Bifocal contact lenses have been available for many years, but those lenses did not correct for astigmatism, which meant that people with astigmatism who wore toric contact lenses that corrected their astigmatism had to wear reading glasses overtop their contact lenses to correct for age-related presbyopia when reading or doing close-up work.
Now soft bifocal toric contacts that correct both astigmatism and presbyopia and provide clear vision at all distances are available. These lenses are available in both bifocal and multifocal designs.
Several brands of bifocal and multifocal soft contact lenses for astigmatism are available. Your eye care practitioner will be able to determine whether you are a good candidate for them and which brand is the best choice for your particular needs.
To keep the astigmatic correction properly positioned on the eye, these lenses are designed with a stabilization system, such as weighting at the bottom, that keeps them in place even after blinking.
How do Toric Contact Lenses Work?
When you have an astigmatism the lens or cornea of your eye is irregularly shaped. The curve of either is steeper in one direction than the other and this creates two mismatched curves that don’t bend light rays the same as each other. This means your toric prescription for vision correction has to appropriately vary from one area of your eye to another to accommodate your particular curvature and correct for it.
How are Bifocal Contact Lenses for Astigmatism Designed?
Some of the bifocal contacts for astigmatism are designed similar to progressive eyeglass lenses in which the refractive power gradually changes from the top to the bottom of the lens.
Another design has concentric rings and the center of the ring either has the near-vision correction or the distance vision correction.
What are Hybrid Bifocal Contacts for Astigmatism?
These lenses are only for corneal astigmatisms and are a combination of rigid gas permeable plastic and soft lens material. They have a central corrective zone that is made of rigid gas permeable plastic that is surrounded by an outer ring that is made of soft contact lens material.
This type of contact lens works well for people with high amounts of astigmatism or who have keratoconus. But because the center of the lens is hard, it is not comfortable enough for some people.
The design complexity of bifocal contacts and the time it takes for fitting makes the lenses more expensive than regular contact lenses.
And in some situations, you may still need reading glasses to read very small print (such as printed information on medicine bottles) or you may need glasses to do fine detail work such as threading a needle or hand sewing.
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