Thursday, March 25, 2010

Bifocal And Multifocal Contact Lenses

Bifocal or multifocal contact lenses have come a long way in the last few years. The first attempts to make these products were not very good. They would work for some patients but this was the exception rather than the rule. Today, due to research and new product development, there are a multitude of designs from many different manufacturers. The lenses come in designs for both soft and rigid gas permeable polymers. I have had success with both the rigid and the soft products. In general, the vision can often be a little sharper with rigid gas permeable contact lens multifocals and bifocals than it is with soft lens bifocals and multifocals. While this does not universally apply, the reason it does frequently apply is due to the better optics provided by the rigid lens material.

Most of the fits that are performed today by doctors that fit these products are in the soft lens materials. Patients believe that rigid lenses are more difficult to wear and adjust to. While there is a little bit more adaptation with rigid lenses, the optics provided make the adaptation worth while for many patients. Once adapted, rigid lenses are very similar in comfort to soft lenses. I must say, however, that the soft lens products have improved significantly so that most patients find there vision to be satisfactory for most activities.

How do doctors determine which product is best for a patient? This is based upon the nature of the patient's prescription, the demands of the patient (how much and what type of close work the patient does), the work environment, the health of the eyes, the amount of moisture in the eyes, and the amount of time the patient wants to use the particular product.

The fitting of contact lenses, especially custom type products like bifocals and multifocals, has to be considered a process. This means that it often takes several types of lenses over a period of time to satisfy a patient's needs. Luckily, the contact lens manufacturers are aware of this and they will provide the doctor with diagnostic lenses to help the patient and the doctor to find the best lenses for the individual. Doctors charge a fitting fee to cover the cost of the time involved to find the best product for the individual patient. The fitting fee covers the time and effort required to evaluate the products and come up with the best options for the patient.

If you are interested in obtaining multifocal or bifocal contact lenses, make sure that you see a doctor that has lots of experience with the fitting of these products. They are more complicated and a positive outcome will be more likely achieved with an experienced eye doctor. If you have any questions, please contact me by email at

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