What are multifocal contact lenses?
Multifocal contact lenses, or varifocal contact lenses, have been designed to correct the visual issue of presbyopia. They blend together two or more prescriptions to allow your eyes the ability to focus on objects at all distances, giving you the freedom from wearing varifocal glasses. Multifocal contact lenses are also known as ‘varifocal contact lenses’ or ‘progressive contact lenses.’
What is presbyopia?
Presbyopia is a common refractive error, and typically becomes a problem as we get older. It most commonly starts to appear when an individual reaches the age of 40 and is the most common form of near sight vision loss.
Presbyopia greatly reduces the eye’s ability to focus on close-up objects, hence one of the first and most common symptoms of the condition is difficulty while reading, or making out small details. Vision often becomes blurry and people find they must squint or alter the distance of the object/book they are looking at.
Presbyopia occurs when the lens of the eye becomes hard, causing the eye to focus light behind, rather than directly on the retina when looking at close objects. Some people are surprised when they develop presbyopia having never had an eye condition before, but a previous eye condition or lack thereof, is not a precursor for presbyopia.
Thankfully, presbyopia can be easily diagnosed with a simple eye test and just as easily treated with a specific type of prescription. This is done using multifocal or varifocal contact lenses.
You can learn about presbyopia in more detail in our Eye Care Hub.
What are the differences between bifocal and multifocal/varifocal contact lenses?
The differences between the two types of lenses can be pretty confusing at times as different manufacturers use different terms. You might even find that in some places multifocal contact lenses are referred to as ‘varifocal contact lenses’ or ‘bi-focal contact lenses’
But all you really need to know is that ’bifocal’ specifically refers to contact lenses with exactly two prescriptive powers in, whilst multifocals (or varifocal contact lenses) are any lenses with more than one.
Typically, multifocal lenses have a range of more than two prescriptions, however the term ‘multifocal’ is frequently used to describe bifocal lenses.
Types of multifocal contact lenses
Aspheric – This is the most common type of multifocal/varifocal contact lens. Short and long-distance prescriptions are blended together, allowing for your eyes to select the required prescription right in front of the pupil.
Concentric – Your normal prescription is provided in the centre of the lens, while different powers are offered in concentric rings around the middle
As with regular and toric contact lenses, we stock a wide selection of daily, two weekly and monthly editions of your varifocal contact lenses.
Which multifocal contact lenses are the best for me?
It depends on each individual which multifocal contact lenses are best, as well as what they have been advised by their optician and what their prescription is. For presbyopic correction from a daily disposable lens, popular choices include 1 Day Acuvue Moist Multifocal and Dailies AquaComfort Plus Multifocal. Alternatively, if you’re a monthly contact lens wearer, you might want to try PureVision Multifocal or Biofinity Multifocal.
Which are the best multifocal contact lenses for dry eyes?
Multifocal contact lenses are made by the same type of injection moulding process other contact lenses are made by. Different brands, however, use a variety of materials and which one you choose depends which brand you opt for. Silicone hydrogel lenses offer a high level of breathability and surface comfort, making them a great option for those who suffer from dry eyes. Dailies Total 1 Multifocal, Biofinity Multifocal and Air Optix Aqua are all silicone hydrogel lenses that offer exceptional comfort and hydration for those who suffer from dry eyes.
Which multifocal contact lenses are best for astigmatism?
If you have astigmatism and presbyopia, we currently stock one speciality varifocal contact lens that can cater to your vison. Proclear Multifocal Toric is a high-performance lens specifically designed for people that have both a multifocal and astigmatic prescription. As a monthly lens, it offers great value for money, as well as uncompromising comfort due to its high water content, which maintains hydration and moisture for your eyes.
Are there coloured multifocal contact lenses?
Unfortunately, coloured contact lenses are not available for multifocal prescriptions at this moment in time, and neither are there any manufacturers that currently offer this.