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What Are Multifocal Contact Lenses?

A close-up image of a young woman smiling with a contact lens on the tip of her finger.

Whether you’re reading a book, working at a computer, or driving, you need to see clearly. But sometimes, things aren’t always the easiest, and vision problems like myopia or presbyopia can quickly impair your vision. But there’s an answer—multifocal contact lenses.

Multifocal contact lenses offer a cutting-edge solution for people experiencing vision changes. These incorporate several prescriptions into one lens to treat all kinds of common eye conditions. Multifocal contact lenses are an excellent way to treat problems like presbyopia and myopia.

The Basics of Multifocal Contacts

Contact lenses are a wonderful alternative to traditional eyeglasses. They rest directly on your cornea and alter light as it enters your eye to give you clear vision. They’re convenient, comfortable, and extremely efficient.

However, they aren’t always perfect. Sometimes, certain conditions develop that can’t be fixed with a single prescription. Other times, the eye develops incorrectly, and it needs to be addressed sooner rather than later! This is when multifocal contacts come into play.

These are special contact lenses with multiple prescriptions built into one lens. This allows for clear vision at different distances—near, intermediate, and far.

Who Are Multifocal Contacts For?

Multifocal contact lenses are often recommended for presbyopia and myopia. Because there are several prescriptions in a single lens, these contacts are excellent for addressing more than one problem at once.

These lenses work by having concentric rings or zones that transition smoothly from one prescription to another. This design ensures that your eyes can focus on objects at varying distances without the hassle of switching glasses. It’s like having several pairs of contacts built into one convenient lens.

Multifocals for Presbyopia

Presbyopia is a common age-related condition where your eyes gradually lose the ability to focus on nearby objects. This typically develops around the age of 40 and makes it much more difficult to read, see a cell phone, knit, or do anything at close range.

However, it rarely affects your distance vision. This means that standard prescriptions can’t correct presbyopia without affecting other distances as well. With multifocal lenses, you can have your vision corrected for both nearby and distant vision, giving you a convenient alternative to reading glasses or bifocal spectacles.

Multifocals for Myopia Control

Myopia, or nearsightedness, is another condition that multifocal contacts can help manage. It develops in early childhood and continues progressing until early adulthood.

Special multifocal contact lenses can be used for myopia control. By building different prescriptions into one lens, signals can be sent through the eye and slow how far it grows. While one prescription controls myopia, the other helps provide clear vision.

So if your child has been diagnosed with myopia, multifocal contacts might be an option worth exploring.

What to Expect From Multifocal Contacts

With multifocal contact lenses, there’s going to be a small adjustment period. Because there are multiple prescriptions in each lens, you can’t use them universally for every distance—if you’re trying to look at something nearby using the distant-view prescription, you’re going to have blurry vision.

Over time, you’ll automatically learn how to use each zone for the necessary distance. For the most part, you use:

  • The lower zone for nearby tasks such as reading, writing, or drawing
  • The middle zone for intermediate tasks like working on a computer, cooking, or looking at objects a few feet away
  • The upper zone for distant tasks such as driving, watching movies, or spotting landmarks while on a hike

By understanding the purpose of each zone, you can make the most of your multifocal contacts. With a little patience and practice, adjusting to these lenses will eventually become second nature—and you can continue enjoying your favorite activities with clear, comfortable vision.

A happy middle-aged couple laughing at their computer in their home.

Tips for Adjusting to Your Multifocal Contact Lenses

When you’re adjusting to your new multifocals, patience is key. It helps to:

  • Give it time. Give yourself a few days or weeks to fully adjust to your new lenses.
  • Be consistent. Try not to switch to other lenses unless absolutely necessary.
  • Practice switching focus. Actively take time every day to engage in activities that require focus at different distances, strengthening the muscles in your eye.
  • Work in well-lit areas: Make sure you have proper lighting to make things easier on your eyes.

If you’re worried at any point about your vision, talk to your optometrist. They can give you personalized advice about adjusting to your new lenses. Soon, you’ll be using them like a professional.

Do You Need Multifocals?

If you think multifocal contact lenses could help you, contact our team at Eyes on Plainville. Whether you’re looking for a solution to your child’s myopia control or trying to deal with presbyopia, we can help. Book an appointment with us today to take the first step towards clearer vision!

Dr. Sabrina Gaan

Written by Dr. Sabrina Gaan

Dr. Sabrina Gaan is the owner of Eyes on Plainville in Plainville, Massachusetts. She has a particular interest in myopia control and dry eye.

She obtained her bachelor’s degree in Biology from San Jose State University while earning her license as a dispensing optician. She decided to move to MA after her VA rotation in Jamaica Plain.

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