ADHD: A Parenting Guide

Bifocal, Multifocal, And Monovision Contact Lenses For Presbyopia

Many people find that, as they age, they have more and more difficulty focusing their eyes on close objects. You might notice that you're holding books or newspapers at arm's length or that you start to get headaches from spending long periods focused on close work. Are you becoming farsighted?

If these symptoms begin in middle age, it's more likely that you have presbyopia. Farsightedness – or hyperopia – is caused by the shape of your eye, and people of any age can be farsighted. Presbyopia, on the other hand, is an age-related condition; it occurs when your eyes lose their ability to change focus from things in the distance to things close to you.

Because of this, the lenses used to correct presbyopia will also be a little different than the corrective lenses for farsightedness. Treatment can also be complicated by the fact that you may develop presbyopia combined with preexisting farsightedness or nearsightedness, so the lenses must be able to correct both problems. Luckily, there are multiple contact lens options for even complicated conditions like presbyopia – lenses that adjust both distance and close vision.

Bifocal Contacts

Bifocal contact lenses work similarly to bifocal glasses, with two different parts of the lenses shaped to adjust both distance and close vision. Some bifocal contact lenses, like glasses, are divided into a top and bottom half; others have one focal area in the center and another outside the center.

It's worth trying out both types of lenses to see which you find more comfortable. If you are very used to bifocal glasses already, for instance, using contacts with the same design may be easiest for you. If you are new to bifocals, on the other hand, lenses with a central focus may be what you find easiest to use. Even your prescription and the size of your pupils can affect what lenses work best.

Because of all this, it's worth asking your eye doctor at a place like The Eye Center whether you can get a free trial of contact lenses before making a permanent choice. And no matter what you choose, make sure to pay attention to the advice of your eye doctor and give your eyes a few days to get used to the lenses.

Multifocal Contacts

Sometimes people wonder what the difference between bifocal and multifocal lenses are – luckily, it's a very simple one. Bifocal lenses have two prescriptions in them, while multifocal lenses are any lenses with more than one, including bifocal and trifocal lenses.

Monovision Contacts

Monovision contacts, on the other hand, are very different from bifocal contacts. Instead of having two prescriptions on each lens, you have two lenses with different prescriptions. That means that your brain learns to use one eye for distance vision and another for close-up vision.

It can take a few weeks for your brain to adjust, but if you make the adjustment, many people find monovision contacts very helpful for presbyopia. It's also worth mentioning that, if you don't adjust to them properly or don't like them, they don't damage your eyes in any way; stop using them, and your brain will simply return to using both eyes for all distances.