Single vision lenses provide optical correction for a single type of vision.
These lenses singularly cater for either near or farsightedness, hence their name of being single vision.
Lenses which cater for multiple visual distances (multifocal lenses) differ as they simultaneously cater for two or three types of vision.
Let's delve into a little more detail.
The meaning of single vision lenses is to correct a single vision zone, not multiple vision zones. This can be for near-vision within 30cm, intermediate vision at arms length, or distance-vision beyond arm’s length.
Reading glasses help if you’re hyperopic (farsighted) to see things up close. This will be shown on your prescription as a + figure in your Sphere box.
Distance glasses help if you’re myopic (nearsighted) to see things far away beyond arm’s length. This will be shown on your prescription as a – figure in your Sphere box.
Reading glasses or distance glasses are both examples of single vision lenses as they singularly correct that particular vision zone.
Making sense so far?
Single vision lenses provide correction for one vision zone. Progressive (varifocal) lenses provide correction for all three vision zones; near, intermediate and distance.
This is why progressive lenses are the equivalent of three pairs of single vision lenses in one. It’s also why they’re more expensive as they’re more complex and made bespoke for you.
Reading glasses are actually a sub-type of single vision lenses as they singularly correct your close vision. This visual zone includes anything within 30cm from your eyes.
Single vision distance is a term for lenses that correct your distance vision to see far away. If you are nearsighted, you will need distance single vision lenses for help seeing objects beyond arm’s length.
Single vision prescriptions only state one type of corrective power which can be plus (+) or minus (-). If your ‘intermediate addition’ or ‘near addition’ sections are blank, you only need single vision lenses.
Astigmatism is not single vision. It is a common condition describing the uneven curvature of your cornea resulting in a refractive defect causing visual blur. Astigmatism is prevalent whether you need single vision or multifocal lenses.
If you are astigmatic, your CYL and AXIS boxes will both contain digits.
To learn more about astigmatism, click here.
Yes, you can wear single vision glasses all the time. They will aid your eyesight to see properly whether for distance or for close reading and can reduce unnecessary eyestrain.
For more help about understanding the details on your prescription, why not check out my handy blog? There, you can understand your prescription details and see what kind of lenses you'll need.
Also, f you're unsure if you need thinned lenses, I've also written a guide on choosing the right lens thickness for you.
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A simple guide to distance glasses. Learn what they're used for, why you might need them and how they differ from intermediate or reading glasses.