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Multifocal Contact Lenses For People Over 40

If your 40th birthday has come and gone, you may have started to notice some changes in your vision. You might find yourself holding written material further away from your face in order to clearly read the fine print, or have a harder time adjusting your focus from distant objects to near ones.

The inability to see things clearly at various distances can be frustrating.   

Fortunately, this problem can be solved by wearing multifocal contact lenses. Below, we’ll explain the cause and symptoms of presbyopia, along with the many benefits of wearing multifocal contact lenses.

What Is Presbyopia? 

Presbyopia is the natural and gradual loss of your eyes’ ability to focus on near objects. 

The crystalline lens in your eye focuses light onto the retina, and it adapts its shape depending on what you focus on. From infancy until your late 30s or early 40s, the lens is usually clear, thin and very flexible, allowing fast adjustments for sharp vision at all distances.

From age 40-50 the lens becomes considerably thicker and much less flexible. This makes it harder for the lens to change shape and to accurately refract light when focusing on near objects. 

This farsightedness can be easily corrected with reading glasses, bifocal or multifocal glasses, monovision contact lenses, as well as multifocal contact lenses. 

Multifocal Contact Lenses for Presbyopia

Multifocal contact lenses contain multiple lens powers to provide vision correction for different visual zones so you can clearly see objects that are in the distance, nearby and everything in between. 

Certain multifocal contact lenses have 2 lens powers (bifocals), for near and distance vision, and others have a more gradual power change, similar to progressive lenses. These contact lenses can be made using soft materials or rigid gas-permeable materials, and are available as daytime or extended night-wear lenses. 

Note that multifocal contact lenses are not perfect for all situations and some patients may need to try several brands or designs before finding one that works well for them. To spare you the confusion, your optometrist will guide you towards the ones best suited to your eyes and lifestyle needs. 

To discover options beyond reading glasses, call Washington Eye Doctors in Washington, D.C. to schedule your contact lens consultation today!

Q&A: 

#1: Are there any “cons” related to wearing multifocal contact lenses? 

Many multifocal contact lenses use a “simultaneous vision” design that allows seeing far and near simultaneously through concentric zones. Some people have problems adapting to this, noticing hazy vision and less contrast than single vision lenses. You can ask your optometrist to be fit with multifocal lenses and get a test run” or trial period.  

#2: When does presbyopia stabilize?

Most people will start to develop age-related vision changes starting in their early to mid-40s. At around 60 years of age, your eyesight will begin to stabilize and you’ll notice less of a need to update your lens prescription. Nonetheless, yearly comprehensive eye exams at this age are more important than ever, as they enable your eye doctor to detect potential eye conditions and diseases early on. 

Is There a Cure for Nearsightedness?

Our Washington, D.C., District of Columbia, eye doctors explain what can be done about myopia in kids

Many parents wonder if there is a cure for nearsightedness, also known as myopia. Or maybe there’s a treatment to eliminate a child’s need for stronger glasses each year?

In response – there is presently no scientific evidence to back up the claims of various miracle treatments to cure myopia. Programs that attest to the power of eye exercises to reverse myopia and naturally treat nearsightedness are not supported by any well-designed independent research.

However, many recent studies do suggest that kids’ myopia can be controlled (not cured) by slowing its progression. An eye exam is the first necessary step to determine your child’s candidacy for myopia control. At Washington Eye Doctors, our eye doctors perform thorough pediatric eye exams to assess whether myopia control is recommended.

Myopia is not an eye disease

Nearsightedness is a refractive error caused by the elongation of the eyeball. Due to this elliptical shape, light that enters the eye doesn’t focus on the retina at the back of the eye. Instead, light is focused in front of the retina, thereby blurring the sight of any objects in the distance. Prescription glasses and contact lenses offer effective treatment for nearsightedness, but they are not a cure – and they don’t prevent myopia from getting worse.

Intro to myopia control

Myopia control treatments can lead to changes in the structure and focusing ability of the eye, thereby slowing the progression of myopia. Why is this important? Because myopia control can help prevent your child from developing high levels of nearsightedness, which not only require thick eyeglasses lenses – but have also been linked to serious eye problems later in life, such as a detached retina and cataracts.

Types of myopia control

At our Washington, D.C., District of Columbia, eye care center, we administer kids’ eye exams gently and comprehensively to diagnose their precise vision prescription and determine the most suitable type of myopia control.

Currently, there are four types of myopia control treatment in use:

1.Orthokeratology

Ortho-k lenses are specialized rigid gas permeable contacts that are worn only while sleeping. They correct refractive error by gently reshaping the cornea temporarily. Typically, ortho-k is used to enable people with nearsightedness to see clearly during the daytime – without any prescription eyewear. But eye doctors are increasingly using orthokeratology as a means for myopia control in kids. Studies suggest that myopic kids who wear ortho-k lenses for a few years may have less myopia as adults, in contrast to children who wear regular glasses or contacts during the years when myopia can progress rapidly.

