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Bifocal & Trifocal Contact Lenses


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Bifocal and trifocal lenses have been used for years to treat people suffering from presbyopia, the gradual loss of vision due to age. Your eye relies on its own lens for you to be able to see clearly, and for this lens to focus on things at various distances it needs to be elastic to allow the muscles of the eye to reshape it as necessary. As you grow older this elasticity can be lost, resulting in a condition where you are neither short or farsighted, but still have difficulty in focusing on objects closer to your face.

What are bifocal and trifocal lenses?

Bifocal and trifocal lenses are essentially split into sections, each with a different purpose in terms of its focal power and hence the distance over which it works. A bifocal lens has two sections, one for near and one for far objects, while a trifocal has three. The third section in a trifocal lens is used for middle distances.

Both types of lenses are readily available at your optician’s as they are commonly used to treat presbyopia. If you notice a deterioration of vision and you are over the age of 40 then it is best to arrange an appointment with an optician to determine whether or not it is presbyopia, and what would be the best course of action to take in terms of treatment. After an eye test an optician will talk to you about whether you want contact lenses or a traditional lens mounted on a spectacle frame.

Pros and cons of bifocal and trifocal contact lenses

A major downside to frame mounted bi- and trifocal lenses is their appearance. They feature a distinctive line down the middle which many people associate with old age and vision loss, neither of which are categories you would want to be considered a part of if you are in your 40s and just have a mild case of presbyopia! Fortunately contact lenses are a great solution in that the lens is barely visible as they are placed directly on the eye. Your eyes have a lubricating and protective layer of water, oils, and mucus called the tear film upon which the contact lens will sit.

Contacts can either be gas permeable (GP) or soft, each of which will suit different people according to the make of their eyes. You can get contacts that you can wear all the time if you have a more severe case of presbyopia, or lenses you can discard at the end of the day if you only use them a couple of times a week. More recently silicon hydrogel lenses have hit the market, and these allow for extended and overnight wear because they are made up of a porous material that allows oxygen to reach your eyes, making them considerably more comfortable as well. There are a huge number of choices which you can talk through with your optician as to which would be best for you.


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