The peer view

Dispensing opticians Nigel Terry, Kathryn Fagioli-Gaskin and Alex Durie respond to common questions about PALs from patient

Question marks

Myth 1

“Aren’t varifocals difficult to get used to? My friend tried them and couldn’t get on with them”

Nigel: I would start by explaining that not all varifocal lenses are the same and, without knowing what their friend has tried, it’s difficult to comment on their experience. There are several factors that affect the success of varifocals, such as the frame fit, the measurements, and the suitability of the lens design to the individuals’ requirements. However, with the latest lens designs, I would highlight that our success rate is around 98%. Add that the vast majority of people get on with varifocals very well, and explain ‘we will discuss your individual needs and advise accordingly on which design is best for you, making sure that the frame is suitable and fitted correctly.’ Most lens manufacturers offer a non-tolerance warranty, enabling the patient to try them without risk.

Myth 2

“Don’t varifocals make you look old?”

Kathryn: Where and how you wear your spectacles can contribute to creating an image. Taking near vision spectacles on and off, sliding them down your nose to peer over them, or parking them on top of your head can be distracting to the wearer and the people you are communicating with. Varifocals negate this, promoting efficiency and professionalism, possibly helping create the illusion of youth.

Myth 3

“I will have to wear glasses all the time and I don’t want to”

Alex: I would start by saying that the patient does not have to wear varifocals all the time; however, it is worth noting that 'they give you the opportunity to put them on and leave them on if you wish.’ I would add that the chances are that the patient may want to wear them all of the time because it’s more convenient. Go on to suggest that when the patient first gets them, they wear them ‘as much as possible from the beginning of a new day, to bed into them. Then you can choose your wear-time.’

Image credit: Getty/tostphoto