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We are pleased to announce that all three of our Vision Source locations will be reopening for service during the week of May 4th, 2020.

During this difficult time, we have made adjustments to our services to ensure the health and safety of your patients, our staff, and our Doctors. Click here to read more.

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.af1b1421c24688af63a06ff712820062

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.

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We are pleased to announce that all three of our Vision Source locations will be reopening for service during the week of May 4th, 2020.

During this difficult time, we have made adjustments to our services to ensure the health and safety of your patients, our staff, and our Doctors.

For the Protection of Our Patients, we have implemented the following procedures in our clinics:

Limited Appointment Scheduling - in order to ensure we are able to properly disinfect and adhere to Social Distancing Guidelines set forth by our local authority.  Certainly, urgent and emergency patients will be prioritized.

Fever Free Environment - Temperatures will be taken upon entering the clinic of all patients, staff, and doctors.  Anyone with 99.5 degrees or higher will be asked to reschedule.  Anyone who is taking a fever-reducing medication such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen will be asked to reschedule once the medication is clear from their system so we can be sure of an accurate temperature reading.

Pre-Screening Questionnaire - We will continue to ask any patient with URI symptoms to reschedule their appointment until they have been asymptomatic for 3 days or have a negative COVID test.

Face Covering - We are requiring everyone entering our clinics to wear some type of facial covering such as a homemade mask, scarf, bandana, or handkerchief.

Wash hands and sanitize - Upon entering the office, everyone will be asked to sanitize their hands.  Additionally, we will request they sanitize their hands before re-entering the business area.

All Vision Source staff with direct patient contact will be required to wear a mask.

Social Distancing - We are limiting the number of patients in our office and are asking, when possible, only the patient enters our clinics for their visit.  Please ask the person with your patient to stay in their car.  We can text them if they need their assistance.

When scheduling patients, we will be:

  1. Asking them if they have been diagnosed with COVID or been in contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID.  In those cases, we will postpone seeing the patient unless emergent.
  2. We will ask if they have any current symptoms of COVID.
  3. They will be notified that upon arrival to our office they will have their temperature taken.
  4. We will ask the patients NOT to bring family members with them into the office and we ask patients to wait in the car until they are called inside for their appointment.
  5. We will ask the patient to bring their own mask or face covering.  All of our doctors and any staff who will have direct patient contact will be masked.

Thank you for your support and understanding during these unprecedented times.

Please stay safe and healthy.

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