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Contact Lens Options for Presbyopia

Great spectacle options exist for those with presbyopia, including bifocals, progressive lenses with a no-line bifocal, trifocals, reading glasses, and more. However, those with presbyopia are no longer resigned to only glasses. There are several contact lens options available, and more are appearing on the market all the time.

Three categories of contact lens options exist for those with presbyopia:

  • Multifocal Contact Lenses
  • Monovision
  • Reading glasses as needed over distance contact lenses

Read more to find out which options may be right for you.

airoptixmfocalMultifocal contact lenses are the latest technology designed specifically for those with presbyopia. They allow for good depth perception with vision correction for all distances. There are several designs which can be chosen, but the principal is that there are portions of the lens correcting for distance vision, and other portions which correct for near. The placement and transitions of these portions allow for clear vision at all distances. These lenses take some getting used to and can require multiple visits to find the lenses best suited to your needs. However, most patients are very happy in their multifocal contact lenses.

For the Air Optix Multifocal Aqua lens pictured, near vision correction is in the center of the lens, while distance vision correction forms the outer ring.

Monovision is another good option for those with presbyopia. Before Multifocal lenses were on the market, this was the go-to contact lens situation for those in their mid-forties and above. Monovision uses single-vision lenses to correct one eye for distance and one eye for near. This will give very clear vision in most cases, but there is a loss of depth perception ranging from mild to severe depending on the amount of presbyopia and on the individual's ability to adapt, and some patients notice shadows at various viewing distances. This is a time-tested, good option for presbyopia.

Reading glasses for near work can be used over your normal contact lenses that are corrected for distance viewing. This option requires the least amount of adaptation and "fuss" with your current contact lenses. By correcting for distance vision with contact lenses, custom reading glasses are not needed. In most cases, you can get over-the-counter reading glasses to use when you need them. This will give very clear vision and good depth perception at all distances, but there is the obvious drawback of having to wear glasses at all. For patients who rarely do near work or want the clearest vision and good depth perception, this is a great option.