and expression more clearly. The best AR coatings also provide excellent scratch resistance and a slippery surface for easy cleaning. Many of the best come with a one or two year warranty.


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  At Prestige Eyewear, we use Essilor Lenses. Essilor lens technologies reveal a world more beautiful than you ever imagined, detail by detail.

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