As you age, it is very typical for your close-up vision to decline in clarity. This is called presbyopia. If you already have refractive challenges (you need corrective lenses), this age-related deterioration has traditionally required bifocal glasses or the addition of reading glasses to your collection of corrective lenses. Bifocal contact lenses have been around for a while, but have only recently become a common choice.
There are several different types of bifocal contact lenses, and it may take you and your vision specialist some time and experimentation to find the best fit for your unique situation.
Different types of bifocal contact lens materials include:
- Soft lenses made of hydrogel– Typically more comfortable
- Rigid, gas permeable lenses– Provide a clearer vision correction
- Hybrid lenses – May be the best of both worlds. They have a central rigid zone that is surrounded by hydrogel for comfort.
- Lenses constructed with silicone hydrogel– Allow increased oxygen to reach the eye’s cornea. They may be more comfortable and can be worn for longer periods of time.
There are two main types of bifocal contact lenses. Some have alternating vision fields. When you wear these lenses, your pupil can switch between the two powers as it looks up and down in your field of vision. Other lenses use simultaneous vision fields. Your visual system learns to look through areas for near vision and distance vision at the same time, but you’re able to pick the appropriate power for what you are trying to see at the time.
Bifocal contact lenses seem almost like science fiction, but with new technological advances and a wider variety of designs to try, you are more likely to be able to find something that works well for your needs.