Home / Health & Fitness / How to Choose the Right Bifocal or Multifocal Contact Lens?

How to Choose the Right Bifocal or Multifocal Contact Lens?

If you are presbyopic, let me tell you; you are not alone. Most people over the age of 40 tend to suffer from a natural condition of poor vision called Presbyopia. A presbypoic eye loses its ability to focus properly on close objects, the eye lens stiffens as a result and thereby the person experiences difficulty in seeing nearby objects clearly. Bifocal and Multifocal contact lenses of wide variety are now available to provide better vision to presbyopia patients. Using these lenses, you no longer need to hold menus, magazines and newspapers far from your eyes so as to read the content properly.


Bifocal andMultifocall lenses are a great choice for people who wantthe transitionn from their regular reading glasses. Presbyopes often are found complaining about the all day long “put on” and “take off” of their reading glasses; switching between reading glasses and regular glasses is even more annoying. Often are the cases when people tend to misplace or forget their reading glasses, here and there. As a result, one prefers to buy several pairs of glasses for different places – maybe a pair at home and another one at the workplace. With the flexibility offered by the bifocal and Multifocal lenses, one no longer needs to remain chained to these inconvenient and unattractive glasses.


Bifocal and Multifocal lenses are available in wide variety materials. Even more, these lenses can also be worn on a disposable basis which means you now have the convenience of throwing away the lenses at specified intervals (even daily) and replacing them with a new, fresh pair. Contact lenses are easily accessible in soft forms and rigid gas permeable.

  • Soft Lenses:

These lenses are a good choice because they are trouble free and the easiest for the eyes to adjust. Soft lenses are preferred to be used on a part time basis.

  • Gas Permeable Lenses:

Though the gas permeable lenses require some adaptation by the wearer, they are known to give much better results than the soft lenses.

  • GP contacts keep the eye shape well when one blinks which reduces eye- straining, annoying refocusing.
  • They also make it easier for the eye to adapt to viewing in the different (near & far) zones without a “swimming” feeling.
  • Gas Permeable Contacts offer one more advantage to over – 40 people who are more susceptible to dry eye syndrome. GP lenses do not absorb moisture from your eyes, the way the soft lenses do.
  • GP lenses also resist collecting crumbs of protein and other debris from the tears in a much better way than soft lenses.


Multifocal contact lenses are very similar to progressive eyeglasses, having a range of powers in each lens. These lenses are designed with multiple prescriptions in one lens, a gradual transition from the prescription for very close objects on one end to the one for objects viewed at a normal distance on the other. On the other hand, bifocals have a sharp edge between the far & the near vision prescription regions of the lens.

“Multifocal contact”, sometimes, is used as a collective term for all contact lenses having more than one power, inclusive of bifocal contact lens. Both kinds of setups help patients correct age related vision problems like presbyopia where the eye can no longer focus properly on the objects lying close by.


Bifocal and Multifocal lenses work in several varied ways, depending upon the design of the lens. These designs are mainly of 2 types:

  • Alternating or Translating vision – as the name suggests, the pupil alternates between the 2 powers as you shift your gaze – upward or downward.
  • Simultaneous vision – lenses under this design category require your eye to look through both near and distant powers at the same time. This may sound unworkable, gradually your visual system learns to select the correct power depending upon how near or far you’re trying to see.

Simultaneous vision lenses come in 2 designs, the most common being the concentric ring design (and the other is the Aspheric designs). This type of bifocal lenses features a prescription in the center with a set of one or more concentric circles of lens powers surrounding it, set down for viewing various distances.


Though they are no hard and fast rules, two main factors that are considered while choosing a bifocal lens are your pupil size and your “add” or the near prescription. Generally, low adds are better for an Aspheric Multifocal whereas in case of translating bifocals, high adds are a better choice. You must consult your eye doctor to determine which lens is the best suited for you.