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Eyes Everywhere: Pros and Cons of Multifocal Contact Lense

Eyes Everywhere: Pros and Cons of Multifocal Contact Lense

, by nanmoon, 12 min reading time

Refractive problems are common. Multifocal lenses may help you if your presbyopia is accompanied by more than one refractive problem, most commonly myopia and astigmatism. The location of the power on the contact lens determines the way your pupil will adjust to different distances. There are many types of multifocal lenses, including Bifocals. However, there may be others that are better for you. There are many reasons to use multifocal lenses. However, there are also some drawbacks. The price can also be a consideration. Working with your eye doctor is the best way to determine whether multifocal lenses are right for you.

Multifocal Contact Lenses Correct Multiple Refractive Errors

contact lenses rest on your cornea to correct a refractive mistake. You may be suffering from myopia, astigmatism or hyperopia.

Most people have more then one refractive mistake. Myopia and astigmatism are common together, for example. Soft contact lenses are the most popular device for treating refractive error.

You are more likely to develop refractive errors as you age. People in their middle or later adulthood are more likely to suffer from myopia, astigmatism, and presbyopia. This means that you will often wear contacts to correct the refractive errors you already have and then reading glasses for close-up work. If you want to correct your refractive error consistently, then an optometrist might recommend multifocal or bifocal lenses. You may decide to stop wearing glasses and stick to contact lenses.

Multi-focal lenses let you see at near, middle, and distant distances. This allows for better visual acuity, and reduces the need to wear reading glasses and contacts simultaneously. These lenses are not suitable for everyone but can be helpful to some people with more than one refractive mistake.

How do multifocal contact lenses work?

Multifocal lenses are any contact lenses that have two or more prescriptions or "powers". Most people are familiar with bifocal lenses. However, there are also other multifocal lens types, such as trifocals or progressive lenses.

Multifocal lenses allow you to switch between different activities. You can, for example, use your phone's GPS while you're stopped and read road signs when you're driving.

Multifocal lenses have different sections for different prescription strengths. Bifocal glasses lenses have two sections: one for the dominant refractive error (like myopia) and another for presbyopia. There are clear divisions. Bifocal lenses can sometimes function the same.

Many people want smoother transitions, especially when they wear glasses or contacts with more than two powers. New types of multifocal contact lenses and glasses were developed. These include:

  • Segmented lenses are similar to traditional bifocal and trifocal glasses. They have clearly defined focus areas.
  • The transitions are seamless.
  • These lenses have rings that correct vision rather than sections. They can be more comfortable for those who wear contact lenses.

The majority of people who wear contacts use soft lenses. However, if you suffer from a specific eye condition, you can ask for hard multifocal contact lenses. They are not commonly used. Soft contacts are recommended by most optometrists, ophthalmologists and other eye doctors because they provide better oxygen flow to your cornea.

There are options for monthly lenses and daily lenses. Your doctor may recommend that you only wear your contact lenses 16 hours a day, and then dispose of them at the end of the month.

Types Multifocal Lenses

There are many different types of multifocal lenses, each one designed to meet specific visual needs. The different types of multifocal contact lenses are listed below:


They are used to correct both myopia and presbyopia. These lenses allow users to switch between near and distant distances without having to change lenses.


They are trifocal contacts, which have three prescription powers. These lenses are designed for people who need near, intermediate and far vision correction.


Progressive contacts (also known as "no line bifocals") offer a smooth transition from one prescription power to another. They do not have visible lines separating different sections, unlike bifocals and trifocals. This seamless transition allows a more natural correction of vision and adaption to different distances.


Segmented contact lenses are similar to traditional bifocal and trifocal glasses. They have clearly defined focus zones. These contacts are ideal for people who want to have different zones for their vision needs.

Multifocal contact lenses vs. Bifocal Contact Lenses

Bifocal contact lenses are a form of multifocal lens, but for some people they work better than other multifocals. You may have specific reasons for choosing bifocals, or other multifocal lens types.

