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Bifocal and Multifocal Contact Lenses at Harrel Eyecare

Contact lenses have been around for a long time -- but until relatively recently, individuals with presbyopia generally turned to bifocal or multifocal eyeglasses for their special refractive correction needs. Today, however, you can get contact lenses that correct near, midrange and distance vision with equal skill. Here at Harrel Eyecare, Dr. Harrel and our other skilled optometrists offer a variety of bifocal and multifocal contact lenses for Tulsa residents.

Bifocal and multifocal lenses are enormously helpful for people with presbyopia, a condition in which stiffening of the eye's lens makes it more difficult to adjust from one visual field to another. Before these lenses were developed for eyeglasses, presbyopia sufferers had to own multiple pairs of single-vision glasses, switching back and forth as the situation demanded. These lenses are also helpful for people with a combination of presbyopia and astigmatism, a condition in which irregular corneal contours distort vision.

What's the difference between bifocals and multifocals? Bifocal lenses correct for two different visual fields, which may be a combination of near vision and distance vision, near vision and central vision, et cetera. The term "multifocal" actually includes any lens that offers more than one field of vision, so technically bifocals fall into this category as well. Multifocals such as trifocals offer a third visual field for more advanced cases, while progressive lenses transition through all possible visual fields on a single lens.

The need to fit multiple visual fields onto a contact lens has led to some interesting design solutions. They may be soft, rigid gas permeable (GP), or a hybrid of the two for optimal comfort and clarity. Two principal types of bifocal/multifocal lenses are:

  • Alternating - These lenses assign different visual fields to distinct portions of the lenses, much like traditional bifocal eyeglasses. they may be weighted toward the bottom to keep the fields in their proper place on the eye.
  • Simultaneous - These lenses place the visual fields in concentric rings or otherwise blend them together, relying on the eye's ability to learn how to choose specific information as needed.

Another interesting option is the use of monovision lenses. These lenses assign different visual fields to different eyes, again relying on the eyes and brain's ability to combine all the corrected visual data.

Discuss Your Bifocal/Multifocal Options with Our Optometry Team

The first step in discovering first-hand how these remarkable lenses work is to schedule a vision test at Harrel Eyecare. Our optometry team will obtain your updated vision prescription, evaluate your eye health, and measure your corneas for contact lenses. We will also work with you to determine exactly what type of bifocal or multifocal design best suits your needs and preferences. Remember, if one type of lens doesn't work out for you, we can always try another design -- the main thing is that you're totally satisfied with your vision. Call (918) 745-9662 today to get started!

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