Ask the Optician

Posted on: 17 April 2012 by Gareth Hargreaves

Expert optometrists answer queries and concerns on everything from older eyes to lens type and eye health conditions.

Thyroid eye diseaseTinting Varifocal lenses

Question I have aquired thyroid eye disease and would like my new varifocals to be tinted would that be possible?

Qualified optometrist Simon Kay BSc(Hons) MCOptom answers this question.

AnswerThere is no problem in tinting varifocal lenses to any depth of tint (note, if you have higher index thinner lenses they cannot be tinted very dark).


Related Questions

Retinting high index lenses


I have a specsavers near me but haven't been in there yet. I have prescription glasses from another optician. Both my eyes are -6.50 so I have the lenses cut thinner. They where suppose to have a 20% grey tint but they are lighter than I thought I would like to get them tinted a litle darker. The glasses are fine, I like the style and size of them, I just need them tinted a tad more. Will I be able to take them to specsavers and ask them to just tint my glasses a little darker or do they have to make the lenses from scratch. Also if they can do this could you give me a idea of a price they would charge

Thanks hope you can help



Qualified optometrist Simon Kay BSc(Hons) MCOptom answers this question.

It will depend of the material the lens is made of, and if it has been treated with an antireflection coating or a hard coating. High index (thinner) materials are difficult to retint and because they do not absorb the tinting dye easily they are difficult to get dark. It the lens is just standard normal index plastic then it is easy to lighten and darken the tint. But I think you have high index lenses to make them look thinner. It will be very difficult for another optician to determine what type of material your lenses are made out of. You may be better going back to the optician who dispensed them as they will know the material that was used and be able to advise better on retinting.


Hi-Index Photochromic Varifocals

QuestionI have needed varifocal lenses for a number of years, and need to get a new pair now. I am interested in Carl Zeiss hi index lenses as they are available with their Photo Fusion photochromic tint. No-one else seems to offer thin lenses with a variable tint and this is a pity because I wore Zeiss photochromics from 1976 up to 2003. After that I had to have Nikon, or Pentax or Rodenstock which don't offer hi index and photochromic facility in the same lens.

Can Specsavers supply these lenses?


AnswerQualified optometrists Neil Constantine Smith BSc (Hons) MCOptom answers this question.

I find it useful to consider Varifocal types like cars. There are lots of different manufacturers, each with many different models/designs as well as extra options such as high index & photochromic.

Some makes have a name that suggests quality but may not actually make the best match for your needs. Also not all options are available on all designs for each manufacturer.

It is worth noting that there are different high index lenses available. In plastic 1.6, 1.67 & 1.74 are all higher index, and therefore give thinner lenses, than standard plastic. My advice is to visit your local practice with your prescription and ask for advice.


Tinted lenses for Retinitis Pigmentosa


Could you please advise whether spectacles for a person with Retinitis Pigmentosa should be tinted or not and if yes what percentage of light should be allowed?



Qualified optometrist Simon Kay BSc(Hons) MCOptom answers this question.

It has been shown that tinted lenses can be beneficial for people with Retinitis Pigmentosa, particularly a red tint that would block light in the blue area of the spectrum. The benefits have been stated as an improvement in visual acuity, a decrease in photophobia (light sensitivity) and subjectively more comfort. 

The tint would have to be quite dark, much the same as a normal dark sunglass lens. If you have no distance spectacle correction it is also worth trying commercially available dark brown sun glasses, as these may be more cosmetically acceptable for you. Dark tinted glasses should of course not be used at night.



Which eyewear is right for you?

If you need eyewear but don’t know which type will be best for you, your Specsavers optician will recommend various options. 

>> Back to Eye Health in Later Life hub

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