Multifocal Contact Lenses

Multifocal contact lenses are available for many middle aged people who have sight problems beyond the standard vision conditions that possess many young individuals. There is no doubt that today's generation of forty and above Americans love to be more active than their parents used to be and so eyeglasses are often a hindrance to this high powered active lifestyle. But the aging process never changes and for many of the over forty crowd, presbyopia begins to raise its ugly head. This word means old age, and describes basically the need for bifocal lens eyeglasses that so many have worn for decades. The condition is caused, most experts think, by loss of tone in the muscles that surround the eye and cause it to become misshapen enough to cause the poor ability to focus on objects close up. While bifocal lenses have been the curative for this problem for decades, there has become a stigma for the type that clearly define the bottom lenses used for reading. So stigmatized were these defined bifocals with older age that modern lenses that simply melted the two together became fashionable, but yet that was not enough for those seeking eternal youth.

The term multifocal contact lenses is really a phrase that means all contact lenses that have more than one power of vision aid. These differing power lenses fall into two categories: alternating vision and simultaneous vision. The alternating lenses work just like regular bifocal eyeglasses; that is to say, when the eye looks up one can see objects far away clearly, and when the gaze is focused downward objects close at hand can also be viewed clearly. The simultaneous types of multifocal contact lenses combine both near and far correcting abilities throughout the correcting lens. Instead of the eye moving up and down switching from prescription to prescription, the visual system of the person employing the lens must actually learn how to select the correct power of the combined lens.

The alternating types of multifocal contact lenses are technically called translating and they are only available in hard contacts, although they are gas permeable. They are in direct contrast to soft contacts, but they are not made with hard plastic, but rather silicon. They are markedly smaller than soft contacts and are removed nightly. They are a far cry from the contacts of the 60's and 70's that were made from Plexiglas, but they still take some getting used to, one of the decidedly strong reasons many prefer softer contacts. The gas permeable type of lens does offer sharper vision than the soft type and when one blinks there is not often the need to refocus nearly as much as with the softer type. While non translating contacts actually rotate on the eye, the gas permeable lens with two different power zones remain in place, thanks to an area of unequal thickness in the lens called a prism ballast. This allows the multifocal contact lenses to remain in a position where gazing up or down for vision correction is still possible.

The simultaneous type of lens is available in both the gas permeable type and in the much softer and larger lens. You can think of simultaneous lenses as two prescriptions put in a blender and mixed together and the user's eye must be trained to tell the two apart, and may take several weeks of wearing before the training is complete. These multifocal contact lenses seek to correct particular odd points on the eye provide a natural vision experience. They are best used for intermediate range projects such as working with computers all day long. Many people do not understand how Christians can put so much faith in things that cannot be seen or touched. Moses too, endured formidable suffering in order to obey God, but Moses had spiritual sight that others did not. "By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured as seeing him who is invisible." (Hebrews 11:27)

The kind of multifocal contact lenses that you choose will depend on what kind of activities you do on a regular basis. If one is involved in sports or in another activity where instant focus after one blinks is required, it may be more advisable to think about gas permeable lenses. If the wearer candidate wants instant comfort gratification then softer contacts with the simultaneous options will be the better choice. Of course both kinds can be colored to match your eyes or you can change colors to be more exotic. Will the vision you have with your contacts be as good as with bifocal eyeglasses? Probably not, so it's important to carve out realistic expectations before investing in them.

Much of the success with wearing multifocal contact lenses will be the fit of them on your eyes at the outset. That means that your choice of examiner will be very important. There are licensed examiners at most optical stores, but many of them may not possess the kind of experience at measuring and fitting that others do. Ask around and get the names of ophthalmologists and optometrists that friends have used, and go to the ones that have good reputations. Your money for the actual contacts may be refunded in some cases if the experiment in wearing them doesn't work out, but the fees for the examination probably will not be refundable. Wearing contacts isn't for everybody, so don't get discouraged if the attempt doesn't pan out as hoped.

