How much should Varifocal lenses cost in 2019?

cost of varifocals 2019

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If you’re shopping for new glasses, and you need varifocal lenses, the type of varifocal lenses you choose can have a significant impact on the price. That’s why it’s important to know what you’re getting for your money, and if it’s worth it.

In this article, we’re going to look at why some varifocals cost more than others, and how to get the best value for money when you buy them.

Aren’t all varifocals the same?

Definitely not. If you think how much picture quality on TV screens has improved over the last decade, the same principle is true with lens technologies. Whilst you will probably adapt to whatever quality of vision you get from your lenses, most of us want to know we’re seeing things as well as we possibly can.

A comparison of 2 different varifocals shows just how much the lens type affects reading vision

Things which are affected by the type of varifocal lenses you choose:

  • Peripheral vision
  • Balance
  • Reading comfort
  • Night Driving
  • Golf posture (yes, some varifocal lenses will help you hit the ball more naturally!)

Essentially, some varifocals are better for some of these things than others. During a vision consultation (separate to an eye test) we will find out which aspects are the most important to you and help you choose the ideal varifocal lenses for your lifestyle. We can then show you in virtual reality how your vision will be depending on which lenses you choose.

Some varifocal lenses are significantly better for screen use than others.
Some varifocal lenses are significantly better for screen use than others.

Here’s a rough guide to how much varifocals will cost you:

  • Cheap <£200
  • Mid range £200-£400 (including options)
  • High-end £300-£600

What are the best cheap varifocals?

You may not have heard of them, but IOT is the only brand you want to look at for lower priced varifocal lenses. IOT is a lens design company who license their technologies to smaller independent manufacturers, and their philosophy is “Ophthalmic lens design has been exclusive of Big Multinationals for too long.” The alternative in this price range are old lens designs from the more established lens manufacturers (which is what most of the high-street stores sell).

With varifocal lenses designed by IOT, you will be getting advanced technology lenses for much less than other brands. The drawback is that most opticians don’t offer IOT lenses.   

What are the best mid-range varifocal lenses?

As with most products, there’s a sweet-spot where price and benefit intersect; where you get the best value for money. There are some brands which offer extremely good varifocal lenses with a wide range of options (such as Transitions and Transitions Xtractive), and don’t cost as much as most others.

Kodak lenses would be the ones we would recommend in this price range. They use technology also found in Zeiss varifocals, which are significantly more expensive.

Kodak’s newest varifocal technology is called Kodak Unique 2.

If price isn’t a concern, what are the absolute best varifocals?

zeiss drive safe advert

We covered this in a previous blog, which you can read here.

The brands generally regarded as the best are Hoya, Zeiss, Shamir, Essilor (Varilux), Rodenstock and Nikon.

One Last Thing

Whether you’re buying newer or older design varifocals, it’s hugely important that they are fitted accurately relative to your eyes and the frames you choose. Even the most sophisticated varifocal lenses just won’t work properly otherwise.

The best opticians use digital measuring equipment like the Zeiss iTerminal 2. These can position the lenses in your glasses up to 10X more accurately than being measured manually (as most opticians do). This means clearer vision with less eye strain. So it’s important to do your research and find an optician who not only provides good quality varifocal lenses, but also has the best equipment.

Update: check out our guide to choosing the right varifocal lenses for you

More To Explore

Read Our Reviews

The Spectacle Factory is rated 5 out of 5.0 stars based on 15 review(s).


Well they you pay for what you get. It’s definitely true of The Spectacle Factory. There customer service is the best I have experienced anywhere. I was not rushed with any decision and I was made to feel like I was there most important customer. What I paid was an eye watering amount but I got smartlife ziess lenses and frames that are very comfortable. I now also have very clear vision when reading. I thought it was not clear due to lighting in modern offices and homes. Wrong it was bad lenses and persecution not being quite right. Thank you for sorting it all out at the first attempt.

- Heath Christy


ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT I have been using the Spectacle Factory for a long time, but the latest visit was the best BY FAR..... I desperately needed an eye test, and was fitted in quickly. James, the optician, was excellent , as usual. 4 members of staff were outstanding in the service I received. Robert, Ben and Emma were absolutely perfect.....and Ruth, the manager was excellent, as she always is. The best visit by far...I cannot rate this place higher !!!

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Welcomed by and dealt with Robert during the whole process of choosing through to final fitting. Great service, great range of glasses, really helpful and informative. I would highly recommend

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After reading all the positive reviews I decided that a 40 minute drive would be worth it to try and get a new prescription and frames- I wear my glasses all day so need to get this right. I was so impressed with everyone’s desire to be helpful and make sure I was happy at every part of my visit. I wasn’t the quickest at choosing new frames but never felt rushed by Robert. He listened and gave helpful advice as we worked through choosing the frames and lenses I needed. They have a huge range of frames which meant I ended up with a pair I was really happy with. I actually chose a pair of prescription sunglasses as well, which I have been meaning to do for years. I loved the combination of cutting edge technology and personalised service. It’s so nice to see a team that places such a priority on customer satisfaction - they certainly deserve 5 stars.

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Fantastic service! I attended the spectacle factory over a year ago for an eye test. They were amazing, and so patient with me! My Polaroid frame broke recently, so in desperate need called the spectacle factory to order a replacement frame. They were so efficient and helpful. Also my frames were covered under warranty and I didn’t have to pay a penny. AMAZING. Couldn’t recommend them anymore!

- Rebecca F


Friendly service, thanks to Robert who took the time and care to ensure that I was happy with my new glasses. I would definitely recommend.

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Visited the Spectacle Factory a couple of weeks ago for the first time. James did my eye test and was very thorough and informative. Chose a pair of glasses afterwards with the help of another member of staff. Great customer service. I have always gone to high street opticians before and never sure what glasses suit me. I was allowed to take my time and offered helpful advice. Love my new glasses which I picked up with the week. I will be returning to the Spectacle factory in the future. Far superior in terms of quality and customer service compared to other opticians I have been too.

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My wife and I both have great glasses (and sunglasses) from The Spectacle Factory. Right from our very first visit we have been very impressed with the highest level of care and attention to detail, both with eye tests and the choice of lenses and frames. They seem to have a flair for helping you to choose the right glasses. Once your order is ready, nothing is too much trouble to ensure that the fit and the suitability of your glasses is perfect for your needs and that you are completely happy. Their ongoing service is second to none. We can highly recommend The Spectacle Factory..

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Came in today for help with some frames, repaired no questions asked, there and then on the spot Brilliant service

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All the staff are so helpful and switched on to all your requirements I would recommend them all day what a good experience

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The Spectacle Factory offer me the kind of customer service and ability to customise my choice of spectacles that just is simply not available on the High Street. From Initial contact, to delivery of the finished product, you are treated like a loyal friend. Nothing is too much trouble. Unbiased advise, on choosing the correct spectacles for your particular application. A vast range of frames from the very cheapest to the latest designer frames. I choose the Spectacle Factory, because they can provide me with, customised glasses, to align with my particular needs and requirements. Most high street opticians have a 'one size fits all' attitude. The Spectacle Factory does not subscribe to this theory and treats every client as an individual. Their eye sight is very comprehensive and is 50% longer than the industry standard. If you value your eyesight, and want the very best care, this is the place to visit.

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Highly recommend The Spectacle Factory - excellent service will definitely be using again.

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