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Whether you’ve had 20/20 vision all your life or worn corrective lenses for many years, at some point you may need bifocals.
Bifocal contact lenses are a viable option for many people with vision concerns.
Read on to learn more about when you might want to get bifocal contacts — and when you might not — plus check out our picks for six bifocal contact lenses.
You probably can! Many people enjoy the freedom that bifocal contact lenses give them and find they can wear them successfully.
If you’ve never worn contacts before, there is a learning curve to getting used to putting them in and wearing them.
You’ll also have a learning curve because they’re bifocal — which means there are two different focal points, one for seeing things at a distance and one for looking at things close up. The same is true if you get bifocal glasses, however.
Yes, bifocal contact lenses are a type of multifocal contacts. There are several different types available to suit a variety of needs.
- Soft contact lenses. These are made from flexible plastic that lets oxygen flow easily to your cornea. Some soft lenses are made from silicone-hydrogel.
- Rigid gas-permeable contact lenses. These lenses are more durable than soft contact lenses. They’re resistant to deposit buildup and provide crisp, clear vision.
- Extended wear contact lenses. These can be worn for up to 30 days, and are available in soft or rigid gas-permeable type, though soft extended wear are more commonly available.
Bifocal contacts are often used to correct age-related presbyopia. Presbyopia is a condition that happens to everyone, typically around age 40.
It refers to a decline in the ability to focus on things close up, such as reading materials or emails on your phone.
Bifocal contacts contain two prescriptions in a single lens.
They allow you to focus on objects that are near to your eyes as well as those that are far away. In this way, they correct nearsightedness and farsightedness simultaneously.
Bifocal contact lenses have different ways of integrating your prescriptions. The two most common types are:
- Segmented bifocals. These have a separate section for each prescription, the way lined bifocal eyeglasses do. Usually, the prescription for near vision will be on the bottom, and the one for distance vision will be on top.
- Concentric bifocals. These have a circular design, with the distance vision prescription in the middle and the near vision prescription in a surrounding ring.
The cost of your lenses will be determined largely by the type you have. Bifocal lenses are usually more expensive than standard contacts.
If you don’t have insurance, you may expect to pay anywhere from $700 up to $1,500 per year for lenses.
If you have comprehensive vision insurance and your provider covers prescription contacts, they may also cover bifocal contacts. In some instances, you may have a copay or deductible associated with the cost of your lenses.
The contact lenses on this list were chosen specifically because they’re made with comfort and vision clarity in mind, accomplished by the materials and designs used.
We looked for lenses that feel good in the eye, even on very long days. These either have a high water content or allow oxygen to pass through freely. Some are specifically designed to eliminate dry eye symptoms.
We also looked at features such as UV protection and surface protection from irritants and debris.
Each contact lens comes from a trusted manufacturer and can be purchased from a reputable seller.
These monthly disposable lenses are made from balafilcon A, a silicone hydrogel. They have a three-zone progressive design (near, intermediate, and distance zones) with high definition (HD) optics to help you see clearly.
HD optics are designed to reduce halos around lights and glare in low light conditions.
These monthly disposable contacts are 46 percent water, making them a good choice for people with dry eye. They’re also made with samfilcon A, a substance that helps each lens hold onto moisture.
Online reviews often mention that these lenses provide significant comfort even during all-day wear.
These daily disposable lenses are made from silicone hydrogel, (in this case, comfilcon A) which allows oxygen to freely pass through to your corneas, which may increase comfort.
They have a 56 percent water content, so they’re naturally hydrating. These lenses also provide UV protection.
These daily disposables have an aspheric design. Aspheric lenses are intended to be slim and lightweight. They may also help reduce magnification and distortion.
Plus, they also have a center-near design. This means that the near vision prescription is in the center and the distance prescription is on the outside.
These lenses may be good for people with astigmatism. They also have a high water content, which helps make them a comfortable choice for people with dry eye.
These lenses are daily disposables.
They’re made from etafilcon A, a comfortable hydrogel lens material that’s designed to allow maximum levels of oxygen to reach your cornea.
They have an aspheric, center-near design as well.
Online reviews from some people with dry eye say that these lenses are very comfortable, even on long days.
These monthly disposable soft contacts can be worn for up to 6 nights in a row, making them a logical choice for people on the go.
Each lens has a surface treatment that makes it resistant to debris and protein deposits, which is intended to reduce eye irritation.
Some people find a positive difference right away, while it takes others a couple of weeks of regular wear to adjust.
And though there are several different kinds of bifocal contact lens designs, you may find you’re unable to adjust to any type. Some people also give up too quickly, before their eyes have time to get used to switching between prescriptions.
With that in mind, find out whether trial contact lenses are included in the cost of a contact lens fitting. This way you can try out several types before you buy.
Some contact lens brands, like CooperVision, have free trial offers you might be able to take advantage of, too.
What are the cons of bifocal contacts?
Some people find that bifocal contacts negatively affect their depth perception, making them difficult to wear.
Others complain about eye strain, headaches, or halos. This may be more likely to occur in people who do an extensive amount of close-up reading on a computer screen or those who drive long distances, especially at night.
If you have dry eye, you may not be comfortable wearing bifocal contacts. There are, however, bifocal contacts with high water content that many people with this condition say are comfortable.
Bifocal contact lenses are prescribed to treat a variety of vision issues, including presbyopia and myopia.
There are bifocal contacts for daily and long-term use.
Many people find bifocal contacts very comfortable and effective for correcting vision problems.
Bifocal contacts require a prescription, which can be filled at a wide range of online consumer sites and eyewear stores.