Have you been wearing contact lenses for years? Have you recently started having some difficulty reading with your usual contacts on? Have you stopped wearing contacts all together because of this? If you answered yes to these questions; you’re not alone. Most of you will know about progressive glasses, with lenses that have a gradient addition in power moving from the middle to the bottom of the lens. These lenses give you clear vision from distance to near, hence why we don’t see too many people wearing bifocal glasses anymore. Did you know there are contact lens versions of this design? They are called multifocal contacts. Although multifocal contacts have been around for quite a while, there are recently seeing an increase in popularity. Similar to progressive glasses, multifocal contacts have gradients of power built into them as well. The difference being that in contact lenses, these changes in power are built into concentric rings.
Seen here is the lens design in a popular monthly contact lens made by Cooper Vision, called the Biofinity lens. You can see what we mean by concentric circles of power here; variations made to go from distance, to intermediate, to near.
One key point about multifocal contacts that you’ll see here is that we sometimes use a different design of lens on each eye. What that means for your vision is that you will always see the best at both distance and near when both eyes are open and working together. When we see multifocal contact lens wearers covering up one eye at a time to check their vision it stresses us out! We know that your vision won’t be ideal just with one eye; the beauty of these contacts is that both eyes are getting slightly different information at all distances, so they must be always working together to give you the best vision possible. We won’t get into the specifics too much but if it sounds a little confusing: don’t worry. Your brain impressively works with all of this beautifully.
Here’s another great bonus of multifocals: you can simply wear non-prescription sunnies on top! Many of our patients love the freedom that multifocals provide for summer and winter sports- you can just pop you skiing or biking goggles right on top.
Just like the average soft contact lens, multifocals come in daily, bi-weekly, and monthly disposal schedules. When we meet with you to discuss what your goals of wearing contacts are, how often you’ll be wearing them, and other lifestyle factors, we will be able to guide you into the right lens for your needs. There are so many contact lenses out there and our optometrists are always keeping up to date on lens materials, designs, and patient reviews so that they can offer you the best solution.
Most of the information you’ve read pertains to soft contact lens multifocals. However, if you are presently wearing hard contact lenses and were interested in near vision options, hard lenses also come in a multifocal version. These specialty lenses are very custom made, so be sure to mention this to your optometrist at your next appointment if you’re interested!