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The three best varifocal lenses 2019

‘Varifocal lenses’, otherwise known as ‘Progressive lenses’, are lenses which allow you to see clearly at different distances. But did you know there are hundreds of different types of varifocal lenses?

The type of varifocals you choose can have a dramatic impact on how you see, so it’s really important to get the right ones for you. For example, some lenses give better peripheral vision, some provide more comfortable reading vision, and some even make you see better in the rain or the dark.

In this blog, we’re going to look at the top 3 varifocal lens designs on the market, and feature some expert opinions on what makes them better than the rest. The choices here are presented in no particular order, as what is best for you will depend on what aspect of your vision you want to improve the most.


Hoya Lifestyle 3 advertising image

The Hoya Lifestyle 3 is our most recommended varifocal lens. It is based on ID technology, which stands for ‘integrated design’. This was a breakthrough technology which Hoya invented (and patented).

You see, it’s the progression on a varifocal from the distance prescription to the reading prescription which causes some people, particularly first time wearers, to feel disorientated when they wear them. ID technology splits that progression in half, dividing it between the front and back surfaces of the lens. This virtually eliminates the sea-sick, off-balance feeling which many people experience with varifocals, particularly when going up and down stairs.

Lifestyle 3 lenses are our most recommended for first time varifocal wearers, or those who want an excellent balance between, distance, intermediate, and near vision.

Hoya Lifestyle 3 Progressives are a family of lens designs that allow the optical dispenser to consider a consumer lifestyle requirements and tailor the lens to those needs. For example an active sports loving wearer who also uses a smart phone has considerably different needs to a less active wearer who enjoys reading and gardening and the lenses can be bias to those individual needs.

As you would expect Hoya Lifestyle 3 lenses incorporate all the latest design technologies to support comfortable vision every day all day long.

-Andy Sanders, Hoya UK

One of the best features of Lifestyle 3 lenses is that they come with arguably the very best lens treatments available today. In particular, their High Vision Long Life coating is probably the toughest and easiest to clean coating you can get on your glasses, and comes with an excellent warranty.

High Vision Long Life Coating

Anti-reflection coatings have been available for many years and the benefits are clear. Not only do they enhance the appearance of the lenses, they reduce reflections from modern light sources, repel water and grease making the lenses easier to clean and the more premium designs have anti-static properties too which reduced further the lens tendency to attract dirt and dust.

Hoya’s premium coating, Hoya High Vision Longlife takes the concept further by providing market leading scratch resistance so your lenses remain beautifully pristine for longer.

Sensity (photochromic)

Sensity light reactive lenses adapt to changing light conditions, clear indoors and changing quickly outdoors to sunglass levels of darkness. Hoya’s advanced stabilite technology ensures great performance in different conditions and always offering full UV protection even when clear.

Sensity Dark and Shine are the very latest photochromic additions to the Sensity range. Watch this video to learn more:


The most common complaint we hear about vision is related to driving in the rain or at night… or the nightmare scenario: rainy nights. With that in mind, Zeiss developed a lens which improves our vision in those situations, but is also excellent for general use and what’s more, DriveSafe glasses look just like a normal pair of glasses.

‘Four key technologies are included to provide a lens that can be worn everyday but meets the visual needs of wearers who want to feel safer & more comfortable when driving.’

‘Luminance Design® Technology takes into account different light conditions & pupil sizes to optimise the lens design, this helps to provide better vision in low light conditions such as rain, dusk & night.

DuraVision® DriveSafe Coating is designed to partially reflect a proportion of blue light to reduce the symptoms of glare at night from oncoming car headlights & street lights.

DriveSafe Progressive Design is optimised to provide wider zones of vision at distance & intermediate (dashboard) to enable easier focus when switching between road, dashboard & mirrors.

UVProtect technology provides full UV protection for the eyes & surrounding skin.’

photo of family snoozing in car

 –Rachael Jackson, ZEISS area manager.

DriveSafe lenses are one of our most popular products, and we’ve had numerous people tell us that they have restored their confidence in driving when faced with adverse conditions. But they are also one of the best general-use varifocals you can choose.


Nikon Presio Ultimate advert image

Nikon are probably the most recognizable lens brand in the world, standing for innovation and precision. The ‘Presio Ultmate’ lens represents the best vision that Nikon can provide you. It promises the widest possible field of view and the sharpest perception of the world.

“Nikon Optical are redefining vision… co-designing the Ultimate Varifocal lens for you. By combining the highest precision optics with our 3 unique vision insight technologies we are able to create the only fully bespoke Varifocal available today, offering over 39,000 base lens designs rather than just 1 pre-determined design! The Presio Ultimate is really just that, the Ultimate!

Using our 3 unique vision insights which are based on your needs, preferences and viewing habits, we create a lens that offers seemingly uninterrupted vision with minimal visual distortions. By taking into consideration what lens design the patient has previously worn we deliver a unique lens that makes it feel familiar but with sharper, clearer vision making adaption seamless.

Although we have a 90 day returns policy in place, since the launch of this product we have had not one single return from a patient that hasn’t been able to tolerate their lens. This speaks massive volumes on just how good this lens actually is and how it is improving the wearers visual sharpness and comfort in Varifocals.”

–Mark Scott, area manager Nikon Lenswear

‘It isn’t just about reducing aberration, you also need to make any remaining aberration as invisible as possible. This breakthrough is really what sets us apart from the others. That’s why nothing else really works like Ultimate’

 –Kazuya Taki – Head of R&D Nikon Lenswear

Nikon Ultimate lenses are a bit too new for us to give our opinion on, but the technology certainly sounds impressive. And Nikon are a brand with a deservedly excellent reputation. You can be pretty confident of receiving excellent vision with a set of these lenses. 

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



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