  • Bifocals can be useful if you have recently developed presbyopia but you've worn contacts to correct a refractive error such as myopia or astigmatism throughout your life. If you are used to wearing contact lenses, but need more than one power for better vision clarity, bifocals may be the right choice.
  • Multifocals are very common among older adults. Bifocals may not be enough to correct your vision if you have more than 2 refractive errors. You can also get concentric multifocal or progressive multifocal lenses to adjust your vision quickly and easily.

If you suffer from chronic dry eyes, contact lenses may not be for you. It is common for people to have dry eyes after wearing contact lenses. The condition gets worse as people age. Your eyesight may improve if you use multifocal or trifocal lenses instead of contact lenses.

Speak to your optometrist regarding multifocal or bifocal lenses. For either type, you will require a special fitting. Your optometrist and ophthalmologist will discuss your daily habits. This information will be used to determine the frequency with which you should change your lens power.

The size of the pupil is a concern with multifocals, but not for single-power or bifocals. Multifocals are usually concentric, which means that the power of the lenses radiates outwards from the center to the edges. These lenses have to be within the range of adjustment for the contact lens pupil, but the contacts can move around in the eye, making them appear off-center. It is especially important to adjust the pupil's response to sudden changes in light, such as moving from bright sunlight into a darkened room.

The eye may feel uncomfortable if the lens is shifted too far. Your optometrist, or ophthalmologist should take these factors into consideration when fitting you with multifocal contact lenses. Expect to experience an adjustment period as well before you can fully evaluate how these lenses will work for you.

Pros & cons of wearing multifocal contact lenses


The availability of a wide range of options for visual correction allows more people to achieve the best possible visual clarity. Wearing multifocal contact lenses has many benefits, but also some drawbacks.


You are a candidate for multifocals if you enjoy wearing contact lenses but don't want to deal with the weight of glasses or their poor peripheral vision.
You can also be a candidate for multifocals if you have healthy eyes. Your optometrist will measure this.
 You can try multifocal lenses even if you have an astigmatism greater than 1 diopter. You may need to spend some time getting used to them.

Multifocals are useful if you frequently switch between different ranges of sight throughout the day.


Contact lenses, of any kind, can cause discomfort to older adults and middle-aged people. Multifocal lenses are included. Wearing glasses may be more beneficial to your eye health.

Even if you wear contacts lenses regularly, the adjustment period may take some time. It may take some time to get your brain used to the different powers of these lenses. You might first try reading glasses or multifocal lenses, then switch to multifocal contacts once you understand the basics of switching between powers.

Patients who are considering multifocal lenses should be informed that they won't get perfect vision. These lenses will not give them 20/20 vision.

When they focus, they get better visual clarity from different distances. Other objects may appear blurry. When you are reading, your eyes use close-up vision. It can take some time for them to focus again when you look into the distance. Some people find this frustrating.

Popular Multifocal Lens Brands

There are many different companies who make multifocal lenses. Manufacturers include:

  • Acuvue
  • Clariti
  • Bausch & Lomb
  • Biofinity
  • Proclear

These companies offer multifocal lenses in different sizes and types.

Cost Multifocal Contact Lenses

Because they must correct several vision problems simultaneously, multifocal lenses are more expensive . A year's supply will cost between $300 and $500.

The price you pay will depend on:

  • Brands you choose
  • If you have additional eye conditions such as astigmatism
  • You can buy your lenses in 30-day, 90-day, or weekly boxes.

Some retailers offer a discount to customers who "subscribe" to their products. This usually involves an automatic order that you can opt out of, rather than having you reorder yourself.

Some of the costs may be covered by certain employee benefits, such as your HSA (health saving account) or FSA.

Alternatives to Multifocal contact lenses

You're not sure if you really want multifocal lenses? You can also try these alternatives:

  • Multi-focal glasses
  • Surgery like LASIK and reading glasses.
  • Two different pairs of glasses are recommended (one for distance and another for close-up activities and reading).
  • Some people find it easier to use golf multifocals, lenses with the close vision section higher or lower in comparison to typical multifocals.

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