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Lenticular lenses: Uses, benefits, cost and more

What are lenticular eyeglass lenses and why are they beneficial?

Conditions such as high myopia, aphakia and extreme farsightedness require extra care — especially when it comes to vision correction. Depending on the degree of the vision problem, this could include both close monitoring of symptoms and special eyeglass lenses. One solution is lenticular lenses.

Lenticular eyeglass lenses are designed so that each lens has a small circle in the center with a very high prescription. The lens surrounding the circles has little or no power.

Why don’t the edges of lenticular lenses have power? The power in the inner circle is very high, so it is only distributed in the center. If the entire lens had the same power, it could cause problems with depth perception and distortion. A very thick lens could also be quite uncomfortable for the glasses wearer because of its weight.

Lenticular lenses are also designed with cosmetic appearance in mind. Some lenticular lenses include a smooth connection between each “zone” of the lens, while others have a more defined separation between the two.

These special lenses are beneficial for those who have very high refractive errors.

What conditions do lenticular glasses correct?

Lenticular lenses are used to correct several conditions. This includes:

  • Aphakia — a condition in which a person does not have a lens inside their eye. Aphakia can cause blurry vision and results in an inability to focus at different distances, particularly up close. Lenticular eyeglass lenses can be used to correct aphakia. They are most effective when the condition is present in both eyes.

  • High myopia (severe nearsightedness) — when you require a very strong prescription for glasses to help you see things that are far away. High myopia is a degree of nearsightedness with a refractive measurement that is greater than –6.00 diopters or higher. (Mild nearsightedness falls between –0.25 and –3.00 diopters.)  

  • Severe hyperopia (farsightedness) — when you need a very strong prescription for glasses or contact lenses because you can see things far away more clearly than things up close.

Types of lenticular lenses

There are three main types of lenticular lenses:

  • High negative — lenticular lenses with high minus vision correction in the central portion to correct very high myopia.

  • High plus — lenticular lenses with high plus vision correction in the central portion to correct very high hyperopia.

  • Contact lenses are also available for those with a vision problem that require high power lenses. 

Do bifocals count as lenticular lenses? In a broad sense, bifocals are also lenticular. Both lenticular lenses and bifocal lenses have two different powers. But these powers are distributed differently. 

Bifocals have the prescription for distant vision at the top of the lens and the prescription for near vision at the bottom. This enables them to correct for both a refractive error and presbyopia. This is unlike lenticular glasses, which have all of the power placed in the center of the lenses. 

SEE RELATED: Bifocal sunglasses 

Are lenticular and progressive lenses the same?

To answer the question “are progressive lenses the same as lenticular lenses?,” let’s take a look at the lenses themselves.

Lenticular lenses are different from progressives lenses in a few ways. First, they are structurally different.

Progressive lenses have a prescription for near vision at the bottom of the lens, intermediate vision in the center and distance vision at the top of the lens. Lenticular lenses, on the other hand, have a round shape in the center of each lens, which is surrounded by a lens with little or no power. 

Also, progressives don’t have any obvious lines separating the powers of vision. This is not always the case for lenticular lenses.

How much do lenticular lenses usually cost?

Lenses with two powers (such as bifocals) can cost $105 or more, according to Consumer Reports. Specialized lenticular lenses may cost more, since they are used to treat very specific and severe conditions such as high myopia and aphakia. 

Your eye doctor will be able to explain the details of your lenticular lenses best, as each person’s needs are different. If you have vision insurance that can contribute to your unique lenses, this can affect the cost as well.

If you have any questions about your lenses, eye condition or how either may affect your vision or eye health, don’t hesitate to contact your eye doctor. It’s important to keep in mind that the conditions that require lenticular lenses may also need extra monitoring, so never skip out on your eye exams!

High myopia: The specificities of refraction and optical equipment. International Review of Ophthalmic Optics. November 2016.

Comparison of negative blended lenticular lens design methods for high myopic spectacles. Optics Communications. December 2021.

Section 3: Clinical Optics, chapter 4: Clinical Refraction. American Academy of Ophthalmology’s Basic and Clinical Science Course. 2020 - 2021.

What Is aphakia? American Academy of Ophthalmology. December 2021.

Dispensing II: Complex lens dispensing. Johnson & Johnson Vision Care — Continuing Education and Training. March 2008. 

The use of contact lenses in low vision rehabilitation: optical and therapeutic applications. Clinical and Experimental Optometry. June 2017.

How to get the best eyeglass lenses. Consumer Reports. December 2016.

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