The best way to choose a presbyopia contact lens is under the advice of a licensed ophthalmologist, who can give advice on the advantages and disadvantages of different types of lenses. Eye doctors will help patients consider personal comfort, types of usage, and vision prescription when choosing a presbyopia contact lens. Although monovision remains the most popular presbyopia contact lens option, other types of lenses are available for the approximately 25 percent of contact lens wearers who are unable to tolerate monovision presbyopia contact lenses. Due to the remarkable ability of the eye to adjust, it’s best to test a presbyopia contact lens for several weeks before determining whether it will work.
Presbyopia is an age-related condition in which the lenses of the eye become rigid and compromise near vision. For eye patients who also have difficulty with seeing faraway objects, monovision corrects one eye for distance while the other eye has a weaker correction to allow it to retain its ability to focus on close objects. The brain learns quickly to adjust to monovision and is able to compensate for the two messages it receives from the eyes. Even though the brain adjusts quickly, it may take several weeks for a contact lens wearer to become acclimated to monovision contact lenses and be able to make an informed decision. While most find this method to be acceptable, it’s important to realize that both near and far vision will be slightly compromised and glasses may still be required for certain tasks, like driving.
For patients who suffer from both astigmatism and presbyopia, the best presbyopia contact lens option may be either bifocal or multifocal lenses. These may use either alternating image or simultaneous image design. Alternating image lenses work in a similar way to bifocal eyeglass lenses. Different parts of the presbyopia contact lens are corrected for near and far vision, depending on where the eyes are angled. Simultaneous image lenses correct for both near and far vision simultaneously. This relies on the brain’s ability to sort multiple conflicting images and choose which will provide the clearest image.
Another consideration when choosing a presbyopia contact lens is lens material. Contact lenses may be either soft or gas permeable. Soft contact lenses are comfortable but less durable. Many are made to be disposed of monthly, weekly, or daily. Gas permeable lenses are more effective, but take some time to get used to due to their rigid structure. Although they may be slightly uncomfortable at first, the eye adjusts over a period of weeks.