Eyeglasses: Types of Vision Problems, Types of Lenses (2024)

What do eyeglasses do?

Eyeglasses correct vision problems. If you have trouble seeing clearly, either close or at a distance, eyeglasses can help. They improve how clearly and sharply you see objects at any distance.

Most vision problems are related to how light focuses on the retina. The retina is in the back of the eye, near the optic nerve. The eye’s lens sends light to the retina, which converts the light into signals that it sends to the brain. This process creates the images we see. Eyeglasses help focus the light appropriately on the retina.

How common are vision problems?

About 11 million Americans over age 12 need vision correction. Regular eye exams can help you stay on top of your vision health. Your healthcare provider can prescribe eyeglasses if necessary and detect any eye diseases early.

What vision problems can eyeglasses correct?

You may need glasses for problems such as:

  • Nearsightedness (myopia): You see close objects clearly, but objects farther away look blurry.
  • Farsightedness (hyperopia): Objects in the distance look clear, while things close by look blurry.
  • Astigmatism: A problem with the shape of your cornea (or lens) causes blurry or distorted vision.
  • Presbyopia: Your eyes begin to lose the ability to focus on nearby objects (an age-related condition).

What type of glasses will I need?

Your healthcare provider will figure out the best lens for you based on the vision problem you have. Lenses can treat:

  • Nearsightedness: A concave lens (curves inward).
  • Farsightedness: A convex lens (curves outward).
  • Astigmatism: A cylinder-shaped lens.
  • Presbyopia: Bifocal or multifocal lenses.

What are single-vision lenses?

These lenses help if you have trouble focusing on objects that are either close up or far away. Single-vision lenses can correct:

  • Myopia.
  • Hyperopia.
  • Presbyopia.

What are reading glasses?

Reading glasses are a type of single-vision lens. Often, people with presbyopia see objects in the distance clearly but have trouble seeing the words when they’re reading. Reading glasses can help. You can often buy them over the counter at a pharmacy or bookstore, but you will get a more accurate lens if you see a healthcare provider for a prescription. Over the counter readers are not helpful if the right and left eyes have different prescriptions. Before attempting to use readers, see your eye care professional first to make sure that you can use them safely.

What are multifocal lenses?

If you have more than one vision problem, you may need glasses with multifocal lenses. These lenses contain two or more vision-correcting prescriptions. Your provider will discuss your options with you. Options include:

  • Bifocals: These lenses are the most common type of multifocals. The lens has two sections. The upper part helps you see things in the distance, and the lower part enables you to see nearby objects. Bifocals can help people over age 40 who have presbyopia, which causes a decline in your ability to focus up close.
  • Trifocals: These eyeglasses are bifocals with a third section. The third section helps people who have trouble seeing objects within arm’s reach.
  • Progressive: This type of lens has an inclined lens, or a continuous gradient, between different lens powers. The lens focuses progressively closer as you look down through it. It’s like bifocals or trifocals without visible lines in the lenses. Some people find that progressive lenses cause more distortion than other types. That’s because more area of the lens is used for transitioning between the different types of lenses. The focal areas are smaller.
  • Computer glasses: These multifocal lenses have a correction specifically made for people who need to focus on computer screens. They help you avoid eye strain.

What material are eyeglasses made of?

In the past, eyeglass lenses were made of glass. Today, most lenses are plastic. Glass lenses are more scratch-resistant. However, plastic lenses have many advantages over glass. They are:

  • Lighter and thinner.
  • Sturdier.
  • Treatable with a filter to keep out ultraviolet light, which may damage eyes.

What types of lenses are available?

Your healthcare provider will discuss lens options with you, including:

Polycarbonate lenses:

  • Impact-resistant.
  • Good choice for active people — those who play sports, people whose jobs could damage their glasses or children who may drop, bump and scratch their glasses.

Photochromic and tinted lenses:

  • Made from glass or plastic.
  • Change from clear to tinted when exposed to sunlight (photochromic).
  • Have a tint to filter blue light from electronic screens, enhance color perception or shield eyes from bright light.
  • No need for both prescription glasses and sunglasses.

High-index plastic lenses:

  • Good for people who have strong prescriptions.
  • Thinner and lighter than the thick lenses that a higher prescription may demand.

Aspheric lenses

  • Shaped differently than regular lenses, which have a circular shape.
  • Have curvature that varies over the lens surface.
  • Can be flatter and thinner, with a larger usable portion, than other lenses.

How do I care for my eyeglasses?

