Everyone over the age of 40 is presbyopic and starts to have difficulty focusing on near objects. That means almost everyone over age 40 needs reading glasses of bifocals in their glasses. What about contact lens wearers? Fortunately, there are now several options for contact lens wearers over age 40. Currently, there is no “perfect solution” for bifocal contact lens wearers. Each option has some positives and some negatives. Your doctor will help you pick the option that’s best for you.
Option #1: Over Spectacles
Description: Patients are fit with their normal distance only contact lens prescription. Reading glasses are worn over the contact lenses whenever it is necessary to read.
+ This option provides the best possible vision at all distances. Vision is crisp and binocular (both eyes work together).
- Patients have to wear glasses. Typically, this is not the first choice for most contact lens wearers, because, understandably, they do not want to wear glasses at all.
Option #2: Bifocal Contact Lenses
Description: Patients are fit with either soft disposable or rigid gas permeable bifocal contact lenses.
+ This option provides good distance vision, functional near vision, and good binocular vision (both eyes work together). Patients never need to wear glasses.
- Near vision is good enough to read small phone book size print, but near vision is not as sharp when compared to any of the other options. This is the most expensive option.
Option #3: Monovision
Description: Patients are fit with single vision contact lenses. The patient’s dominant eye is focused for the distance and the non-dominant eye is focused for near work.
+ This option provides excellent vision for distance and near vision. Near vision is sharper with monovision than it is with bifocal contact lenses. Patients never need to wear glasses. Monovsion is the least expensive method to correct presbyopic patients with contact lenses.
- Patients temporarily lose binocular vision and depth perception while the monovision lenses are being worn. Since the eyes are not working together as a team, patients have a more difficult time judging speed and distance of moving objects. Monovision is a safe and popular method to correct vision after age 40. However, first time monovision patients should take extra caution driving for about one week. When driving, patients should give other cars extra room while they adjust to the new lenses. The FAA does no permit pilots to wear monovision lenses while flying. Patients who have trouble with motion sickness may not be good candidates for monovision lenses.