Q: I’m over 40 and can’t read in my contact lenses without reading glasses. Do I have other options?
A: There are a few options that allow presbyopic contact lens wearers to see both far and near without the need to use reading glasses. Presbyopia is the condition that causes a loss of near focusing; it typically begins to manifest in the early 40’s and progresses through the 50’s. The standard contact lens fit corrects both eyes to see clearly into the distance. This requires presbyopic patients to use magnifier, or ‘cheater,’ glasses in order to read up close. But there are other options:
Monovision. Monovision is a system by which we fit one contact lens to work for distance tasks and another to work for near tasks. The dominant eye usually will get the distance lens. As strange as this system may sound, it actually has a success rate better than 75%.
Modified Monovision. This system often works for those patients that did not adapt to monovision. The dominant eye is still corrected just for the distance, but the reading eye utilizes a multifocal contact lens. This allows the reading eye to see some distance details while also being able to see at near.
Multifocal Contact Lenses. Multifocal (or bifocal) contact lenses have combined optics that allow for some distance focusing and some near focusing. The vision obtainable with these contacts is generally not as good as single vision lenses because the usable optics of the lens is split between near and far prescriptions. They can be used quite effectively, however, particularly if the patient doesn’t need to see as sharply as possible.
As always, feel free to contact Riverbend Eyecare at 317-9747 with any questions.