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Bifocal Contact Lenses?

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Q: I am just wondering, as I  am so tired of foggy glasses and looking for my readers, do these new bifocal contacts really work? Tell me more about them, please.

A: After trying many contact lenses claiming to provide bifocal vision over the years, we too were skeptical about this new generation of lenses. But, it turns out that not only do we now have several designs of “multifocal” contacts, but we also have excellent designs to correct astigmatism also!

Unlike glasses, where the prescription changes from distance to near as you look down through your lenses, contacts are completely different. In fact, glasses are called “progressive” lenses while contacts are called “multifocal” lenses. The name reflects the different way in which your eyes can use the various prescriptions in the lenses. In glasses, the power to read “progressively” increases as you look downward. In contacts, the three powers in the lens are arranged in a “bulls eye” pattern, or concentric rings of different prescriptions. There are three focusing powers: near for your phone, intermediate for your computer or shopping, and distance for driving.

This design works, and works well, thanks to our very teachable brain. While we are looking through all three powers, our brain will “attend” to the part that gives us the clear image or what we want to see. You do not have to aim your eyes through a certain section of the lens to see, the brain will interpret your vision to make clear whatever you are trying to see!

This sounds like an unusual concept, but in reality, our brain does this all the time. If you are driving, the road before you is clear, and your brain tunes out the unfocused dashboard inside your car. If you are reading your phone in your hand, it will appear clear while your brain tunes out the other unclear things behind your phone. And for most patients, it takes from 2 to 5 days for your brain to fully learn how to use your new vision.

Lastly, we even now have multifocal lenses that correct astigmatism too. And since most people have some astigmatism, this makes for even sharper vision for most patients properly prescribed lenses. With so many people now choosing daily contacts to avoid nightly cleaning, it is especially good that we have multifocals In dailies also. This is often the most popular choice, as people can be free of glasses, yet see and read well, and have no lens care regimen to follow!

See your eye doctor soon and try a sample or diagnostic pair in your daily life for a week or so. You may be very pleasantly surprised.