Ask the Optician

Monovision in glasses


I'm 50, astigmatic, and normally wear glasses (a pair for near vision and a "driving" pair for long-distance). I occasionally wear contact lenses. At my last contact lens test, I commented to my optician that it was becoming frustrating going out in my lenses - they were fine for distant-to-far objects, but I struggled to read anything closer (eg my phone); and unlike my glasses, I couldn't just lift them up or peer over them.

She suggested a left lens for reading and a right lens for distance, and it works surprisingly well - although I can't keep them in all day, and only use them for going out. I wondered if a similar "different lens for each eye" approach could be adopted for glasses, rather than varifocals which I think would annoy me even more?

My current prescription(s) for the new contact lenses are:

left eye (reading) -1.5 - 1.50 x180
right eye (distance) -3.00 -1.50 x180

Answer Written answer:

As you say, monovision in contact lenses can work surprisingly well. Unfortunately in glasses the problem is that as soon as you look through the lenses away from the optical centres a prism effect is produced and because there will be a large difference between the two eyes, you will have double vision. The best option is varifocals (or bifocals) but you do have to persevere and adapt. 

We recommend you seek professional advice if you are concerned about your eye health:

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Optician's Biography

Simon Kay BSc(Hons) MCOptom has been a qualified Optometrist for over 35 years, and has a vast experience of almost all aspects of optometry. He joined Specsavers Opticians in 1993 first in Liverpool and for 15 years as a director of Lancaster and Morecambe. He served on many panels and committees whilst a director, including those responsible for IT design and professional advancement. He was regional chairman of the North West directors of Specsavers for over 12 years and as such was involved in almost all aspects of optometry on a business and professional level. He has been involved on the Local Optical Committee for many years and is currently Vice Chairman in his area.
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