To take care of your eyeglasses so they stay spot-free and help you see clearly, you should:

  • Store them in a clean, dry place away from potential damage.
  • Clean them with water and lint-free cloth as necessary.

Who performs an eye exam?

An eye specialist performs an eye exam to figure out what type of glasses you need. A complete eye exam also catches any signs of eye disease early, when it’s easiest to treat. Eye specialists include:

  • Optometrist: A licensed optometrist performs eye exams and vision tests. They can prescribe eyeglasses and detect eye problems.
  • Ophthalmologist: An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor specializing in eye care. They can perform surgery for eye problems.

What tests will I need before getting eyeglasses?

During a vision exam, your provider checks your:

  • Visual acuity: You read an eye chart to see how well you can see objects at various distances. This test can tell you if you have 20/20 vision.
  • Lens prescription: You look at an eye chart through a device called a phoropter. This device has different lenses. Your provider flips through them, asking you which lens helps you see best. This test helps your provider figure out your eyeglass prescription.
  • Pupils: Your provider shines a light into your eye to check the health of your eyes.
  • Peripheral (side) vision: This test helps your provider find eye problems you may not have noticed.
  • Eye movement: Your provider checks if your eye muscles are working well and your eyes are aligned.
  • Eye pressure: This test checks for glaucoma. Your provider may direct a quick puff of air into your eye.
  • Front of your eye: Using a special microscope, your provider checks the eyelids, cornea, iris and lens for any scars or scratches.
  • Retina and optic nerve: You may need dilating eye drops for this test, or your provider may use a machine called a retinal scanner (such as Optomap®). Dilation helps your pupil widen so your provider can examine the retina and optic nerve for damage.

If I wear glasses, how often do I need an eye exam?

Your optometrist or ophthalmologist will discuss the follow-up schedule that meets your needs. You may need an exam yearly or you may be able to wait longer between visits.

How often should I change my glasses?

Typically, your eyeglass prescription is good for a year. If your eye care provider doesn’t find much change in your vision, you can keep the same glasses for several years. You may need a new prescription sooner if you:

  • Have increasing nearsightedness in your teen years.
  • Have presbyopia in midlife.
  • Develop cataracts.
  • Have surgery.
  • Develop diabetes.

When should I call my healthcare provider?

If you notice worsening vision in one or both eyes, make an appointment with an eye specialist. They can check if you need new glasses. They can also tell if an underlying medical condition is causing vision problems. You should also call your provider if you experience an eye injury or think you may have an eye infection.

How much do eyeglasses cost?

The cost of glasses varies widely, depending on the type of lens you need and the frames you choose. Insurance may cover some of the cost. Talk to your healthcare provider and insurance company to find out what kind of coverage you have.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Eyeglasses can help you see all life has to offer. If your vision is distorted or blurry, or you have trouble seeing objects close up or far away, talk to your healthcare provider. A comprehensive eye exam can help your provider figure out your eyeglass prescription so you can see clearly and protect your eye health.

Eyeglasses: Types of Vision Problems, Types of Lenses (2024)


Eyeglasses: Types of Vision Problems, Types of Lenses? ›

The prescription eyeglasses offer a variety of lenses. These lenses include; high-index lenses, progressive lenses, multifocal lenses, and single vision lenses. All of these lenses have distinctive properties which cater to the individualized needs of every patient.

What are the 3 types of eye lenses? ›

What are the different types of eyeglass lenses?
  • Concave lenses. These are thinnest in the center. ...
  • Convex lenses. These lenses are thickest in the center, like a magnifying glass. ...
  • Cylindrical lenses. These curve more in one direction than in the other.

What are the types of lens disorder? ›

Common Eye Disorders and Diseases
  • Refractive Errors.
  • Age-Related Macular Degeneration.
  • Cataract.
  • Diabetic Retinopathy.
  • Glaucoma.
  • Amblyopia.
  • Strabismus.

What type of lenses are prescription glasses? ›

The prescription eyeglasses offer a variety of lenses. These lenses include; high-index lenses, progressive lenses, multifocal lenses, and single vision lenses. All of these lenses have distinctive properties which cater to the individualized needs of every patient.

How many types of eye lenses are there? ›

There are two general categories of contact lenses – soft and rigid gas permeable (RGP).

What are the 4 different lenses? ›

To this end, Brookfield proposes four lenses that can be engaged by teachers in a process of critical reflection: (1) the autobiographical, (2) the students' eyes, (3) our colleagues' experiences, and (4) theoretical literature.

