Presbyopia is the progressive deterioration of near vision, in populations starting in their early 40s. Changes in near vision remain dynamic due to changes in the eyes’ focusing muscles. Fine print becomes difficult to see, menus are hard to read, or the arms just aren’t long enough anymore to hold things far enough to see!
Many presbyopic patients are surprised to discover that multifocal contact lenses exist. In fact, there are many options available, with different designs in different add powers, that can address their unique visual demands.
There has been a large increase of multifocal fittings due to how active, and tech savvy presbyopic patients have become, who want to be independent of their glasses, as well as the new advancements in the multifocal contact lens markets. Presbyopes are projected to be the single largest group of potential contact lens wearers by 2018, making up 28% of all potential contact lens wearers.
Monovision (one eye corrected for distance, the other for near), may be a good option for some presbyopes, but it begins to fail as add power increases and depth perception is disturbed. The biggest advantage of soft multifocal lenses is that they work over a variety of focal ranges, whereas monovision only allows focus of two distinct focal lengths. A creative practitioner with a good understanding of the different lens designs can really help the success of patients who want to be more independent of their glasses.
So even for an active New Yorker who likes to comfortably read the Times, watch a broadway show, and then blog about it on the computer, it is likely that multifocal lenses are available to support this active lifestyle!
Written by Dr. Wynn Tran, OD