A Complete Guide to Multifocal and Bifocal Contacts

Simple Contacts

Are Bifocal and Multifocal Contacts Different?

Bifocal contacts, just like bifocal eyeglasses, have two “zones” on the lens with different prescription strengths.  This crisp vision whether looking near or far. 

Multifocal lenses can have additional zones on the lens, smoothing out your eyes transition through intermediate distances.

Who Benefits from Multifocal and Bifocal Contact Lenses?

Whether you have always needed vision correction or if you are experiencing age-induced blurriness, multifocal and bifocal contacts could be of service to you. 

These lenses are most often helpful for these three conditions below.  For each, blurriness is experienced to different degrees at different distances, meaning that a one size fits all prescription will be less effective than a multifocal lens.

Myopia (nearsightedness) – The eye needs to have a perfect shape in order to properly focus light.  Myopia is when the eyeball is just a little too long, so it struggles to focus on distant objects.  Close objects remain clear.

Hyperopia (farsightedness) – If the eyeball is a little too short, then it may struggle to focus on closeup objects.  In this case, distant objects remain clear.

Presbyopia – As a person ages, the eye lens becomes less flexible.  The result is that closeup objects become difficult to see (similar to hyperopia).  However, objects held at arm’s length can usually still be seen with some clarity.

Our guide to presbyopia can further clarify the distinctions between these eye conditions.

How do Multifocal and Bifocal Contact Lenses Work?

Multifocal and bifocal contacts operate like two or more lenses that have been combined into one.  There are two broad families of design:

Segmented – Most resembling eyeglasses, segmented contacts have a line across the lens dividing it into sections, usually two.  Each section corrects for a certain distance, near, far, or in-between.

Simultaneous vision – Specific to contact lenses, this design radiates out in a circular pattern from the center of your lens (like ripples in a pond).  The center of the lens will be one distance, usually distance vision.  Looking closer to the edge of the lens will allow for near vision.

There are two subcategories of simultaneous vision contacts, Concentric and Aspheric.  Both lenses have pros and cons and requires a short adjustment period for your eye to learn how to operate them.

A concentric lens will have defined rings of either near or far vision built into the lens.  Aspheric, on the other hand, gradually transitions from one prescription strength to the other as your eye moves across the lens.

What Types of Bifocal and Multifocal Lenses are Available?

Contacts generally come in three different varieties, referring to how long they can be worn before you dispose of them: dailies, weeklies, and monthlies.  Bifocals and multifocals come in all three varieties.

There are many great brands out there, but here are three of our suggestions:

1-Day Acuvue Moist Multifocal (Daily Lens)

30 Pack for $36

This Johnson and Johnson product avoids the hassle of a nightly cleaning ritual.  Like other daily disposables, 1-Day Acuvue Moist Multifocals tend to be more comfortable and convenient than longer lived lenses.

Acuvue Oasys for Presbyopia (Weekly Lens)

6 Lenses for $39.20

Designed specifically for age-induced refractive errors, Acuvue Oasys for Presbyopia can last for up to one or two weeks.  This means you can switch to a fresh lens more frequently than monthlies, but they tend to be a little less expensive than dailies.

Biofinity Multifocal (Monthly Lens)

6 Lenses for $52.80

Utilizing a concentric circle design called Balanced Progressive Technology, Biofinity Multifocals last a whole month before needing replaced.  These lenses combine a reliable brand with cost effective durability.

For more details on how to acquire your multifocal or bifocal lenses online, our guide for buying contacts online will help you avoid common pitfalls while saving money.

Ready to buy your contacts online? Take advantage of Simple Contact's 20% discount on your first order.

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