The simplest form of spectacle or contact lens is the single-vision lens, made to a single prescription to correct a particular eyesight problem. Concave lenses are used to correct short sight and convex lenses to correct long sight. Concave lenses are generally thinner in the centre than they are at the edge and convex lenses are usually thinner at the edge than at the centre.
The curvature of the lens, its thickness and weight will depend on the amount of long or short sight it is designed to correct. The lens material will also influence the thickness and weight of your lenses, as will the size and shape of the spectacle frame you choose.
Traditionally, spectacle lenses were made of glass but most lenses are now lightweight plastic and there is a wide range of materials available to suit your prescription and lifestyle.
Bifocal lenses contain two optical corrections with a distinct dividing line between the two parts. The most common use of bifocals is for people who have become presbyopic and need a different prescription for close work. The upper part of the lens corrects distance vision and the lower half is for near vision.
Trifocals are also available that have three sections and incorporate a correction for intermediate vision. Bifocals and trifocals come in a range of designs but nowadays varifocal lenses are much more likely to be prescribed.
Varifocal or progressive lenses
Varifocal lenses, also known as progressive lenses, are used for correcting presbyopia but unlike bifocal lenses have no visible dividing lines between the different corrections. Instead they have a graduated section in which the power of the lens progresses smoothly from one prescription to the other, allowing the wearer to see clearly at all distances.
These lenses also have the benefit of looking better - they don't draw attention to the ageing process. A range of varifocal designs is available depending on your lifestyle and occupation. Modern lens technology means that there are many different designs and materials to choose from.
We will be able to advise you on the best lenses to suit your individual requirements.
High-index and aspheric lenses
If you need high-powered lenses you can improve the weight or appearance of your glasses with special lens materials and designs.
High-index materials and aspheric designs mean that lenses can now be made thinner, lighter and better looking than traditional lens types. High-index materials make lenses for short sight thinner, while aspheric designs that minimise the amount of material make lenses for long sight both thinner and lighter.