Frequently Asked Questions About
Bifocal Contact Lenses
We've compiled some of the most frequently asked questions about multifocal and bifocal contact lenses. Click a question for the answer, or to read all the answers, click "Expand All."
A. You're an especially good candidate if you are already used to wearing contact lenses or if you have already adapted to bifocal, trifocal, or progressive eyeglass lenses.
But really, most people with presbyopia even those with no contact lens experience can wear bifocal contact lenses successfully.
A. Usually, presbyopia begins at around age 40. If you are presbyopic and a good candidate for contact lenses, you are a potential bifocal contact lens wearer, no matter what your age.
A. Yes, you can get bifocal contact lenses that have just a reading zone. Many people find this more convenient and attractive than wearing reading glasses.
A. Call your regular eye care practitioner and ask if he or she fits bifocal contact lenses. If not, use our GP Eye Care Professional Locator. This useful resource also lists each practitioner's specialty areas, including bifocal and multifocal GPs.
Even when using this locator, confirm before making an appointment that the eye care practitioner fits GP bifocals. Fitting these lenses requires special knowledge and experience, so not every practitioner does it.
A. No. If you have adapted to bifocal, trifocal, or progressive eyeglass lenses, you will already understand the basics of using translating bifocal contact lenses, in which the distance zone is straight ahead and above center, while the reading zone is lower. With simultaneous designs, your eyes will learn to focus near or far as needed.
Whatever your particular lens design, your eye care practitioner will make sure you understand how to use it. Because all types of bifocal GP lenses, when fitted properly, move little on the eye when you blink, clinical research shows they are initially more comfortable than regular GP lenses.
A. Yes. Though there may be a slight compromise with some designs as compared with glasses, GP bifocal contacts provide especially crisp vision, as compared with soft contact lenses. The rigid material of GP lenses tends to hold a more definite shape on the wearer's eye, even after a blink.
A. The cost of contact lenses varies from one lens design to another, but in general they are less expensive than eyeglasses with progressive lenses. GP bifocal contact lenses, especially, are a good value because they last longer than most soft bifocal contacts.
A. That depends on whether you choose soft bifocals or GP bifocals.
In general, soft contact lenses become cloudy with protein deposits over time and are easy to tear; those disadvantages are somewhat remedied by disposable or planned replacement soft bifocals.
GP contact lenses are made of a more durable plastic that stays clear over time. With GP bifocals, you may need new ones only when your presbyopia progresses so that you need a stronger near vision prescription. Read a comparison of soft contacts vs. GP contact lenses.
A. Bifocal contact lenses require no more care than regular contacts, and they are just as easy to insert and remove from the eye. Most wearers go all day without needing to think about their contacts.
Wearers of bifocal or progressive eyeglasses, however, constantly feel the weight of their glasses on their nose, must remove them for periodic cleaning, and have to put up with fogging on cold days. Reading glasses, too, are often removed and replaced several times a day, and it's easy to misplace or scratch them.
A. Not to worry. Bifocal contact lenses come in many designs and can be prescribed for people with astigmatism. The best choice is usually GP lenses, because they hold their shape to correct astigmatism better.
Next, get more information about bifocal contact lenses:
[Page updated February 2013]