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Understanding Bifocal & Multifocal Contact Lenses

Bifocal and multifocal lenses are options for people who want to transition from bifocal or multifocal glasses to contacts. These types of contact lenses are great for people with active lifestyles who do not want to be chained to their reading glasses. There are many different types of bifocal and multifocal lenses available on the market that correct different types of vision disorders.

What are the Different Types of Bifocal & Multifocal Contact Lenses?

Multifocal and bifocal contact lenses are very similar to their glasses counterparts. They are available in rigid gas permeable, soft forms, and in a hybrid form.
  • Soft Lenses:

    Best for use on a part-time basis, soft lenses are a good choice because they are the easiest for the eye to adjust to.
  • Gas Permeable Lenses:

    Gas permeable lenses have been known to give better results, but they do require some adaptation for the wearer. Gas permeable (GP lenses) should be worn every day in order for your eyes to condition to them.
  • Hybrid Multifocal Lens:

    For those who want the best of both worlds, there is now a hybrid multifocal lens available that is soft around the peripheral with a gas permeable center – making this lens easier to wear with great vision results.
  • Concentric Bifocal Pattern Lens:

    This is the most commonly used lens for bifocal and multifocal lenses. With a concentric bifocal pattern contact lens, the near correction is located in a small circle at the center of the lens and is surrounded by a larger circle that contains the distance correction. This can be flip-flopped where the distance correction is in the center and the near correction is in the outer ring.

What do “Simultaneous Image Design” and “Alternating Image Design” mean?

These are two of the different types of concentric bifocal pattern lenses for bifocal and multifocal lenses.
  • Simultaneous Design:

    Puts the near and far portions of the lens in front of the pupil at the same time, which makes the brain have to determine which parts of the lens to use to get the best image resolution.

  • Alternating Image Design:

    This is the most similar to the bifocal and multifocal glasses currently available and uses the bottom portion of the lens for the near vision and the top portion o f the lens for the distance vision. The two parts of the alternating lens is separated by an almost invisible line that your eye care provider uses to determine if the lens is fitting properly.

What Vision Disorders can be Corrected by Bifocal & Multifocal Lenses?

The main vision disorder that multifocal and bifocal lenses are used for is presbyopia – a condition that happens as we age that affects our ability to focus on objects that are near. For instance, if tasks such as threading a needle or reading your favorite book have become nearly impossible without the help of reading glasses, then you are probably suffering from this condition. Your eye care provider can give a proper diagnosis as well as help you find the best treatment options.

For those who suffer from both astigmatism and presbyopia, you also have the option of using multifocal and bifocal lenses. For a long time these lenses were only available in gas permeable form, but are now available in some soft form lens types.

Are There Other Options for Bifocal & Multifocal Contacts?

There are other lens options that you can try if you find that your eyes are having difficulty adapting to multifocal and bifocal lenses. The most popular and cost effective is the monovision lens approach.
  • Monovision lenses:

    These will use your dominant eye for your distance vision and your non-dominant for near vision. Since each lens will only have one power, you can use a number of different types of contact lens like disposable, tinted, soft, gas permeable, etc. Please note – if you choose monovision lenses, you may experience less depth perception and you may find that you have to move your head position more often in order to see clearly.

How do I Buy Bifocal & Multifocal Lenses Online?

After an eye exam from your eye care provider, he or she will discuss with you the best option for bifocal and multifocal lenses. Once you have your contact lens prescription, you can visit us here at Vision Direct for the best prices on multifocal and bifocal contact lenses online.


Information on this site is provided for informational purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by your own eye care or other medical professional. Have your eyes examined regularly and always follow your eye care professional’s instructions for the proper use and care of your contact lenses. You should not use the information contained herein for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication. You should read carefully all product packaging. IF YOU ARE HAVING ANY UNEXPLAINED EYE DISCOMFORT, WATERING, VISION CHANGE OR REDNESS, REMOVE YOUR LENSES IMMEDIATELY AND CONSULT YOUR EYE CARE PROFESSIONAL BEFORE WEARING YOUR LENSES AGAIN.

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