2.Multifocal Contact Lenses

Multifocal contact lenses have different lens powers in different zones. While the conventional use of multifocal contacts is to correct presbyopia, eye care professionals have found that these specialty lenses can also be an effective method of myopia control for kids.

3.Multifocal Eyeglasses

Multifocal glasses are another option for controlling nearsightedness in children, but the results are not as impressive as with other types of myopia control.

4.Prescription eye drops

Prescription eye drops can be used to relax the eye’s focusing mechanism, thereby controlling myopia. Research studies have shown that during the first year of treatment with prescription eye drops, the progression of nearsightedness dropped by an average of 81%. However, the effects seem to diminish after the first year of treatment. Prescription eye drops are also associated with specific uncomfortable side effects, which is one reason why many eye doctors are hesitant to prescribe this treatment for kids.

Eye exams enable early detection of nearsightedness

The best way for your kid to benefit from myopia control is to diagnose nearsightedness as early as possible! Even if a child isn’t complaining about any visual problems, regular pediatric eye exams are critical – especially if there’s a family history of nearsightedness. The sooner myopia is detected, the sooner our Washington, D.C., District of Columbia, eye doctors can assess candidacy for myopia control.

At Washington Eye Doctors, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 202-335-5032 or book an appointment online to see one of our Washington, D.C. eye doctors.

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Nearsightedness & Farsightedness – What Do They Mean?

Your Washington, D.C., District of Columbia, eye doctor explains

Nearsightedness and farsightedness, officially termed myopia and hyperopia – respectively, are both refractive vision conditions. That means they are both caused by refractive errors, which are ocular disorders that affect the eye’s ability to properly focus light on the retina. The retina is the membrane that forms the back layer of the eyeball.

Nearsightedness occurs when the light that enters the eye falls short of the retina. Typically, this happens because the eyeball is elongated. As a result, objects in the distance look blurry to people with myopia. However, vision of near objects remains unaffected. Nearsightedness generally develops during childhood, deteriorates during the teenage years, and stabilizes once the person reaches young adulthood.

Farsightedness is basically the opposite of nearsightedness. Usually, it results from having an eyeball that is too short. As a result, light is focused behind the retina instead of directly on it. For people with mild to moderate farsightedness, close objects appear blurred, while objects in the distance are still sharp. However, high amounts of farsightedness may interfere with clear vision at all distances. Children are typically born farsighted, but as they grow and develop, their eyeballs lengthen and the hyperopia decreases.

Diagnosis of myopia and hyperopia – visit an eye doctor near you

While nearsightedness and farsightedness can cause symptoms, such as headaches, squinting, eye strain, and fatigue, these symptoms alone are not sufficient for making a firm diagnosis.

Both of these vision conditions can be detected during an eye exam performed by a qualified eye doctor. As a part of every eye exam, visual acuity will be tested. You will need to read a basic Snellen eye chart, and your eye doctor will test refraction in order to determine your precise vision prescription for glasses or contact lenses.

Treatment for nearsightedness and farsightedness

Corrective eyeglasses and contact lenses are both effective ways to treat nearsightedness and farsightedness. The prescription lenses work by altering the path of light as it bends into the eyes.

When children experience progressive myopia, a variety of methods for myopia control may be suitable. Myopia control treatment can eliminate the need to buy new glasses or contacts yearly, and it can help reduce children’s risk for eye disease in the future. To find out about your child’s candidacy for myopia control, consult a qualified eye doctor and book an eye exam near you.

It is common for myopia and hyperopia to stabilize once people reach their twenties. Once that occurs, refractive laser surgeries – such as LASIK and PRK – become options for treatment. These procedures can permanently resolve nearsightedness and farsightedness by reshaping the cornea to focus light properly on the retina.

Can vision therapy help with nearsightedness and farsightedness?

Clear and fully functional vision depends on more than just sharp visual acuity. Eyesight, the brain, and visual pathways all need to work in sync with each other. When this doesn’t happen, a person can find it difficult to see – even with 20/20 vision. That’s where the role of vision therapy enters the picture.

Vision therapy helps people with particular eye conditions develop the visual skills needed for clear sight, such as:

  • Strabismus (crossed eyes)
  • Amblyopia (lazy eye)
  • Computer vision
  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Learning related visual problems (poor eye teaming and focusing)
  • Sports vision improvement

Optic devices and custom-designed exercises are used to strengthen the eye-brain connection, so eye mobility is enhanced. The person learns how to efficiently process visual cues that the eyes send to the brain. Therefore, vision therapy will not help to treat a refractive vision condition, such as nearsightedness and farsightedness.


At Washington Eye Doctors, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 202-335-5032 or book an appointment online to see one of our Washington, D.C. eye doctors.

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