Bifocal Contact Lenses
Contact lenses are thin discs that are placed onto the surface of the eye to provide correction for patients with various vision problems. Bifocal contact lenses essentially offer two different prescriptions in a single lens. One prescription corrects the patient’s distance vision, while the other corrects near vision that allows for viewing objects up close.
Bifocal lenses are often recommended for patients over the age of 40 who have been diagnosed with presbyopia, the gradual loss of the eye’s ability to focus on objects that are nearby. In other cases, bifocal contact lenses are helpful if the patient has astigmatism, which occurs when there is an irregularity in the shape of the cornea. Due to many recent advantages in optical technology, almost any patient can now wear contact lenses, regardless of their vision issues. All types of contact lenses require a prescription and, if necessary, can be custom-made to meet the needs of the individual patient.
Considerations of Wearing Bifocal Contact Lenses
Not every patient will benefit from wearing bifocal contact lenses. Some patients may have a hard time adjusting to different areas of the lenses providing correction for near and distance vision, or experience problems with glare at night. Additionally, because bifocal contact lenses are more complex, they require a longer fitting process and are usually more expensive than single-vision contact lenses.
Bifocal Soft Contact Lenses
Bifocal soft contact lenses are larger in diameter than rigid gas bifocal lenses and tuck under the eyelids, so that wearers do not feel the edges of the lens when they blink. Bifocal soft lenses are often preferred by patients, since they are comfortable and do not require an adjustment period. The most common type of bifocal soft lenses are known as concentric lenses, which provide correction for distance vision in the center of the lens, and correction for near vision issues in a ring surrounding the center of the lens. Each bifocal soft lens is customized to the patient’s needs, and they are available in colored and disposable varieties.
Bifocal Rigid Gas Permeable Contact Lenses
Bifocal rigid gas permeable contact lenses are typically recommended for patients who have a greater degree of astigmatism. Bifocal rigid gas permeable lenses are smaller in size than soft lenses, and sit on the eye just above the lower lid. As their name implies, these lenses are also much more rigid, and the patient may need time to adjust to wearing the lenses.
Bifocal rigid gas permeable contact lenses offer several advantages over soft contact lenses, including a greater degree of durability and providing the wearer with sharper, clearer vision. They are also less prone to tearing and bacterial build-up than soft contact lenses. Bifocal rigid gas permeable lenses, however, are more likely than soft lenses to slip off the center of the eye and require frequent adjustment, making them an inconvenient option for patients who play sports or participate in other active pursuits.
Bifocal Toric Contact Lenses
Bifocal toric contact lenses are durable lenses that can be made from either soft or rigid gas permeable materials. They are usually recommended for patients with astigmatism, who often find it difficult to achieve clear vision by wearing soft contact lenses because of the elongated shape of their corneas. Bifocal toric lenses typically require a longer time for a fitting than regular soft contact lenses, and will entail extra care to stay in place on the eye.
Bifocal toric contact lenses contain two corrective powers, one to treat the astigmatism and the other to correct either myopia (nearsightedness) or hyperopia (farsightedness). The lenses help maximize vision and accommodate the astigmatism. Bifocal toric contact lenses are available in a variety of forms including daily, weekly and monthly disposables, as well as with colored options.