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Multifocal Contact Lenses
Multifocal lenses are designed to correct vision problems caused by presbyopia, an age-related condition that can make focusing on objects at different distances difficult. They’re the equivalent of bifocal or varifocal glasses, but with the added convenience and clarity of a contact lens. It was once the case that developing presbyopia meant wearing glasses and contact lenses to compensate for changes in vision, but multifocal lenses provide the freedom to focus at all distances clearly with just one pair of lenses.
What are the Benefits of Multifocal Contact Lenses?
Multifocal lenses are made with varying prescriptions built into the one lens, helping the wearer to focus on objects that are close to them and off into the distance without the need for different lenses. These contacts are designed to help people with presbyopia which is a common vision problem that typically affects older people.
While the terms varifocal and multifocal are interchangeable and are the same type of lenses, multifocal is a more common term and refers to lenses with all factors of corrective capabilities for a more natural vision experience. Bifocal lenses, however, have a clear distinction between near and far prescriptions, compared the more fluid gradient of multifocal lenses. It’s important to remember that bifocal specifically refers to lenses with two prescriptive powers, whereas multifocals are lenses which can encompass more than one.
If you’re tired of switching between lenses and glasses in order to see clearly, multifocal lenses are the ideal solution. These types of lenses can be slightly more expensive than standard contacts, but they provide much more convenience and are easy to use. They also come in a choice of daily or monthly lenses, providing even more ease of use depending on how often you wear them. We stock a range of multifocal lenses from well-known brands including Proclear, Acuvue and Clariti.
What Causes Presbyopia?
Presbyopia is a common condition which usually impacts us as we age, most commonly in people over the age of 40. If you’ve ever found yourself or someone you know having to hold their phone, a magazine or a menu increasingly further away from them in order to read it, the likelihood is that they have presbyopia. Unfortunately, as objects get further away, they also become smaller, providing only a temporary solution to the problem. Presbyopia differs from issues such as astigmatism, myopia or hyperopia, as these are related to the shape of the eyeball itself rather than a loss of flexibility within the lens.
Unlike short or long-sightedness, presbyopia isn’t a refractive condition, but it is actually caused by the elasticity in the eye changing with age. In order to focus, the lens of the eye needs to relax and contract to changes in light – for a clear image of what is in front of you, your eye needs to pass light through the lens to the cornea and deflect it onto the retina. The retina then transfers this image to the brain so we can see what is in front of us. But with age, this is difficult for the muscles in the eye and they cannot contract as quickly, making it difficult to focus and see clearly. The impact is that light is no longer focused on the retina but behind it which is why images appear blurry and out of focus.
The condition affects the individual’s ability to focus on objects close-up and to adjust their sight for seeing things in the distance, making their vision blurred. For many people, one of the first signs that presbyopia is developing is the inability to read books or make out finer details on packaging or signs. In addition to vision problems and issues focusing on things, presbyopia can also cause headaches and eye strain. Presbyopia can be easily diagnosed through a routine eye test and can be treated with a specific prescription, ensuring the individual can see clearly and focus at varying ranges without any problem.
Choosing the Right Lenses
For correcting presbyopia, it’s important to follow the steps outlined by your optician as it is a condition that can worsen if it’s not handled properly. Ignoring the signs and avoiding eye tests will only lead to your vision becoming worse, leading to discomfort from straining to see things and even headaches in some cases. Multifocal lenses are the best solution as they make an otherwise annoying condition much easier to manage and are a convenient way of correcting your vision.
They come in a range of wearing patterns to suit the wearer, but there are a few factors to think about when choosing the right brand for you. For example, if you’re someone that only wears lenses on occasion then dailies are a better choice while someone who regularly wears lenses will prefer the more cost-effective monthly option. For a handy middle ground between dailies and monthlies, there are two-weekly disposable lenses which fresher and a more hygienic option than monthlies but are more cost-effective than standard daily lenses.
If you suffer with dry eyes, it’s important to find a brand that cites hydration as one of the key features of the lenses as this will make the contacts more comfortable to wear over long periods of time. Most opticians will recommend a silicone hydrogel lens for people with dry or irritated eyes as they retain more moisture and offer a more comfortable fit with better breathability than standard lenses.
Types of Multifocal Lenses
Multifocal lenses can be soft or rigid, also known as gas permeable lenses, and come in a range of options to suit different prescriptions and lifestyles. There are two varieties of multifocal lenses which correct different eye issues. Lenses which have a concentric ring design include your usual prescription in the centre and have multiple rings around the centre, each with a different corrective power based on the distance.
Aspheric multifocal lenses, however, blend the prescriptions directly in front of the pupil so the eye choses the correct power based on the object it is looking at. The eyes quickly become accustomed to these lenses and after a while of wearing them, you won’t notice them although they have a slightly longer period of adjustment for the wearer than concentric lenses.
Presbyopia and Astigmatism
Astigmatism is a refractive condition that is caused by an irregularity in the shape of the cornea. Typically, the cornea is a symmetrically round shape but for people with astigmatism, it is elongated, with one meridian significantly more curved than the other. Because of this shape, the eye cannot focus light properly and this can result in blurred or distorted vision. It can also make it difficult for people with astigmatism to find lenses that fit securely, as most lenses are designed for a standard rounded shape. Toric lenses create a more secure fit for the lens while also providing clearer vision.
For people who have been diagnosed with both presbyopia and astigmatism, there are multifocal toric lenses which combat both issues at once. These lenses have been specifically designed to provide varying degrees of corrective power while also providing plenty of hydration to the eyes and a comfortable, secure fit. The Proclear Multifocal Toric lenses offer a convenient solution to both of these vision issues and mean that people with both presbyopia and astigmatism aren’t having to worry about the hassle of multiple prescriptions and lenses.
Popular Multifocal Lenses
Biofinity Multifocal Lenses
The Biofinity multifocal lenses from CooperVision combine Aquaform Comfort Science Technology with Balance Progressive Technology for fantastic clarity and comfortable wear in a monthly lens. They can also be worn as extended wear lenses, if approved by your optician, for up to six nights and seven days of continuous wear even when sleeping.
Clariti 1 Day Multifocal
The Clariti multifocal lenses are made from silicone hydrogel with allows for greater breathability to keep the eyes healthy. They have an aspheric design and AquaGen technology that keeps the eyes moisturised throughout the day while also delivering brilliant clarity and crisp vision.
Proclear Multifocal Toric
Innovative and convenient, the Proclear lenses are designed for both presbyopia and astigmatism, correcting near and far vision and comfort. They have a unique PC Technology along with Balanced Progressive Technology for better eye healthy and up to 98% hydration even after 12 hours of wear.
Dailies Aqua Comfort Plus Multifocal
These multifocal lenses from Alcon/CIBA correct both distant and near vision in one convenient lens, with moisturising agents that include the innovative Blink Activated Moisture Technology. This helps the lenses to stay moisture for longer periods, providing a small amount of moisture every time the wearer blinks for all-day comfort.
Biotrue ONEday for Presbyopia
Specifically designed for presbyopia sufferers, these lenses fuse a bio-inspired HyperGel substance with a three-zone technology that delivers excellent clarity and hydration. The gel allows oxygen to pass through the lens to the eye and also mimics the water content of the cornea. These Biotrue lenses also have a useful handling tint that makes them easy to use, even for new lens wearers,