Archive for the ‘Health & Fitness’ Category


I did not begin needing and wearing spectacles until I was in my late thirties. Initially I only wore them for reading. However, with the march of time, by my mid forties I needed both spectacles for close work and distance viewing.

This left me in a bit of a quandary. At the time I wasn’t suitable for wearing contact lenses and didn’t want to have to purchase two pairs of glasses, namely one for reading and one for distance. It was not just the cost that was the issue but the inconvenience of having to be taking glasses on and off constantly. My work involves using computers on a daily basis, completing paper work and reception duties. Two pairs of spectacles was, and is, just not practical.

I did not fancy trying bi-focals as friends who had worn them had encountered many difficulties. The optician mentioned vari-focals and I thought I’d give them a try. The lenses of vari-focals are graduated from your distance lens at the top down to your reading part at the bottom. Some people take ages to get used to them but I have never really had any problems.

You need to have your field of vision checked during your eye test to see if you are suitable for vari-focals. I thought that my first pair were a little expensive, but then thinking about it they were cheaper than having to buy two ordinary pairs of glasses.

When you first wear a pair of vari-focals here are a few tips which hopefully may help:-

If you are looking at close work, say a book, do not bring the book up closer to your face in order to focus. If need be bring it closer to your body and look down to read.

Give yourself time to get used to your first pair of vari-focals. You may not get on with them initially but persevere. Most opticians give you a 28 day money back exchange if you cannot get accustomed to wearing yourvari-focals.

Remember to move your head when you need to look to the left or right. If you look to the side of your glasses the view will look blurred. You need to turn your head when looking to cross the road, for example.

Likewise remember to move your head up and down when you need to look up and down.

You will find that the lens necessary for a vari-focal lens has to be a minimum size. This means that some of the fashionable very small lenses are out of the question. Still the ones I am wearing at present are not overly large and are of an oblong shape.

The vari-focal lenses can still have a reflective coating or be reactalite if required.

I also have vari-focal sunglasses which are perfect for holidays in the sun.

I am now onto my 5th pair of varifocals. With the ever racing years and my declining eyesight, I guess this was inevitable. I’m just so happy that vari-focals are available as I would hate the alternatives. I have recently read that vari-focal contact lenses are now available and have thought about checking these out. Just quite how they work though I am not sure.


I have been an Optician since 1982 and I give advice on this issue every day. I have seen thousands of people who have explored the option of having contact lenses. Their motivations are varied as are their prescriptions and need of use. Below is a brief outline of the issues which should be considered when looking at the option between contact lenses or glasses.

1. If you use contact lenses you will also need spectacles. The reason is simple. Many contact lenses are not designed to be used all day. New lenses such as night and day can be used as an extended wear lens but at the moment is dearer than most. So spectacles are needed when your lenses are taken out.

Also if you get an eye infection or injury then you must leave your contact lenses out, so once again your spectacles will save the day.

Finally there is a temptation for patients to over wear their contact lenses. This is such a bad idea as your cornea can become adversely affected over time…people over wear lenses mainly for vanity reasons or they simply can’t be bothered to comply with the opticians recommendations.

2. Some people cannot wear contact lenses. The curvature of their cornea may not be suitable. Their tear production may not be suitable. Some people have difficulty putting them into their eyes. But in this day and age it is rare for an Optician not to be able to find a contact lens option which will work for a patient.

3. Visual standards on average are better with contact lenses than with spectacles. Spectacles have a certain degree distortion inherent in their lenses.

4. Spectacles can look great however. There are so many wonderful styles available . They are now a massive fashion statement. They can add something so positive to a persons appearance. Styles at the moment are honestly fantastic.

The scope of this article is small but the issues raised cover a large percentage of the everyday questions I am asked and I hope it has been helpful.


Who Invented Bifocal Contact Lenses? Mystery Solved

Before we get to the invention bifocal contact lens, we need to go back a bit further to see the evolution of contact lenses. The idea of the general principal of a contact lens was made my none other than Leonardo Di Vinci in 1508, yes the famous artists who painted Mona Lisa! Not only was he a painter he was also a scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, sculptor, architect, botanist, musician and writer. That is a story for another article (a whole book even), so let us get back to the invention of contact lenses.

It wasn’t until the 1800’s that the contact lens made another leap forward. In 1827Sir John Herschel an English astronomer, proposed the idea of making a mould of the wearer’s eyes so contact lenses can be made to conform perfectly to the front of the eye. His idea was slightly ahead of the manufacturing techniques at the time.

Not until 1887 was the idea made into reality by German glassblower F.A. Muller, who made the first glass contact lens. In 1888 Swiss Physician Adolf Fick and Paris Optician Edouard Kalt used Muller’s invention to fit the first glass contact lenses to correct nearsightedness and farsightedness. These lenses were heavy and could only be tolerated for a few hours.

The next significant leap forward came in the 1930s when the first contact lens containing both glass and plastic was introduced by New York Optometrist William Feinbloom. This was the beginning of the modern hard contact lens era. In the late 1940s marks the beginning of polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) plastic contact lenses manufactured by California optician Kevin Tuohy. The PMMA evolved, getting smaller and thinner and are still available on the market today.

It wasn’t until the 1950s saw the evolution into the soft contact lens by Czech chemist Dr. Otto Wichterle. His experiments using spinning parts from his son’s bicycle led him to produce the first soft contact lens. The first commercially produced soft contact lenses were made by Bausch & Lomb in 1971. Over 90% of the contact lenses on the market today are soft contact lenses. Due to their ease of handling and disposable convenience, these lens are perfect for those who no longer want to wear glasses.

The first commercially available bifocal contact lenses (daily wear) were introduced in 1982 and the disposable versions in 1999.

As you can see contact lenses were more of an evolution, with each inventor building and advancing from a previous idea. It took over 500 years to get where we are today but I am sure glad we have this amazing invention that many of us can benefit from.

More on Bifocal Contact Lenses

These lenses are for people who have a condition called presbyopia or the inability to focus on things in close range. If you have to hold that menu at arms length to read it, you might have presbyopia. Some physical symptoms might include blurred vision, headaches, eye strain or eye fatigue. If you are tired of wearing bifocal glasses, bifocal contact lenses might be the perfect solution for you.

Bifocal contact lenses are also known as Multifocal or Progressive contact lenses. They all pretty much serve the same purpose, allowing you to see clearly near and far and all distances in between.

Thank you for taking the time to read this article, I hope you enjoyed it.

Happy contact lens hunting.

Other Choices