Which type eye lens is best? ›

Polycarbonate lenses are the most durable and impact-resistant lenses we offer, and they come with a 100% UV-protective coating. If you are looking for glasses for children, or tend to spend your time outside, we strongly recommend polycarbonate lenses.

What are the 2 major types of lenses? ›

Lenses may be divided broadly into two main types: convex and concave. Lenses that are thicker at their centers than at their edges are convex, while those that are thicker around their edges are concave. A light beam passing through a convex lens is focused by the lens on a point on the other side of the lens.

What are the two most common types of lenses? ›

Concave lenses and convex lenses are the main two types of lenses.

Which is better bifocal lens or progressive lens? ›

Progressive lenses provide a transition from near, intermediate, and far vision prescription. As compared to bifocal lenses, progressives provide a wider zone of clear vision to make activities like computer use and reading easier for the wearer. Early progressive lens designs had a soft blur during movement.

What are most common lens prescription? ›

Single vision lenses are the most common type of lenses prescribed by optometrists. These types of lenses can help a patient see one distance, either near, intermediate or at a distance. If you only need help while reading or at a distance, this is the right type of lens for you.

What is the latest technology in eyeglass lenses? ›

Digitally Surfaced Lenses:

The latest technology in lenses is digitally surfaced lenses. This involves customizing each lens for your visual needs. These digitally surfaced lenses provide crisp and sharp vision.

What kind of lens is used for astigmatism? ›

Do You Need Special Glasses for Astigmatism? You'll need prescription glasses with cylindrical or spherocylindrical lenses, which are different from the lenses found in single-vision glasses that only correct for nearsightedness and farsightedness.

What lens is used to correct astigmatism? ›

Soft contact lens: Toric lenses are a specific type of soft contacts used to treat astigmatism. The lenses are weighted to ensure they remain aligned properly. They also have varying powers in different meridians (the imaginary perpendicular lines in your eye) to help correct your vision.

How do I choose eye lenses? ›

You'll need a concave lens (curves inward) if you're nearsighted. A convex lens (curves outward) will help if you're farsighted. If you have astigmatism, your cornea is shaped wrong, so your lenses may be more like a cylinder. Simply put, the lens is a tool you use to focus light onto your retina in the correct way.

What is the difference between lens types? ›

There are two types of lenses-prime and zoom. Prime lenses have a fixed focal length and zoom lenses have variable focal lengths.

What is the most expensive lens for eyes? ›

2,340. The highest priced product is Johnson & Johnson acuvue Moist 1 Day 90 Pack Daily Contact Lens (-7, Transparent, Pack of 90) available at Rs. 3,900 in India.

Which eye lens is better for cataract? ›

Which lens is right for me? That depends on your needs. If you're comfortable wearing glasses after cataract surgery, a monofocal lens may be the right choice. If you want to avoid wearing distance glasses after cataract surgery and have astigmatism, a toric lens might be appropriate.

Is there a difference in the quality of eyeglass lenses? ›

Are All Eyeglass Lenses the Same Quality? No, all eyeglass lenses are not the same in terms of quality. Eyeglass lenses can vary in terms of materials used, manufacturing processes, coatings, and design features, which can significantly impact their quality and performance.

What are the 5 lenses? ›

These five “lenses” are clarity, respect, candor, focus, and presence.

What is astigmatism in your eye? ›

Astigmatism is a common eye problem that can make your vision blurry or distorted. It happens when your cornea (the clear front layer of your eye) or lens (an inner part of your eye that helps the eye focus) has a different shape than normal. The only way to find out if you have astigmatism is to get an eye exam.

What are thick glasses lenses called? ›

Concave lenses—used to treat near-sightedness, or myopia. The lens shape is concave (thicker at the edge, thinner in the middle) to bend rays outwards. Plus lenses—used to treat far-sightedness, or hyperopia. The lens shape is convex (thicker in the middle, thinner at the edge) to bend rays inwards.

What kind of lens is used in cataract surgery? ›

The most common type of lens used with cataract surgery is called a monofocal IOL. It has one focusing distance. It is set to focus for up close, medium range or distance vision. Most people have them set for clear distance vision.

How many types of progressive lenses are there? ›

There are two types of progressive lenses, standard and premium. While one is as the name implies standard, the other is really your best option. That's because premium progressive lenses are customized to your eyes and offer a wider viewing area than standard ones.

