Contacts for Presbyopia
Presbyopia is a normal, age-related change in our eyes that reduces our ability to change focus and see things up-close. Though there is no "cure" for presbyopia, there are several options for presbyopic contact lens wearers:
- Use reading glasses over the contact lenses to help focus near objects. Though this means you have to lug around some reading glasses everywhere you go, it's the most popular solution, and it's effective.
- Have your eye doctor prescribe monovision contact lenses. Monovision is a fitting technique where one eye is prescribed a contact lens power that provides good distance vision, and the other eye is prescribed a lens for good near vision. Though it may sound odd, most people can adapt to monovision without any problems of dizziness, disequilibrium, or vision problems. Monovision is a compromise solution, however. Though you may see acceptably well for 80% to 90% of your everyday tasks, may still need reading glasses for small print, and perhaps some glasses for driving at night.
- Bifocal contact lenses (or "multi-focal"). Bifocal and multifocal contact lenses are available in both soft and rigid gas permeable ("RGP" or "GP") lens materials. These lenses are more expensive than regular (or "single vision") contacts, but offer the advantage of greater freedom from reading glasses. Fitting bifocal and multifocal contact lenses is also more difficult and time-consuming than fitting regular contacts, so expect to pay more for the fitting fee as well. Success rates for bifocal and multifocal contact lenses vary, but about 70% of people who try them are satisfied with their performance, which is similar to the success rate for monovision.