How Do Multifocal Contact Lenses Work and Are They Right for You?
Modern advances in contact lens technology can provide clear vision for people with presbyopia without needing the use of eyeglasses. If your eyes require a reading prescription (with or without distance correction), then you may be a good candidate for multifocal contact lenses.
What is presbyopia?
People over 40 often begin to notice that it becomes difficult or impossible to focus on things up close and that their near vision has become blurry. This condition is known as presbyopia, and it occurs gradually and naturally as a result of advancing age. Presbyopia is inevitable and is caused by the loss of elasticity of the lens in the eye, which makes the lens harden. As a result of this hardening, the eye is no longer able to focus on close objects because the light now focuses behind the retina instead of directly on it when reading.
What are contact lenses for presbyopia?
Bifocal and multifocal contact lenses address presbyopia by offering both distance vision correction and near vision correction. These contact lenses can accommodate multiple different prescriptions in a single lens so that the wearer can focus clearly on objects at a wide range of distances, whether they are reading or driving. There are even multifocal contact lenses that will also correct astigmatism. Multifocal lenses offer three focal points: one for reading and up-close correction, one for intermediate vision, and one for distance.
Types of multifocal contact lenses
In general, there are three main kinds of multifocal contact lenses:
- Concentric multifocal lenses. These lenses have concentric circles on the lens that allow for a gradual transition from one prescription to the next. Much like a bull’s eye pattern, the rings alternate near and distance corrections.
- Aspheric multifocal lenses. Aspheric lenses are made similar to progressive lenses for a blended transition between prescriptions. However, one of the prescriptions will be located in the center and gradually shift as you move outward.
- Segmented bifocal lenses. All bifocal contact lenses are rigid gas permeable lenses. They resemble bifocal eyeglasses lenses with the near prescription located in the bottom half of the lens and the distance prescription in the top half. The lower area of these lenses is flattened to keep it in place on the eye.
Is your prescription for one of these types of lenses?
Contact lens prescriptions comprise many factors, including the power, base curve, diameter, specific brand of lens, and more. If your eye doctor recommends a rigid gas permeable lens, then your prescription will include additional particulars such as color and dot details. Contact lenses come in different materials and fits. Anytime you try contact lenses that weren’t prescribed to you, you put yourself at risk for problems ranging from discomfort to serious infection. That’s why you should wear only contact lenses that were prescribed for you specifically by a qualified eye care professional. If you would like assistance understanding your prescription or figuring out if it is for contact lenses, we can help – you can contact us here.
There is also evidence that multifocal contact lenses when worn in children with progressive myopia can help slow down the progression of this condition.
Are multifocal lenses right for me?
People who have multiple vision needs at once have several options. For example, some people use their regular distance contact lenses and simply put on reading glasses when needed; others have two different sets of monovision contact lenses (one eye for distance and one eye for near tasks). Bifocal and multifocal contact lenses offer a more convenient and more natural option. They do typically require a bit of an adjustment period. Still, your eyes will soon learn to differentiate between prescriptions and start to use the right prescription for the correct distance automatically. When these lenses are fit successfully, you will not need eyeglasses for most daily activities. If you think multifocal lenses might be right for you, make an appointment with your eye doctor today.