Lenticular lenses are a type of lens used to make eyeglasses. They’re rarely used, but they can be of great benefit when you need them.

Eyeglass manufacturers produce these lenses to correct severe farsightedness. This means that you have difficulty seeing things up close.

It’s also possible to create a lenticular lens that corrects severe nearsightedness.

Keep reading for more information on lenticular lenses, including their applications beyond correcting your vision.

A lenticular lens is a corrective lens type that requires a very high power to correct your vision.

High power often means a very thick and heavy eyeglass. To keep the lens from being so thick that it’d be hard to wear, eyeglass manufacturers created the lenticular lens.

You can think of a lenticular lens as two different lenses stacked on each other. An eyeglass manufacturer often makes a standard-size lens, then places a higher-powered lens over a smaller area. When you look through that particular spot, the lens will correct your vision.

Sound familiar? That’s because lenticular lenses are the basis for bifocals as well as trifocals.

Bifocals are special lenses that allow you to see more clearly when you look down to read. When you look up, you can see items that are farther away more clearly.

Lenticular lenses are available as both contact lenses and eyeglasses. For eyeglass varieties, they’re available as glass or plastic.

An eyeglass or optics manufacturer can manipulate a lenticular lens so it helps you see things more clearly farther away or up close.

Sometimes, a doctor will suggest lenticular eyeglass lenses for a young person who experiences mild to moderate visual impairment at an early age.

In this case, your eye doctor will use a two-fold approach:

  • Prescribe a contact lens that enhances your vision.
  • Provide glasses with lenticular lenses that act like a telescope to help you see clearer farther away.

This approach isn’t usually used for older individuals because their eyes may have problems accommodating the lens, which could lead to falls and dizziness.

Other applications

Lens manufacturers also use lenticular lenses for other vision-related applications. Layers or strategic placements of lenticular lenses can create a 3-D effect on the viewer’s perception.

As a result, optics manufacturers use lenticular lenses to create 3-D television screen displays and headsets for virtual reality systems.

Lenticular printing or layering can also allow you to see an advertisement as a 3-D effect. Typically, you’ll need to stand or sit at a certain angle to appreciate the full effect.

You may benefit from lenticular lenses if you have cataracts. This happens when the lens in your eye becomes cloudy and affects your vision. An ophthalmologist can usually correct your vision by implanting a new lens.

But there may be some circumstances where your eye doctor can’t implant a new lens into your eye, or the implant isn’t available. In these instances, a lenticular lens may help.

Lenticular lenses can help correct your vision, but there’s a learning curve to using them.

Learning to use lenticular lenses

  1. Train yourself on where to look on your lens to enhance your vision.
  2. Teach yourself where not to look when you want to see things farther away (or vice versa).
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These lenses must also be carefully made.

The person fitting the glasses must take into account the angles where the glasses will sit relative to your eye or eyes. If these measurements are off even by several millimeters, the glasses could cause you to experience disruptively blurry vision.

You may also find that you have issues seeing well when your glasses slip down your face or are slightly askew.

Evaluate your glasses carefully

If your new prescription with lenticular lenses doesn’t work well with 1 or 2 weeks, return to where you purchased your glasses for a follow-up exam.

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You may simply need lenticular lenses because other options, such as traditional cataract or vision correction surgery, aren’t available to you. In this case, you may need to work to adjust to wearing lenticular lenses.

A standard bifocal lens can cost about $105, according to Consumer Reports. But those made to correct cataracts or other visual concerns may be costlier.

Cost factors for lenticular lenses

  • how they’re manufactured
  • what you need them for (reading, everyday use, etc.)
  • whether your vision insurance covers these lenses
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Progressive lenses are an alternative to lenticular lens options that some people may find more comfortable to wear.

The chart below reviews the key differences between lenticular and progressive lenses:

Lenticular lensProgressive lens
Definitionhas two (or more) different areas to modify vision on a glasses lensgradually changes the lens prescription strength to allow your eye to adjust
Appearanceoften separated by a line on the glasses lensdoesn’t usually have a distinct line
Disadvantagessome people report dizziness, eye tiredness, and headachescan cause blurred peripheral vision, especially during movements such as walking
Costsusually less expensive than progressive lenses ($105 for bifocals)usually more expensive than lenticular lenses ($260 for progressives)

Ask your eye doctor if they recommend one lens over the other, given your vision and budget.

If you start to experience changes in your vision, speak with your eye doctor.

Contact your eye doctor if you’re:

  • having trouble with night vision
  • noticing a sudden blurriness to your vision
  • seeing double
  • seeing numbers or letters less sharply
  • finding that you’re tripping or are less steady on your feet due to depth perception changes
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Your eye doctor will listen to your symptoms and conduct testing to identify potential causes.

In the case of cataracts, your doctor may use tests, such as a retinal exam through eye dilation or slit-lamp examination.

If your doctor recommends lenticular lenses, they’ll instruct you on how to properly wear them and how the lenses are fitted.

Lenticular lenses are a lens type that can help you see better or are used to create special 3-D effects.

Bifocals are a common example of lenticular lenses, although there are more complicated lens options as well.

If you experience visual changes, talk with your eye doctor about an eye examination.