By the age of 45 nearly everyone notices that their ability to see print clearly at close distances has reduced. This process is called Presbyopia. Presbyopia is caused by a natural process that actually begins in the teens which involves the crystalline lens within each eye gradually losing flexibility. It is this lens which gives us the means to change focus from more distant to closer objects. The only solutions to this loss of near focusing power are optical in nature and include glasses and contact lenses.
Although Presbyopia is normal and nothing to worry about, it can be very inconvenient in many situations if glasses are the only option you use. Certainly for those involved in active pursuits such as sport, recreation and even socialising, contact lenses are often more practical than spectacles and the best answer for most people is to use both at different times.
Correcting presbyopia with spectacle lenses is a relatively straightforward task because the eyes simply look through different areas of the lenses to access the power required to give clear vision at a given distance. Soft contact lenses move with the natural movements of the eye – this means that you have unobstructed vision at any distance and is one of their advantages over spectacles. However, since different powers are needed to correct presbyopia this means lens designers need to find innovative ways of providing the right vision correction.
Modern designs often use a principle called “simultaneous vision” which provides correction of all viewing distances at the same time and requires the visual system to “choose” the appropriate image created. It sounds complex but in practice many people can readily adapt to this technology and enjoy the convenience it provides.
This approach takes care of the need to see different objects clearly at a variety of distances from about 40cm to the far distance. Multifocal contact lenses incorporate a zone of progressive power to cover middle ranges (including computers) as well as fully correcting any vision for longer distances and close up.
One of the latest developments in the contact lens field is a daily disposable multifocal. Daily disposability is especially useful for people likely to use contact lenses from time to time rather than every day.
There is no need for cleaning or storage as the lenses are discarded after each wearing period and the unused lenses remain sterile and fresh until they are needed. This also means that you effectively pay for the lenses as you use them and the cost per day is less than a cup of coffee.
Like most modern lenses, you can trial the product for several days to be sure that they will give you the vision, comfort and convenience you need. This also gives us at The Eye Practice the opportunity to assess your eyes’ adaptation to the lenses, especially if you have not worn lenses before.
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