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Falling for Varifocals?

(33 Posts)
annodomini Sat 02-Mar-19 10:14:39

Yesterday I had a nasty fall and had to go by ambulance to A&E, ending up with stitches in a gash in my eyebrow. It's about 18 months since a similar fall sent me to A&E with a fractured shoulder. It's been suggested that varifocals can cause us to miss our footing. I've been wearing them for at least 20 year with about five falls that I can remember - only two bad enough for hospital treatment. What do other grans think about this? Is is my varifocals or is it my age (78) or just sheer carelessness?

aggie Sat 02-Mar-19 10:21:46

I fell badly years ago, and needed stitches in my eyebrow , I wasn't wearing Varifocals , I fell afew times since wearing them , but it wasn't the glasses it was my carelessness and loose slippers the last time , about 3 years ago

glammanana Sat 02-Mar-19 10:23:56

anno I have never been able to manage varifocals it always seems as though the ground is coming up to meet me.
The first time I tried them I took a new pair away on holiday with me to try and get used to them but the problem I had trying to get up the stairs to the apartment had me completly disorinated and the steps seemed to be moving in front of me so I stopped wearing them.
I must say when I had that really bad fall nearly 4 yrs ago and broke my shoulder and upper arm I was wearing my normal specs it was just a case of not concentrating where I was going at the time.
I would think if you have worn them for 20yrs plus it is not the fact you are wearing varifocals and just bad luck at the time.xx
Hoping you are feeling better to-day xx flowers

TerriBull Sat 02-Mar-19 10:27:41

Wish you better anno flowers

I really don't fancy varifocals, they are suggested every time I go for new glasses, but I think I'll stick with one pair for distance and one for reading.

Marelli Sat 02-Mar-19 11:17:19

I wear varifocals, too. I'm always very conscious of how kerbs, stairs, etc aren't always where they 'should' be and have had some near misses.
The thing is, I don't always watch where I'm going, which doesn't help.
Your poor forhead will be even more painful today, anno. Take it easy.

Marelli Sat 02-Mar-19 11:18:00


bikergran Sat 02-Mar-19 11:23:41

My opticians are always! trying to get me to have varifocals every time I go for new glasses. I don't know why it just seems they want you to try them.

I have worn glasses all my life every day I still stick to separate reading glasses which I have never needed that much.

But lately I am really needing them.

Will still stick to separate glasses for reading though.

Charleygirl5 Sat 02-Mar-19 11:24:50

anno that is horrendous.

I tried varifocals on at the optician's and instantly felt sick so that was a no-no for me. Perhaps have a word with your optician?

Do you have any joint replacements because if you do, falling can slowly loosen the cement.

ayse Sat 02-Mar-19 11:32:20

I’ve tried varifocals and they made me nauseous and I couldn’t continue. I now have bifocals for distance and reading but continue with single vision as well, especially for sewing as I have a closer focus for this.
Varifocals have been ‘recommended’ by both Specsavers and Vision Express. My local optician just lets me have what I want with plenty of advice to suit my pocket.

KatyK Sat 02-Mar-19 12:27:03

My DH couldn't get on with varifolals. He fell down the stairs once when he had them on. He went back to ordinary glasses after that.

Marelli Sat 02-Mar-19 12:33:57

The thing is, though - if you wear glasses for distance only, how do you read the things that come up in a normal day, like labels and things round the house that need sharper sight? Is it not a bit of a faff having to reach for reading glasses? 🤔

sodapop Sat 02-Mar-19 12:35:18

Sorry to hear if your accident Annodomini hope you recover soon. Any falls really shake you up don't they.
I have never been able to manage varifocals either, I stick with my bifocals. I did speak to my optician last year to see if I should try again. He said that some people just can't manage and its sometimes related to having migraines which I used to suffer from. The optician was of the opinion that as bifocals had suited me for many years there was no reason to change.

nanasam Sat 02-Mar-19 12:53:15

I think the fall where I landed forehead on granite worktop had more to do with wine consumption than varifocals!

bikergran Sat 02-Mar-19 13:01:16

I wear glasses all the time for distance, but stuggling to read the tiny print on labels.
I work in a supermarket on the checkout and sometimes have to read the tiny tiny code on clothes labels( which is very long and sometimes white writing on black label)

I do carry reading glasses in my pocket but must admit it is a bit of a faff plus keeping the customer waiting a little, I have now found a little magnifying glass to keep in my pocket. I really don't want bifocals or varifocals. After reading some of the stories.

petra Sat 02-Mar-19 13:05:04

I've been wearing them for over 20 years.
If they're not right it's the prescription.
2 years ago I went though 3 opticians until I found one that got it right.
As I've been wearing them for so long I know what's right and what's wrong.
One fool told me I would 'get used to them'
I told him, very loudly, that I had probably started wearing them about the time he was born angry

Caledonai14 Sat 02-Mar-19 13:32:03

Hi Annodomini,
Sorry to hear about your fall and I hope you heal quickly. A couple of years back I had an accident on an icy ramp and fell from a height. As part of my recovery (and when I could eventually type again) I did a free online course through Futurelearn. It was run by the Falls Clinic at Newcastle and I have mentioned it here before so that I can let people know when it comes round again.

