As you get older, your eyes are eventually going to demand that you wear glasses even if its only for part of the time. It happens because of something called presbyopia. Presbyopia lets you know that your eyes are changing and things that were clear before are getting blurry.
Simply put, this happens to everyone because people age. You’ll probably notice it as you get closer to 40 and beyond. You’re going to feel like you can’t hold a newspaper far enough to be able to read it. Or you’re going to feel like reading a book is blurry with corrective lenses on.
There are a few different options available to you when this happens. One of those choices that you’ll have to make is whether or not you want bifocals or progressive lenses. Both award you with vision while you may find that one is better than the other for your particular needs.
An Argument for Bifocals
Bifocals, also known as multifocals, are a single lens that is made up of two different lens powers that allow you to see at multiple distances as needed when you peer out of your glasses or your contact lenses.
Multifocals are typical once you get past the age of forty. But occasionally, you’re going to see prescriptions for individuals that are younger, too. Focusing problems can result in being prescribed with bifocals depending on the cause of the issue.
The bottom of the lens is meant to assist in seeing things that are nearer while the upper part of the lens should improve how well you see at a farther distance. There are a few different types of bifocals that are all designed to help you see better if it’s what you need.
There is a half-moon, round, narrow rectangular area, and a full bottom of a bifocal lens as options for the configuration of your lenses. You look through the top of the lens when needing to focus on distance while looking through the bottom when you need to see things close up. Basically, bifocals are multifocal lenses with a line in them.
Bifocals add to the versatility of your lenses. So if you need multiple pairs of glasses to be able to see in different situations, then perhaps you should consider purchasing bifocals instead. It would be far more convenient to have a single pair as opposed to several pairs that you need to keep track of.
Fitting Bifocals Properly
There’s an art to making sure your bifocals fit the way they’re supposed to. Think about your eye naturally looking down when you’re looking at things that are close by. That’s why your bifocals are supposed to be better for closer distances at the bottom of the lenses.
The line that divides the top and bottom half should fit exactly at the height of your lower eyelid. If it does not fit properly, you’ll notice that there is a discrepancy for where the bifocals should sit and where they actually sit. It’s important to get the right fit because, without it, you’re going to be hard-pressed to let your eyes move freely and naturally.
If you’d rather not have a line cutting through your lens, then you’re going to want to consider progressive lenses. Progressives blend the different powers with the distance power being up on top and the closer power being down below.
Should you decide to go with progressive lenses, you’re going to realize that you’re probably going to experience some distortion when you look through your lens. There are different types of lenses like the Varilux S Series that works to reduce this distortion and make your glasses feel more natural to wear. The distortion to the side of progressive lenses is due to the manufacturing process.
Contact lenses fit altogether differently, but we’ll get more into that a little further down.
If your eye doctor ever suggests you wear occupational bifocals, these are glasses that you wouldn’t wear all of the time. You’d wear them for specific reasons. They’re designed to enable you to do a job like working on a computer.
Some occupational multifocals use up to three different powers and are called trifocals. The Double-D trifocal utilizes a segment at the top that is for intermediate distance. The power in the middle is for medium distance, and the bottom is for what is nearest to you.
Lenses like those in the Double-D are also fantastic for mechanics who need to get into the car and be able to see all of the nitty-gritty objects. If they couldn’t see it, they wouldn’t be able to work on your vehicle.
A golfer’s bifocal is another example of an occupational multifocal. It is designed differently and has its near segment in a round section off to the corner. The rest of the lens focuses on a farther distance allowing you to play as needed without being frustrated by being unable to see clearly.
Photochromic and Anti-Reflective
If you need bifocals, there are some options available that will enhance your overall experience with the lenses. The anti-reflective coating makes it easier to keep unnecessary light from entering the lens making it perfect for driving at night and reducing unwanted glare.
Photochromic lenses, though, are different. They change under ultraviolet light and become darker like sunglasses. These are great if you want a single pair that can go indoors or outdoors and be able to adjust accordingly.
Not Just Glasses Anymore
If you don’t want to wear glasses, you also have the option of getting bifocal contacts. They’re designed to deliver clear vision in a contact lens.
You can get them in soft or rigid versions. And you can also get disposables that you toss daily or monthly depending on what works for you. Contacts are typically made of a hydrogel material that breathes and is comfortable to wear for hours on end.
