Multifocal & Progressive Contact Lenses

There are a number of contact lens options available for people with refractive errors, or those experiencing age-related vision decline, also known as presbyopia. Multifocal contact lenses and bifocal contact lenses are both designed to help you see clearly at all distances, so you can go about your day without having to carry around different eyeglasses. Learn more about how multifocal and bifocal contact lenses work below and how your neighborhood Pearle Vision can help get you the right prescription for your eyes.

Multifocal Contacts vs. Bifocal Contacts

If you’re considering wearing contact lenses for the first time, you may be wondering “bifocal or multifocal contact lenses, what’s the difference?” Bifocal contact lenses have two prescriptions in the same lens, one for distance viewing and another for near viewing. Multifocal contact lenses have a range of powers for seeing clearly near, far, and intermediately. Both types of contact lenses are available in soft and rigid gas permeable materials. You can also purchase either on a disposable basis, for daily or monthly use.

Types of Multifocal and Bifocal Contact Lenses

Bifocal and multifocal contact lenses fall under a few basic designs, which include:

Simultaneous Vision Lenses

Different zones of the lens are used for far, near, and intermediate vision, depending on the object being used. While this may seem like a difficult adjustment, eventually your eyes learn which part of the lens to focus on and which to ignore. This type of contact mostly comes in a soft lens and can be found in two designs:

  • Concentric Multifocal Contact Lenses: This design typically has a central viewing zone for distant objects, surrounded by concentric rings of near and distance powers.
  • Aspheric Multifocal Contact Lenses: This design features the distance power in the center and gradually changes to near vision as the eyes move near the bottom of the lens.

Segmented Lenses

Segmented multifocal contact lenses are made of rigid gas permeable material and are designed similarly to bifocal lenses. The top part of the lens has the distance power and the bottom is designated for near vision. When you look up you’ll be able to clearly see distance objects, and when you look down you’ll have clearer vision for reading.

Progressive Contact Lenses

Traditionally, bifocal and multifocal contact lenses have visible lines that separate the different prescriptions. Progressive lenses are an updated design without any visible lines – providing a seamless look. Using progressive contact lenses can feel more natural than traditional bifocals or multifocal lenses because your eyes can make a natural transition from near to far distance viewing.

Bifocal Contacts for Astigmatism

In the past, people who wore contacts for astigmatism had to switch to eyeglasses when they began experiencing symptoms of presbyopia. However, there are now bifocal contacts for astigmatism and presbyopia, called toric multifocal lenses. Toric multifocal lenses provide people with both conditions clear vision at all distances.

Schedule an Eye Exam

As your eyes begin to age, it’s normal to experience a decline in your vision. Signs such as blurry vision or difficulty focusing on reading material without squinting can indicate it’s time for eyeglasses or contact lenses. If you’re over the age of 40 and experiencing signs of presbyopia, or are having trouble seeing at certain distances, make an appointment at your neighborhood Pearle Vision today to have your eyes examined and determine whether you could benefit from a contact lens prescription.

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