Multifocal contact lenses are one way that we can correct the focusing problems associated with the condition presbyopia. Multifocal contact lenses are designed to allow different lens powers that target vision at varying distances from the wearer. But how does this work, and does it make sense for your eyesight? We’ll help you explore multifocal contacts and how to think about whether they’re right for you.
Presbyopia, a word that meant “the elderly eye” in Greek, is a symptom of aging eyes. As you age, the lens of your eye becomes increasingly rigid and inflexible: it can no longer adjust its shape as easily to allow you to focus on both near and distant objects.
Many people notice the effects of presbyopia in their early to mid-40s, as they find themselves holding reading materials at arm’s length in order to focus clearly.
What are multifocal contact lenses?
Multifocal contact lenses are contact lenses with multiple prescriptions all in one lens. There is typically a prescription for very close objects: one prescription for normal objects viewed at a distance, and then prescriptions for intermediate distances. This setup helps people with presbyopia correct age-related vision problems where the eye can no longer focus on objects up close.
What’s the difference between multifocals and bifocals?
Multifocal contact lenses are designed with a gradual transition between a prescription for close reading on one end and a prescription for normal distance viewing on the other. They are very similar to progressive eyeglasses. Bifocals, on the other hand, have a sharp edge between the near and far vision prescription areas of the lens.
Types of multifocal contacts
There are two main types of multifocal contact lens designs. The most common is a set of concentric circles of lens powers prescribed for various viewing distances. There are also blended designs, which keep both the near and distance prescriptions close to the centre of your eye, and mimic a natural viewing experience by correcting the specific points of aberration in your eyes.
Your optometrist is your best ally when you’re thinking about getting contact lenses and other eye care decisions. He or she will help you find the right corrective options for you to suit your lifestyle, and evaluate you in the first few months to make sure the choice was appropriate.