The Vestibular Migraine & Secondary Hydrops Community
Read our welcome post, user support wiki & visit our member recommended products page

Varifocals! 🤓


How long you had the new ones. Optician told me if you anticpate any problems you need to phone so a file note is recorded. That covers you, if you have problems, later for re-work. That was The Boss of her own very successful business. Figures really though I’ve put them by and never wirn them myself before. £350.00 wasted! Just went to diiferent optician next time. Could be size as you say but usually the fitter advises if it’s too small to fit everything in comfortably. They have me in the past. Helen


Question for wearers: there seems to be a ‘sweet spot’ for distance near the top (fine), but I’ve noticed that the very top is neither good for close nor distance, so is essentially useless - have you noticed that? does that sound right?


James, I meant to reply sooner but haven’t been on the site for a few days. I have varifocals (in the US they’re called “progressive lenses”) and up until recently, it worked better for me to take my glasses off while working at the computer. Over the last few months, though, I’d started to keep them on while at the computer but then I was craning my neck so much that it would “pop” when I moved my head back down.

It had been about 18 months since my last eye exam so last week when I saw the eye doctor to get a new glasses prescription, I asked for a separate prescription (for a separate pair of glasses) just for working at the computer. What he gave me is what he called a “computer bifocal,” which I believe means that the top portion of the lens will be the proper prescription for the computer distance, and the bottom portion of the lens will be the proper prescription for reading. That will be nice since I do have to look at papers and jot notes sometimes while at the computer.

So it will be a little hassle having to switch glasses just for the computer, but I’m hoping that it will be easier on my neck. I haven’t ordered the new glasses yet but will do so soon.


Hmm, that doesn’t sound like my lenses. I’m looking through them now, staring across the room. From the top rim of the glasses downward is the “distance” prescription. I don’t notice anything near the top rim being different. I can see far objects just as well near the top rim as I can for probably the top third of the lenses, at least. (Maybe it has to do with the design and shape of your frames.) Then as I raise my head so that I’m looking through the lower and lower portions of the lenses, things far away get blurry but closer objects come into focus.

I remember when I got my first pair of progressive lenses, it took me at least a week to get used to them and at one point I was extremely frustrated and worried that I’d never get used to them. Then one day I put them on and it was like my brain had completely adjusted and they were fine. Since then I’ve had the prescription updated many times and each time they seem a little weird for maybe the first day, and then they’re fine.

If you wear them for more than a week and still don’t feel like they’re “right,” go back to the optician and have them measure to make sure that they got the progressive portion placed correctly in relation to where your eyes (pupils) are located. That’s an important measurement and they can get it wrong. My husband once got a new prescription and kept saying that something wasn’t right. He finally went back and it turned out that the lenses hadn’t been ground correctly.


I wear bifocals but the use of any lens other than single use causes the wearer to adapt by moving their head rather than their eyes** I spent many years screwing my neck back to look at text on computer screen through the reading portion at the bottom. I don’t think it helps posture, just gives you stiff neck. An ex work colleague and long-time personal friend from my computer days has worn variafocals since they were invented I’d imagine or almost, and she screws her neck back to look at her desktop computer too. She spends a fortune at the chiropractor and gets classic migraine. Over time spectacle wearers actually alter their walk to compensate too. An Alexander Technique techician told me that. I’m not sure how much the altered posture can affect balance but it must particularly a balance system affected by something like MAV. The neck and spine are integral to messaging the brain so surely it must do. The vestibular system is so complex. The computer glasses @Manatee has been offered sound ideal. I could have done with those 20 years ago!

**which incidentally also renders VRT/VIsion exercises impossible. And I’ve yet to find a VRT therapist with any appreciation of that. Helen