What sort of lenses do short sighted people need? ›

A concave lens is used to correct short-sightedness (myopia). A short sighted person's focus is focusing before the back of the eyeball. The concave lens pushes the rays of light further apart so that they arrive together in proper focus at the back of the eye.

What is the downside of progressive lenses? ›

Progressive lenses also have some disadvantages. They can be more expensive than bifocals or trifocals. These lenses also require a larger frame size to accommodate the multiple corrective zones. Also, because of how they work, progressive lenses can cause peripheral blurriness.

Why can't I see my computer with my progressive lenses? ›

Progressive lenses don't work well for computer screens because the intermediate part of the lens isn't wide enough to allow you to see the width of your monitor simply by moving your eyes. This forces you to move your head from side to side to see the entire screen.

Who should wear progressive lenses? ›

Who Uses Progressive Lenses? Almost anyone with a vision problem can wear these lenses, but they're typically needed by people over age 40 who have presbyopia (farsightedness) -- their vision blurs when they're doing closeup work like reading or sewing.

What lenses are used by doctors? ›

doctors use concave mirrors because images formed by concave mirrors are larger in size than original object.

What is the most advanced prescription lens? ›

HD lens technology offers the highest level of vision improvement available with glasses. They are available in high-index, photochromic, bifocal, or progressive lenses.

What lenses stop eyes getting worse? ›

Myopia management glasses lenses that are designed to be worn like everyday glasses. These products both contain technology that focuses light in a different way to normal glasses and contact lenses. This could help reduce the elongation of the eye and potentially minimise how short-sighted the child could become.

Are transition lenses better now? ›

Would I recommend transition lenses? Definitely. It saves money and it's convenient. New technological advancement for this lens will make it last longer, change colors faster, go clearer indoors, and darker when you are outside.

What is the new technology to improve eyesight? ›

The novel neurosensory device will use light-to-electric conversion nanoparticles to interface directly with retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) to restore vision in patients with loss of photoreceptors. This innovative technique has been tested in a laboratory setting over the last several years.

What are the 5 types of astigmatism? ›

The difference in the focusing powers results in two different focal points on the retina and the blurry vision associated with astigmatism.
  • Myopic Astigmatism. ...
  • Hyperopic Astigmatism. ...
  • Mixed Astigmatism.

What does vision look like with astigmatism? ›

Blurred vision is the most common astigmatism symptom. It also makes it hard to see details on objects, like the words printed on a menu in front of you, or letters on a road sign in the distance. Other astigmatism symptoms include: Seeing a glare or halos around lights.

What are the three types of astigmatism? ›

Myopic astigmatism is astigmatism in an eye that is nearsighted. Hyperopic astigmatism is astigmatism in an eye that is farsighted. Mixed astigmatism is astigmatism in an eye that is both nearsighted and farsighted, because light is hitting both in front of and behind the retina.

Is astigmatism considered a disability? ›

Astigmatism is a common visual impairment for which many veterans may not realize they could collect disability compensation.

Do you need different lenses for astigmatism? ›

People with mild astigmatism might be able to wear normal contact lenses, but you'll typically need specialty lenses if your astigmatism is more severe. Even with astigmatism, you're not out of options.

What is the difference between astigmatism and stigmatism? ›

Stigmatism is a general term used to describe an irregular shape of any of a number of parts of the eye. An astigmatism is also an eye condition, but only affecting the shape of the cornea. Astigmatisms are relatively common and occur whenever the cornea has an irregular curvature.

What are the three types of lenses for cataract surgery? ›

What are my intraocular lens options?
  • Monofocal lenses correct your vision for distance or for near. ...
  • Toric lenses reduce your astigmatism to help improve the quality of your vision.
  • Presbyopia-correcting lenses (also called multi-focal or extended depth-of-focus lenses) correct both near and far vision.
Jul 14, 2021

What is the difference between progressive and bifocal lenses? ›

Progressive lenses seamlessly transition between near and far prescriptions within the lens. In contrast, a distinct line separates near and far vision in bifocal lenses. Consider your lifestyle and your personal preference when choosing which type of lens is the best fit.

Which type of lens is best for cataract surgery? ›

Monofocal lenses are considered to be the standard IOLs and they are often included in the overall cost of surgery depending on your insurance coverage. The power of the lens used during cataract surgery will be based on the specific strength that you require.

What kind of lens do they put in after cataract surgery? ›

An intraocular lens (or IOL) is a tiny, artificial lens for the eye. It replaces the eye's natural lens that is removed during cataract surgery. The lens bends (refracts) light rays that enter the eye, helping you to see.


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