There are different types of multifocal contacts – the simultaneous vision designs and the segmented designs. The simultaneous vision design has specific parts of the lens that is dedicated to a given distance. The segmented design divides the lens and allows for both the center and top segments to be able to see at their different distances.
More on Segmented Bifocal Contact Lenses
Segmented contacts work just like segmented eyeglass lenses. They are hard lenses that have two different power segments complete with a defined line between the two. The contact sits stationary and in place while your eye moves to look through the appropriate part of the lens as needed.
They are actually smaller than soft lenses and float on a layer of your tears. The placement of the lens is what allows you to be able to see through it while it stays put. You can even have these types of lenses made with a trifocal design if needed as well.
But Do They Work?
Whether or not bifocal contact lenses will work is entirely dependent on the person wearing the lens. Some like them while others prefer traditional glasses or soft multifocal contact lenses.
It is entirely possible that you may prefer progressive lenses, too. These lenses would eliminate the line that runs through the different powers. Progressives can even provide better vision depending on how you use them and what you use them for.
Either way, a bifocal contact lens will work if your pupil is the correct size and if the change is near your prescription. You might need to try a few out before settling on the one you want. After trying out the bifocal contacts, you may also decide that contacts just aren’t for you and you’ll decide to go with traditional glasses instead.
Some of the top brands of multifocal contact lenses include Acuvue Oasys for Presbyopia, Biofinity Multifocal, Bausch + Lomb for Presbyopia, and Air Optix Aqua Multifocal lenses.
1. Acuvue One Day Moist for Presbyopia
The Acuvue Oasys for Presbyopia lens is a multifocal that is disposable bi-weekly, and it never quite lived up to the hype. Acuvue recently came out with a much better product, the Acuvue One Day Moist for Presbyopia. And they have a few other presbyopic contact lenses on the horizon. They claim that these can help you stay active regardless of the issues you might have with your eyes. On Acuvue’s site, you can even see what it takes to get free lenses which are always helpful.
Other perks of this lens are that it uses excellent UV protection as well as their patented Hydraclear Plus technology. This technology is designed to minimize dryness and keep the moisture inside.
2. Biofinity Multifocal
Biofinity Multifocal lenses are manufactured by CooperVision. These lenses can be used and then replaced on a monthly basis. Their design allows you to be able to focus in any direction and at any distance. These lenses are also soft lenses so that they will sit differently in your eyes compared to rigid lenses.
In case it is important to you, these lenses also do not incorporate UV protection to your cornea. If you spend a lot of time outside, that may be an issue for you.
3. Bausch + Lomb for Presbyopia
Bausch + Lomb’s tagline for this contact lens says it all – “A lens designed to meet the challenges today’s presbyopes face.” What that means is that these lenses are uniquely designed to work with your eye’s natural gazing movements and the way you react to screens as well as farther distances.
These lenses use a 3-zone design to give you a more progressive feel when you have to shift your gaze from near to far. You’ll also be happy to know that you only need to replace them on a monthly basis even if you wear them every day.
4. Air Optix Aqua Multifocals
The Air Optix are manufactured by Alcon, a respected name in disposable contacts. They offer a range of prescription strengths that can be blended across the lens. They are designed to create a natural feel as you move your eyes to focus on different things.
The company claims that you will see clearly at every distance in addition to having a smooth transition between the distances. Replacement varies depending on which option you select.
A Few Last Things About Bifocals
There are very few people getting genuine bifocal lenses when it comes to glasses. Progressives are the way that people are moving when they are diagnosed with presbyopia because they make it easier to transition between distances.
That doesn’t mean that they won’t work for you, but chances are that you’ll be happier with progressive lenses as opposed to traditional bifocals. Be aware that progressive lenses do tend to be more expensive than bifocals. So that may be a factor in your decision.
Thanks to today’s technology, there simply isn’t much of a need anymore for traditional multifocals, so at that point, it is a matter of preference. It’s also a bonus that progressives are more aesthetically pleasing than bifocals just because there’s no line in the middle of the lenses, too.
Do your research and learn about all of your options to make the best choice for you and your needs. When you pick the right ones, your eyes will appreciate the way they feel after all is said and done.