Bifocal contact lenses are designed to provide good vision to patients who have a condition called presbyobia.

The main sign that you're developing presbyopia is that you need to hold menus, newspapers and other reading material farther from your eyes in order to see it clearly.

Bifocal contact lenses come in both soft materials and rigid gas permeable (GP) materials. Some can be worn on a disposable basis.

Bifocal Contacts, Multifocal Contacts

What's the Difference?

Bifocal contacts lenses have two prescriptions in the same lens. Multifocal contact lenses have a range of powers (similar to progressive spectacle lenses) in each lens. "Multifocal" is also used as a catch-all term for all contact lenses with more than one power, including bifocals.

How Multifocal Contact Lenses Work

Bifocal and multifocal contact lenses work in several different ways, depending on the design of the lens. The designs fall into two basic groups:

"Alternating vision" (translating) lenses are so named because your pupil alternates between the two powers, as your gaze shifts upward or downward. Simultaneous vision lenses require your eye to be looking through both distance and near powers at the same time. Although this might sound unworkable, your visual system learns to select the correct power choice depending on how close or far you're trying to see. Simultaneous vision lenses come in two types:

  • Concentric ring designs
  • Aspheric designs


All About Vision. Bifocal Contact Lenses. 9 July 2009.

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