The Osteopathic Practice


Varifocals and Neck Pain

Varifocals are a Jack-of-all-trades and master of none!

Although many people find that Varifocals improve their lives tremendously, there are two large groups of people who can have real problems with them:

Computer and Laptop use.

The lower part of the lens is for close work, such as, sewing or reading, but a computer screen is placed to be viewed straight ahead of you. You are then viewing it through the mid to long range part of the lens.

When using a computer or laptop, Varifocal users often tip their head backwards to be able to see the screen through the lower part of the lens, rather than just raise their eyes as they would normally do. Sitting with their head tipped back for long periods can cause neck pain and headaches.

This can be corrected by having a pair of Computer glasses just for keyboard work. The focal length can be optimised for seeing the screen and the keyboard clearly, by just moving the eyes up or down while keeping the head upright and in the correct postural alignment.

If you wear Varifocals and get you neck pain or headaches after using a computer, it might be helpful to get some glasses specifically for computer use. This can save you paying out for a lot of unnecessary treatments.

Walkers and those walking on slippery surfaces like icy pavements

As previously mentioned, the lower part of the lens in a Varifocal is designed for close up work like reading. Many people find that, when walking on a rough or slippery surface, they can’t see the ground clearly by just looking down with their eyes; they have to tip their head down to see the ground clearly. This can be uncomfortable and can make you more likely to fall – especially going downhill.  This can mean that you can miss your footing as you can’t see where you are placing your feet, or you might miss a patch of slippery ice, as you won’t be able to see the shiny surface.

If you enjoy walking and hiking, it may be helpful to have Varifocals for that purpose, with the focal length at the bottom of the lens suitable for seeing the ground in front of you without having to tip your head down. This may make map reading a bit harder, but you could take a flat, plastic magnifier to help with that.

If you need to see the ground clearly when you walk, or have a fear of falling over – particularly if you have already fallen and broken a wrist or hip – it may be advisable to have Varifocals for walking. Some people with arthritis of the neck just don’t have the range of movement required to allow them to see through the best part of the lens and this can mean that they are either walking not being able to see their feet clearly, or they are aggravating their cervical arthritis trying to look down too far. Neither of these are ideal or helpful, and can be quite dangerous in icy weather.

If you want more information about Varifocals and neck pain, or if you have neck pain and need treatment, please telephone the practice on 01926 335932.