Bifocal and Multifocal Contact Lenses

Around the age of 40 most people in Northern Colorado find that they have to hold reading material farther away in order to be able to read it clearly. This eye condition is known as presbyopia. Today, we have bifocal and multifocal contact lenses which are designed to give you good vision through this normal part of aging. Both gas permeable (GP) and soft lenses have bifocal and multifocal contact lens option available.

Bifocals, multifocals – What’s the difference?

Bifocal contacts lenses are very similar to bifocal eyeglass lenses in that they have two powers; one power is for clear vision at distances and one power is for clear vision for things that are near. Multifocal contact lenses which are very similar to progressive eyeglass lenses, possess a wider range of powers for clear vision far away, up close and everywhere in between. (Please note that “multifocal” can also be a term used for all lenses with more than one power, which includes bifocals.)

Types of multifocal contact lenses

There are two basic types of multifocal contact lenses:

  1. Simultaneous vision lenses. Distance and close up are what these lenses specialize in offering both vision spectrums at the same time. Even though this sounds impossible, our eyes are remarkable in their abilities. Your vision system will be able to learn how to use the strength that is required and ignore the strength that it does not need as you go through your day. Simultaneous vision contact lenses are the choice of most customers who want to wear multifocal contact lens. These lenses are often soft lenses, and today people in Fort Collins, Loveland and Greeley can purchase them in two different designs:
    • Concentric ring designs – These bifocal lenses have either distance or near power in the center of the lens, with alternating rings of distance and near powers of lens surrounding the center ring.
    • Aspheric designs – These progressive-style multifocal lenses that have many powers of lens blended across the lens surface. While some aspheric lenses have the distance power in the center of the lens; still others have the near power in the center.
  2. Alternating vision (or translating) lenses. this option of lens is a GP multifocal lenses which is designed similarly to bifocal eyeglass lenses. While the upper portion of the lens has the distance strength the lower portion of the lens contains the near strength. As your eyes look through the lens straight ahead, your eye is looking through the distance part of the lens. As your eye looks downward through the lens, your lower lid holds the lens in place while your pupil moves – or translates – into the near zone of the lens for reading.

Will multifocal contact lenses work for me?

Most people in Fort Collins, Loveland and Greeley who try wearing multifocal contact lenses are pleased with the vision that they achieve with them. Some people may experience downsides to these contact lenses. For some people, distance vision with multifocal contact lenses might not be as clear as they hoped to achieve or are used to, or you may have an issue with glared vision at night or difficulty seeing small print.

For others, a possible answer for presbyopia may be a monovision or modified monovision fitting of regular or single vision contact lenses.

With monovision contact lenses we have you wear a single vision contact lens on one eye for your distance vision and a single vision contact lens on the other eye that has a prescription for your near vision. For modified monovision contact lenses, we would have you wear a single vision distance lens on one eye and a multifocal contact lens on the other eye to cover your near vision.

Contact us with Questions or to Schedule an Appointment

We would enjoy the opportunity to help you best determine the contact lenses for your vision needs. Please call our office at 970-204-4020 for a consultation or simply click on the link on the side of this page to contact our office.

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