First of all, the course let us see that everybody falls and it is not necessarily anything to do with aging. Even the lead professor confessed to having a fall while running on an uneven surface in unsuitable shoes.

There are loads of things that increase your likelihood of having a fall and I was amazed at the number of different changes you can make...though I really just joined to see if I could speed up my recovery. It did that too.

Just a few examples of increased risk are:

Having had a previous fall; Not having a recent review of medication which might pick up that you no longer need something; Poor lighting; Men with balance issues insisting on standing to pee in the middle of the night when sitting would be much safer; "stuff" lying around; Inner ear conditions which turned out to be easily solved if you got the right health professional..... etc etc

And yes, for some people, bifocals and varifocals.

There was no single solution, but the general good advice and practical solutions (not all suggested by the course - some came from fellow participants) really helped me.

As soon as the course runs again, I'll post something, but please PM me if you want to know more.

The most reassuring thing I found was that the conclusion was that Falls are not a natural result of aging and there are lots of solutions/preventions.

Ironically, the same Scottish hospital that treated me for the fluke accident (I must have told them six times what happened and that I'd fallen from an icy height) later pursued me relentlessly to have a hip xray because they insisted I'd fallen from lower than shoulder height with no obvious cause. Ridiculous record keeping. I don't think we have a falls clinic up here.

shysal Sat 02-Mar-19 13:47:00

I tried varifocals a couple of years ago but couldn't get on with them when using my laptop or tablet, the reading field just wasn't big enough despite buying the recommended (most expensive) version. Specsavers changed the lenses to bi-focals free of charge and I love them! The half-moons do look a bit grannyish but I am a granny so I don't care, and they are not very obvious. I have no problems with stairs or shopping and don't find myself consciously tipping my head up and down.
Might be worth considering for those of you worried about falling.

Day6 Sat 02-Mar-19 14:09:54

Sorry to read about your fall annodomini

My partner is always missing his step, tripping up and hurting himself and he doesn't wear varifocals, or indeed glasses, except for reading.

I am a fan of varifocals and have had no trouble going from needing just reading glasses to ones which make the distance clearer. I was warned things might loom up at me when I started wearing them, but I have been fine.

I know falling can cause confidence problems. My Mum fell off a bus step when she was 81 and it put paid to her independence in many ways. She became wary of public transport.

However, I'd say varifocals are a blessing (saves faffing about with two pairs of specs) and "accidents happen" annodomini unless you suspect you have a balance problem. I hope your head isn't sore for long.

harrigran Sat 02-Mar-19 15:06:21

I had the same problem, fell up and down stairs and could not use them whilst on the computer. I took them back to the opticians and told them that they were obviously not suitable for me despite them telling me I would love them.

Marydoll Sat 02-Mar-19 15:14:26

annodomini, sorry to hear about your fall.
I have been wearing varifocals for about twenty years and I love them.
However, I do agree about about having to be careful of steps, kerbs etc. I have missed the bottom step a few times recently and am now more conscious of looking where I'm putting my feet.
I hope you feel better soon. flowers

Day6 Sat 02-Mar-19 15:20:28

I know others who say the same as you Harrigran Charleygirl ayse and fact, now I am scrolling back up, there are too many Grans to mention! shock

There doesn't seem to be any middle ground, no pun intended. Varifocals are great for some but really no good at all for others - most people on this thread.

dizzyblonde Sat 02-Mar-19 15:25:34

I’ve been wearing them for years with no problems. I do have the most expensive type as I need them for work. When driving at speed I need to be able to change from distance to near vision quickly. I have fallen once but it had nothing to do with glasses and everything to do with a rough surface in pitch dark!
I know they don’t work for everyone though, we’re all different.

MiniMoon Sat 02-Mar-19 17:15:30

I 've been wearing varifocals for years. I love them, and it took me no time at all to get used to them.
The only fall I've had was on ice beneath a layer of snow, so nothing to do with my glasses.

Bathsheba Sat 02-Mar-19 17:28:20

Sorry to hear about your fall anno - do hope your poor head doesn't stay sore for too long.

I first tried varifocals more than 20 years ago and couldn't get on with them. Then I tried dual-sight contact lenses - one lens has reading sight, the other has distance sight. It sounds odd, but they did work (except when I was reading and drinking a cup of tea at the same time - every time I lifted the cup to my mouth I obscured the right eye which had the reading sight, very disorientating!)

However, I tried varifocals again a couple of years later, making sure to buy the best available, and they were fine. I've never had a problem with them since. I guess I've just become accustomed to the need to move my head more, rather than just my eyes, so that I'm looking through the right part of the lens all the time.

BassGrammy Sat 02-Mar-19 17:52:26

I think a lot is to do with the lenses. I have worn varifocals for many, many years, but always get the expensive ultra thin lens. They are fine, I never have any problems with them except perhaps for a day or two after getting a new prescription. However a few years ago I went to a different high-street optician, where they made the glasses in an hour. I couldn’t wear them at all and felt nauseous the whole time I had them on. The shop actually refunded me for them! I also wear multi focal contact lenses, which although are something of a compromise, work very well and because of their construction....concentric rings, rather than a ‘top and bottom’ completely solve the steps/kerbs/stairs problem. It might be worth trying a different lens.