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Multifocal Contact Lenses

Once we reach our mid-40's, the normal age related loss of flexibility of the lens inside our eye makes it difficult for us to focus on near objects. This age related change is called presbyopia.  In the past, reading glasses were the only option available to contact lens wearers who wanted to read a menu or do other everyday tasks that require good near vision. 

With all the technological advancements in contact lenses, reading glasses is no longer the only solution.  A number of multifocal contact lens options are available for you to consider. Multifocal contact lenses offer the convenience of not having to use eyeglasses to achieve good near, middle, and distance vision.

Types of Multifocal Contact Lenses

Some multifocal contact lenses have a bifocal design with two distinct lens powers, one for your distance vision and one for your near vision. Others have a multifocal design, similar to a progressive eyeglass lens, with a gradual change in lens power for a natural visual transition from distance to middle to close-up.

Multifocal contacts are available in both soft and rigid gas permeable (RGP) lens materials.  Some soft multifocal lenses can be comfortably worn on a part-time basis.  This option is great for weekends and other special occasions if you prefer not to wear them on an every day schedule.

If you are looking for pure simplicity, one-day disposable soft multifocal lenses allow you to discard the lenses at the end of a single day of wear.  Thus, allowing for the convenience of no hassle with lens care.

In some cases, RGP multifocal contact lenses provide sharper vision than soft multifocals.  With their rigid nature, RGP multifocal contact lenses do require an adaptation time to wearing them. 

Hybrid multifocal contacts are an exciting new alternative. These lenses have a RGP center, allowing for sharp vision, and a soft periphery, allowing for good comfort.

Astigmatism? No problem.

All types of multifocal contact lenses whether they be soft, RGP, or hybrid, are available to correct astigmatism at the same time as correcting for presbyopia.


Until you have a contact lens fitting, there is no way to know for sure if you will be able to successfully adapt to wearing multifocal contact lenses. If multifocal lenses are not comfortable or do not give you adequate vision, a monovision contact lens fitting may be a good alternative.

Monovision uses your dominant eye for the distance vision and the non-dominant eye for the near vision.  Your eye care professional will perform testing to determine which is your dominant eye.

Usually, single vision contact lenses are used for monovision.  In some cases, better results can be achieved using a single vision lens on the dominant eye for distance vision and a multifocal lens on the other eye for middle and near vision.  In other cases, you may be fit with a distance biased multifocal on your dominant eye, and a near biased multifocal on the other eye. These fitting techniques are referred to as "modified monovision". 

To find out if you are a candidate for multifocal contact lenses and would like to schedule an appointment, please call our office at 512-255-7070.