1 of 34
Let’s learn about single vision lenses: what they are, who can wear them, and how they compare to other lens types.
“What are single vision lenses?” is a very common question, with a very simple answer. The clue is in the name. The lenses provide one single type of vision correction. In other words, the lenses cater to one single prescription. This means that if you have a prescription that helps you read, you can wear a single lens. If you have a prescription to improve your distance vision, you can wear a single lens. However, if your prescription offers one corrective power to clarify close-up objects, and a second corrective power to help you see those further away, a single vision lens is not for you. If you want to correct multiple vision types with just one lens, you will be looking at bifocals or multifocals, often known as progressives. Nevertheless, if you require multiple correction types for different visual difficulties, you are more than welcome to have two or three pairs of single vision lens glasses: one for each distance. This will simply mean that you need to switch glasses to do different activities, but there are certain advantages to this, which will be addressed later on. A final point to note about single vision lenses is that they are available for those with astigmatism. This is because a single vision lens requires one prescriptive power, which is covered in an astigmatism prescription. Don’t be put off by the fact your prescription has two numbers instead of one.
Single vision lenses are the proper basics of eyecare, and so are very flexible. Single vision prescriptions can be placed in any lens material, with any lens coating, and can also fit into the vast majority of frame styles. This means that you can choose all the snazzy-shaped glasses you like. When it comes to single vision lenses, you only need to err on the side of caution with your frame choices when your prescription reaches a value of 5 and above. As soon as it gets as high as 8, you definitely need to be wary of the frame style you opt for, as the lenses could prove too large for the prescription to work, and wraparound frame styles are renowned for being difficult! Nevertheless, a single vision lens will give you maximum flexibility when it comes to choosing your frame, compared with other, more complex lens types such as bifocals and progressives.
If you are happy with your single vision lens choice, all you need to do is shop! Start with our face shape guide to determine which frame styles will look best on your particular features, then filter by frame design. Whenever you stumble upon a pair you like, try them on with our virtual tool! It allows you to see the glasses on your face, just like a real life mirror. Once you have chosen your frames, pop them in your basket and head to the checkout. There, you can upload your single vision prescription or email it to us later. Then choose your lens type: we recommend the Arise HD Clarity for top quality vision. Finally, pick a coating or two - such as scratch resistance or zFORT™ for blue light block.
There are three types of single vision glasses: reading, intermediate and distance.
Have you ever found that your arms aren’t long enough to let you hold a phone or book far enough away in order for you to read it? This is perfectly normal, especially for those past the age of 40. It simply means that you would benefit from wearing reading glasses. The problem that occurs is called presbyopia, which essentially means that over time, the elasticity in your eyes has weakened, making your eye muscle less flexible. This means that you can still see clearly at a distance, but struggle to read text up close. A pair of single vision lenses will fix this very easily. Think about the times when reading is necessary: reading in bed, reading a menu in a restaurant, reading for work, and choose a frame to match the occasion. Perhaps some neutral coloured transparent frames for that warm and cosy look. Maybe a fashionable pair of oversized retro frames. Or even a pair of reading glasses with a bold cat eye shape from your favourite designer label.
This is the up and coming most popular kind of single vision glasses. The intermediate label is appropriate because the prescription corrects vision for middle distances. So not far away, but not too close up. It is typically the distance between you and your computer - hence, computer glasses. The single vision lens clarifies your sight at this specific distance, and so because we are all spending so much more time on computers these days, they are increasing in popularity. An added benefit of the intermediate single vision lens is that you can add a blue light filter to protect your eyes from digital strain. This occurs when you look at a digital screen for extended periods of time, and can lead to trouble sleeping and headaches. Whichever frames you choose, simply add your single vision prescription, and then add the zFORT™ blue light block coating.
It is equally common to have single vision lenses to help you see objects that are further than an arm’s length away. This can therefore be useful for activities like driving, watching TV, or going to the cinema. The difficulty is frequently spotted at a young age, usually around five or six. This is because it is the age most children go to school, and realise that they cannot read the board at the front of the classroom. The single vision lens for long distance can help correct two visual difficulties: myopia and hyperopia.
For someone with astigmatism, essentially, everything is blurry. The problem is fixed with a prescription that has two numbers for a single vision lens. Do not let this confuse you. Although you cannot get single vision glasses from any old shop because it will not be accurate enough, you can easily purchase a single vision lens with your prescription. This is easy to do online at SmartBuyGlasses, just add your details at the checkout.
Another excellent question is how single vision lenses compare with bifocals and progressives. A single vision lens has just one prescription across the lens, whereas a bifocal will have two, and a progressive will have three. The advantage of bifocals and progressives is that you can see clearly at different distances with just one pair of glasses. However, they are more expensive. A fun alternative is to have two or three pairs of single vision glasses. This means that you can have a pair of frames for every occasion. For example, you can have a sleek and stylish square pair for driving, a vintage round design for reading, and a simple yet elegant browline frame for work.
All glasses bought with SmartBuyGlasses come with a 100 day returns policy, 2 year warranty and best price guarantee. This means that you won’t find your dream pair of Ray-Bans cheaper anywhere else. At the other end of the scale, you can find the perfect spare pair of single vision glasses for as little as £6 when you shop the SmartBuy Collection. Welcome to eyewear made easy.