Just documenting my personal experience with glasses. My first glasses were simply prisms to ‘treat’ astigmatism, which I got in my late 30’s, after almost 20 years with (just?? ) Meniere’s With age, I moved on to bi-focals and then varifocal ( we generally call them multifocal), with which I was happy for many years. Then suddenly I had not changed for about 6 years, and the ‘new’ ones were never right, even after several adjustments. Thereafter followed 2 more ‘uncsuccessful’ new pairs…AND the return of Meniere’s, plus the all new morphed symptoms fitting into the MAV criteria as well. During a ‘remission’ period I had cataracts removed from both eyes…and was given another pair of multi-focals. Although they work fine, especially for middle distance (which I need to do stained glass!) , I find that actually moving around/walking with them causes me grief, and I cannot use them for reading a book, which I generally do lying flat on my back ( for back problems). Bottom line…I now have a pair of reading glasses with prisms next to my bed, the multifocals for glass and things like reading labels (of which I do A LOT!)/recipes…but I push them up onto my head as soon as I have read what I wanted to …for instance, cannot walk in a supermarket with them - but need them to ‘look at’ stuff! They are definitely a trigger for computer work, so I have found that a pair of store-bought reading/magnifying glasses one strength lower than for reading works! However - I need the multi’s to make notes or anything…:persevere: Annoying!!! For outside - I always wear Polaroid sunglasses for the glare (also another trigger), as well as sometimes in supermarkets on a not-so-good day. Fortunately I don’t need specs to drive any more! It’s a pain to have to keep changing/putting on and off - but better than causing a spin cycle!! I have asked for prisms in multifocals…but they all seem to sort of skirt around doing it without giving a real answer as to why??? I do think you should have yours checked, James/Turnitaround, but in the end I’m sure they will be fine for you! Good luck!


Hi mazzy. Long time, no speak. Another long-time prsism user I see just like me. With regards to the ‘prisms in varifocals’. I was told years ago I couldn’t have varifocals because it wasn’t possible to incorporate prisms into them. Initially it wasn’t technically possible but also it would make the glasses too heavy for the wearer. I’ve never enquired since but I have a friend who has, recently, within the last two years, had a prism inserted in one lens of her varifocals. I’ve not enquired on my own behalf since because a Behavioural Optometrist told me six? Years back they wouldn’t be a sensible option for a brain with dizziness anyway owing to the fact they involve the brain in alot more activity coping with the constant change. I’ve also seen same written up on website I think it was ages ago, I’m sure varifocals are so convenient for those that can master them but, as you’ve found, it’s not a case of One Size Fits All. It doesn’t. I can imagine my optician would approve of your current arrangement. Helen


Hi Helen, yes, I have reverted to mostly lurking here, as I have little to add except sometimes experience. I don’t use (prescription) meds at all and just constantly work at trying to adapt my life to get by as comfortably as possible. Certainly there is no 0ne-size-fits-all in any area of our lives living with the beast, so all one can do is pull ideas and tips from others and see if it helps us personally!
As for the prisms in multi focals… I was also told ages ago that they were not technically possible, but now they tend to say ‘yes, well…it is possible…but…’ and then suddendly we are on another topic! Certainly my vision with the multi’s can vary from day to day/hour to hour…I have come to accept that and realize that it is my ‘brain connections’ and not the fault of the lenses themselves. I suspect there have been a myriad of symptoms for years that I did not recognize as part of this beast until now. For this I am forever indebted to this site, and more lately the VEDA and Meniere’s awareness pages, which are also helpful in understanding the actual breadth and depth of the problems. My audiologist has recommended an optician, whom I might try out if/when I decide to have another test. Beth.


Yes, in the past I have been advised that 'I can’t have the frames I had chosen because the prescription won’t fit - this is usually when I have spent ages finding a frame that I like and which looks okay! This time they didn’t say anything so I assumed all was well - silly me!!! Jan


James I took my music stand and music to the opticians so they could correctly assess the middle distance for me in the varifocals and it is perfect, having collected them yesterday so maybe they got the distance wrong when working out at what distance you read your computer. It may be worth actually measuring this and taking that in to the optician?


Wow, that’s great you did that! Yes I will discuss with optician. I have a 2 month window apparently.


It is definitely worth getting it right, saves all the problems of not having the correct glasses with you when you need them. I used to have to take three pairs with me sometimes and invariably forgot one of them, very annoying.


As Revolving says - definitely worth getting it right - especially for us who already have balance (et al!!) problems.


I picked up my “computer glasses” today. My neck feels better already. I hadn’t realized how much I was craning my neck backward until I put these glasses on.

Of course the problem with them is that they really are only meant to be worn when staring at something that is two feet away from my face. So if I turn my head to look out the window, for example, everything farther away than two feet is blurry. And I definitely can’t get up and walk around while wearing them!