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Contact Lens Options for the 40+ Patients

Optical professionals hear it all the time… “Doc I used to see crystal clear when I was reading or working on the computer, but now MY ARMS ARE NOT LONG ENOUGH!!!!” Congratulations! You have reached a milestone in your life referred to as Presbyopia. When you were a child, the Crystalline Lens located behind the Iris (Colored portion of the eye) allowed you to change focus rapidly from distance to near. Over time, the Crystalline Lens becomes stiff which decreases the ability to change focus. This change usually occurs around 40 to 45 years of age. While this is extremely frustrating to patients, there are a number of Contact Lens options.

1: Keeping it Simple

You can continue to wear contact lenses that clear up your distance vision, and use some reading glasses for computer work, reading and sewing.

Pros:

  • 100% of light focused for distance makes this option the best for distance vision

Cons:

  • Reading glasses lying around your house, car, garage, desk, etc.
  • You will ALWAYS need reading glasses to see ANYTHING up close

2: Use Newer Technology

Multifocal contact lens technology has come a long way over the past few years, and will keep improving as our lens options and wear time modality options increase. These sophisticated contact lenses work by having differing power zones in a circular pattern throughout the lens. Some zones are for distance focus, and some zones are for near focus.

Pros:

  • Balanced vision as both eyes are seeing at all distances
  • The need for glasses is typically minimal
  • No decrease in contact lens comfort
  • Friends will ask, “Why don’t you have to wear reading glasses?”
  • Excellent for leisure activities when glasses are a hassle
  • No need for Prescription Sunglasses

Cons:

  • 50% of light focused for distance. 50% focused for near in each eye
  • Distance vision may not be as “Crisp” as Option 1
  • Some patients experience increased glare, especially at night
  • Depending on your prescription, you may not be a good candidate for these lenses

3: Train Your Brain

“Monovision” is a technique that has been used for many years, and continues to help presbyopes today. This method uses the same contact lenses as Option 1, but with a major exception. The Non-Dominant eye is focused for near.  As you may imagine, there is some initial imbalance because the dominant eye is focused for distance and the non-dominant eye is focused for near. You must “train your brain” to use these lenses effectively, because one of your eyes will always be blurry.

Pros:

  • The need for glasses is typically minimal
  • No decrease in contact lens comfort
  • Friends will ask, “Why don’t you have to wear reading glasses?”
  • Excellent for leisure activities when glasses are a hassle
  • No need for Prescription Sunglasses
  • After “training your brain” to see with these lenses, most patients are very happy with the comfort and vision.

Cons:

  • Reduced depth perception
  • Some patients feel “off balance” initially
  • Distance vision may not seem as “crisp” compared to Option 1

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