Contacts for presbyopia

There are so many problems which are associated with aging, eye vision problems being one of them. As such, baby boomers are left with a choice to make; between reading glasses and bifocals, with most dreading bifocal glasses.

Presbyopia, is an eye vision problem commonly experienced by those in middle age. There are thee contact lens options, which are designed to correct the close up blurred vision. Of the three options, one calls for the use of reading glasses. Usually, an optometrist may recommend wearing the reading glasses slipped over your contact lenses designed for distance vision, for close up work.

These options include:

  • Bifocal contact lenses
  • Monovision
  • Contact lenses for distance vision

Bifocal Contact Lenses

There are two types of bifocal contact lenses. Only a qualified eye doctor can prescribe the ones that are suitable for your specific vision problem.

Simultaneous Vision

When prescribed simultaneous vision bifocal contacts, you are required to use both the distance and reading portions of your lenses at all times.

Once you look at any object, you see two images of it. One of the images is clear. This is from the distance portion of your lenses, which is matched to the distance at which you are viewing an object. The other image is blurred. It comes from the reading portion of your lenses. With time, your brain is able to ignore the blurred image. This enables you to see only one clear image.


With translating contacts, the mechanism used is similar to bifocal eyeglass lenses. These lenses are designed with a thicker lower edge. When you look down to read, the lower edge tends to rest on your lower eyelid. This is because as your eye turns downwards, it looks through the reading portion in the lower part of your translating lens.

Bifocal contact lenses perform exceptionally well in bright conditions. The lenses divide light into two images. Thus, each image uses about half of the available light. If you wear bifocal lenses in dimly lit conditions, you will experience difficulties in seeing. Engaging in Activities such as driving at night will prove to be much harder.


With monovision contact lenses, one eye is fitted with a lens designed for viewing objects at a distance. The other eye is fitted with a lens for viewing close up objects.

You will take some time getting used to these lenses. However, once you adjust fully, your brain switches to the eye which gives the clearest image at a given time.

While there are people who have used monovision contact lenses successfully, most still find it hard to adapt. Only about 2/3 of patients adapt fully to monovision lenses.

Some users have complained of mildly blurred vision accompanied by dizziness, headaches and feeling a slight imbalance. These symptoms may last from a few minutes to weeks, depending on the wearer. However, they subside as you adapt.

Eye practitioners point out that if such symptoms take longer, chances of adapting to monovision lenses successfully are quite low.

Adjusting To Demanding Conditions

Optometrists recommend avoiding visually demanding situations, especially if you are a first time wearer. Only wear your new monovision lenses in situations you are familiar with. For instance, when driving, only wear the lenses if you passed the driving test while wearing the same monovision correction.

Coping In Special Situations

If you are uncomfortable when wearing monovision correction in areas with low illumination, your eye doctor may prescribe additional lenses. These will come in handy in situations when sharp distance vision is required.

Alternatively, you can be allowed to use glasses with additional power in the reading eye. The combined power of your contacts and glasses will match the required distance prescription.

Contact Lenses for Distance Vision

Eye doctors will prescribe these contacts alongside reading glasses for near vison. You can wear your contact lenses for distance viewing, then slip the reading glasses over them when performing close up tasks. This may not be the most ideal option, but it allows you to avoid the bifocal glasses.

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