Multifocal Contact Lenses

Written by Dr. Matthew Tran

Multifocal contact lenses are a great alternative to bifocal or progressive glasses. They incorporate many prescriptions into a small soft contact lens so that the wearer is able to see multiple distances: distance, near (phone/books), and intermediate (computer). The most common use of multifocal lenses is for people with presbyopia also known as age-related farsightedness (inability to read up close).


When should a person consider a multifocal contact lens? As with everything in the body, there is also a normal age-related decline within the eyes. Eventually this will happen to everybody where the natural crystalline lens in the eye will lose its flexibility and a person will lose the ability to read up close. With these multifocal contact lenses, a person will be able to still see far and near without the need for glasses.


How do they work? Specific manufacturers will have their own proprietary lens design, but in essence, they work with the natural function of the pupils: dilation and constriction. In our eyes, the pupils will dilate when we look at something far away, and constrict when we are looking at something up close. Using this information, multifocal contact lenses were constructed to have a different prescription dependent on pupil size. 


With such an intricate design, there may be an adaptation period to the lenses where the brain needs time to get used to adjusting to those different zones. Follow ups with your optometrist may be necessary to tailor your prescription to your everyday life. 


How does a person know that multifocal contact lenses are right for them? There are many brands of multifocal contact lenses out there. To find out which is best for you, book a contact lens eye exam with us at Los Altos Optometric Group.

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