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8220 Louetta Road, Suite 112
Spring, TX 77379

281-370-2020
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Home » Contact Lenses » Bifocal and Multifocal Contact Lenses

Bifocal and Multifocal Contact Lenses

If you are over 40 and have difficulty seeing close up, you probably have a common age-related condition called presbyopia which is when the eye’s natural lens loses the ability to focus on close objects. Presbyopia is a natural process as the eye ages and affects the majority of people from age 40 and upward. Individuals with presbyopia are often familiar with the need to hold reading materials such as newspapers an arm’s length away from their eyes in order to see clearly, yet reading glasses with bifocal or multifocal (progressive) lenses can help.

Fortunately for those who don’t like the look, feel or inconvenience of reading glasses, there is another option. Bifocal and multifocal lenses are also available in contact lenses in both soft and Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) varieties.

Multifocal contact lenses give you added freedom over glasses and they allow you to be able to view any direction – up, down and to the sides – with similar vision. People wearing progressive lenses in glasses on the other hand have to look over their glasses if they want to view upwards or into the distance.

The Difference Between Bifocal and Multifocal Lenses

Just as the name indicates, bifocal lenses are divided into two distinct segments for different vision powers, the first for distance vision and the second for near vision. This enables you to clearly switch your focus from near to far as needed, but your vision will not necessarily be clear in between. The term multifocal lenses can refer to any lenses with multiple powers including bifocals, trifocals or progressive lenses. Non-bifocal multifocal lenses have a range of powers that enable you to constantly adjust your focus to see clearly from up close to far and in between.

Multifocal contact lenses are generally designed in one of two ways, as either simultaneous vision lenses or alternating vision lenses.

Simultaneous vision lenses

The most popular version of multifocal contact lenses, simultaneous vision lenses present the distance and near vision zones of the lens at the same time. Typically after a short adjustment period your eyes learn to utilize the segment of the lens that they need to focus on the desired object and essentially ignore the other.

They come in two designs:

  • Concentric ring design: In the most basic form these are bifocal lenses that are comprised of a central circular area of one power with a ring around of the alternate power, similar to a bulls-eye. In this design the power of the rings (either near or distance vision is interchangeable). For intermediate viewing (18-24 inches away) extra rings can be added to create a trifocal or multifocal lens. The width of each ring is variable depending on the power that is needed most and the edges of the rings can be blended for a smooth transition of focus, similar to progressive eyeglass lenses.
  • Aspheric design: These multifocal lenses attempt to provide a natural vision experience by blending many lens powers across the surface and center of the lens. In this design both distance and near vision power are located in the central visual area and your eyes will adapt to focus on the area needed to view what you are looking at.

Translating or Alternating Vision lenses

Similar to bifocal eyeglass lenses, these contacts are divided into distinct areas or zones and your pupil will move to the desired zone depending on your vision needs. Typically the top of the lens, which is what you look through when looking straight ahead is for distance vision and the bottom area (what you look through when you look down) is for near vision. However, this can be reversed according to unique vision needs.

Since contact lenses sometimes move within your eye, translating lenses are held in place by a ballast which is an area that is thicker than the rest of the lens or by truncating or flattening the bottom to stay in line by the lower lid. These lenses are only available in rigid gas permeable lens material.

An Alternative Option to Multifocal Contact Lenses: Monovision

Monovision is another contact lens alternative for presbyopia particularly if you are having difficulty adapting to multifocal lenses. Monovision splits your distance and near vision between your eyes, using your dominant eye for distance vision and your non-dominant eye for near vision.

Typically you will use single vision lenses in each eye however sometimes the dominant eye will use a single vision lens while a multifocal lens will be used in the other eye for intermediate and near vision. This is called modified monovision. Your eye doctor will perform a test to determine which type of lens is best suited for each eye and optimal vision.

Are Contact Lenses Right for You?

If you have presbyopia, contact lenses may be a great option for you. Many people prefer the look and convenience of contact lenses over traditional reading glasses. Speak to your eye doctor about the options available to you.

Klein Eyecare update for COVID-19 (3/20/20)

As we all navigate the unprecedented pandemic facing our country, we would like you to know that the safety of our patients and our staff are of utmost importance to us as we simultaneously continue to care for your eye care needs.  For this reason, we have implemented an extremely rigorous sanitization program and have dramatically reduced the number of people and patient encounters in the office.  We will be open and continue to offer eye care services during this time under the following circumstances:

We will be available for any eye care service that either the patient or our office feels is of any sort of urgent nature.  (Examples could be eye infections, decreased vision, lost or broken glasses, sudden or recent change of vision or prescription, flashes or floaters, or any other reason that our patients feel they need to be seen.)  Patients may be asked to wait in their cars until we call each patient back to maintain adequate social distancing.  We will also ask each patient to wash their hands before being seen. 

We will not be seeing anyone with a fever, anyone that has been in contact with anyone who has been ill, or anyone who has traveled out of the country in the last two weeks.

We will extend contact lens prescriptions for a limited time and will offer free shipping to your home/office.

We will be available for glasses pick-ups by appointment only.  We will not be adjusting glasses at this time, but we do recommend coming back for adjustments once this situation clears.  We will also be happy to deliver them to your car.

Our office remains open with some adjustments to our hours and staffing.  We are here if you have any questions, concerns, or need to make any contact lens orders.  We will also continue to provide updates as the situation evolves.

Regards,

Richard Scott, OD

Grant Gibson, OD

Lance Abernathy, OD


Do you have enough contacts???

With the day to day changes surrounding COVID-19, we know that many of you may be concerned that you have enough contact lenses. With that being said if you are a contact lens wearer and currently have less than a 3 month supply left, we highly recommend that you place an order now. We will ship them directly to you at no charge.  We will extend contact lens prescription expiration dates as needed. 

Call 281-370-2020 to place your order.