Liquid crystal lens
An optical element wherein the focal length can be remarkably varied through electric control. The optical element comprises a first substrate (111) having a first electrode (21), a second substrate (112), a second electrode (22) arranged on the outside of the second substrate, and a liquid crystal layer (311) wherein liquid crystal molecules stored between the first substrate and the second substrate are oriented unidirectionally. The optical element operates by applying a first voltage (V0) between the first electrode and the second electrode thereby performing orientation control of the liquid crystal molecules. A third electrode (23) is arranged on the outside of the second electrode through an insulation layer and the optical characteristics can be controlled by applying a second voltage (Vc) independent from the first voltage (V0) to the third electrode.