Bifocal Contact Lenses

Bifocal contact lenses are a fairly new innovation giving those with the need for two vision prescriptions the opportunity to do away with eyeglasses. Twenty years ago, those needing two prescriptions had to settle for eye glass lenses that had that horrid two lens division, which for many spelled out the fact that someone was "over the hill." It was at least as telling as the person that had to wear the half eye glasses frame but then came the miracle of the combined eyeglass lens. No more could anyone tell that someone was over the hill by their eye glasses. Now all they could do is just decide that was true by their hair color! Such a relief to have the horrid divided lens gone forever. Really, who could think that gray hair meant someone was aging?

But then even the person who once needed bifocals could now look twenty years younger with bifocal contact lenses. At least that is what the ads said for them and who can argue with advertisements? With the advancements in lens manufacturing, the ability to carve a small zone of gas permeable plastic has created the opportunity to dump those forever slipping down the nose frames. There is no longer wandering around the house looking for the place those glasses were laid, now a person can get on their hands and knees and search for that little thing no bigger than a dime and blends into any background. Life does get better with bifocal contact lenses. Our hope is always that life will get a little better with that new car, those new contacts, that new digital TV or that automatic coffeemaker, but sadly, they usually lose their aura after the honeymoon. Jesus Christ makes this promise: "...I am come that they may have life and that they might have it more abundantly." (John 10:10b)

So you have made the decision to go and get bifocal contact lenses, and the next choice is to settle on the doctor who will do the examination. The choice will be between an optometrist and an ophthalmologist. An optometrist is a doctor who has had four years of training beyond a college degree. He or she is licensed to diagnose vision problems and can prescribe eyeglasses and contact lenses and test for things such as glaucoma and other diseases and are permitted to administer drugs in the pursuit of a diagnosis of eye diseases. An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor who has specialized in the treatment of all eye issues and most do surgery at least occasionally with such procedures as LASIK. It is possible that an exam may be more expensive with an ophthalmologist, but this is not written in stone and in almost all cases, exams for bifocal contact lenses will cost more than exams for glasses alone. And most of the exams that a person receives as part of getting bifocal contact lenses will be performed by both doctors.

Standard tests will first be given to discover one's level of myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism and perhaps presbyopia. Those medical terms, meaning nearsightedness, farsightedness, all over blurry vision and vision problems caused by aging will be evaluated and then a decision will be made as to whether or not bifocal contact lenses will be effective with the patient's prescription. There may be some prescriptions that do not respond well to these kinds of contact lenses, but it is rare that these situations would arise. In fact, even those who wear trifocals can be prescribed vision correction in the form of contacts. But there is one option to wearing bifocal contacts for many persons.

Some patients may react more positively to what is called monovision than to both eyes wearing bifocal contact lenses. Oftentimes it takes a longer period of time for the wearer of contacts that are bifocals to adjust to the different powers on the lens. For people who have presbyopia, the answer may be two differing contacts; one eye for farsightedness and the other one for myopia. The distance vision contact is usually worn in the dominant eye. And while most bifocals in the form of contacts are more efficient in the gas permeable form, myopia lenses can be effective in the softer silicon type, even the ones that are disposable. Some people find this monovision set up as a comfortable alternative to the bifocal form of contacts but some people may find that depth perception is negatively affected and others may have to turn their head more often to get a comfortable view of certain objects.

It may be that some people may have a permanent alternative to contacts that are designed for those that need bifocals. For some forms of presbyopia, that is age related vision problems, there may be a form of LASIK monovision surgery that can address those issues. But a consultation with a LASIK surgeon will be important in order to make a correct diagnosis for one's candidacy for LASIK. In the late 1700's Benjamin Franklin put together the first pair of bifocals in the form of eyeglasses and began a revolution in vision correction. Today he would be amazed at the incredible soft discs that can go on the eye and correct the vision that so often drove him crazy in the years before his genius found an answer. We live in a pretty amazing time in history.

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