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How to Adapt to Multifocal Contact Lenses?

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A close up of an eye doctor's hands holding a contact lens case in one and eyeglasses in the other.

Multifocal lenses contain multiple prescriptions in one lens, allowing you to enjoy clear vision at various distances without needing multiple pairs with varying prescriptions. Whether you’re reading a book, driving, or using a computer, these lenses are ideal for people with more than one visual concern.

Adapting to multifocal lenses requires time to adjust, continuous wear in the beginning, and professional guidance. Your eye doctor can perform a contact lens exam to determine the right contacts for your vision needs.

What Are Multifocal Lenses?

Like multifocal lenses in eyeglasses, multifocal contact lenses are designed to provide clear vision at multiple distances. Unlike single-vision lenses that correct only one distance, multifocal contact lenses have 2 or more prescriptions to address near, intermediate, and far vision.

Types of Multifocal Contact Lenses

Multifocal lenses come in 2 types that work differently. Each type has its benefits and the type that suits you will depend on your specific visual needs and lifestyle. Your eye doctor can help you find the right match.

  1. Simultaneous Multifocal Contact Lenses

These have specific regions on the lens for near and far viewing. Simultaneous multifocal lenses are classified into two different designs: concentric and aspheric. The concentric design has distance power in the middle of the lens, surrounded by rings of near and distance powers. The aspheric design also has distance power at the center, but presents a gradual transition to intermediate and near powers as you move outward from the middle.

  1. Segmented Multifocal Contact Lenses

Similar to bifocal glasses, the segmented multifocal contact lens has distinct sections for different distances with an obvious line of separation. Distance power is at the top and middle zones of the lens, and near power is at the bottom zone.

Who Can Benefit from Multifocal Lenses?

If you have multiple refractive errors, like nearsightedness and farsightedness, multifocal contact lenses can help correct them and provide vision clarity at varying distances. Multifocal lenses can also be prescribed for people with presbyopia and astigmatism.


Presbyopia is a natural part of aging where the eye’s lens loses its flexibility, making it difficult to focus on close objects. Multifocal lenses are an excellent solution for this condition, offering a convenient alternative to bifocal or reading glasses.


Astigmatism is when the eye has an irregularly shaped cornea (clear front surface of the eye) or lens that prevents light from focusing on the retina (the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye), causing blurry or distorted vision at all distances.

Since multifocal contact lenses help you see near, intermediate, and far distances, they can be helpful for people with more than one refractive error.

Tips for Adapting to Multifocal Lenses

A close up of an eye doctor's hands holding an open contact lens case and a patient's finger with a contact lens.

Fitting specialty multifocal contact lenses does take more time and expertise than fitting regular contact lenses. For these reasons, here are some tips for adapting to them.

Give It Time

Like adapting to new prescription for glasses, adapting to multifocal lenses can also take some time. Your brain needs to adjust to comfortably processing multiple visual zones. Initial discomfort, dizziness, or blurry vision is normal in the beginning.

Be Patient & Consistent

It might take a few tries to find the right fit and prescription. Don’t be discouraged if the first pair isn’t perfect. Work closely with your eye doctor to fine-tune your lenses until you achieve optimal vision.

Follow Professional Guidance

Your eye doctor will provide you with specific instructions on how to wear and care for your lenses. Follow these guidelines for a smooth transition and to avoid any complications. If discomfort persists, make sure to speak to your eye doctor.

Multifocal Lenses vs Reading Glasses

Reading glasses are effective but can be inconvenient. You constantly have to put them on and take them off. Multifocal contact lenses eliminate this hassle by providing clear vision at all distances, allowing you to go about your day without interruption.

Monovision Contacts

Multifocal lenses provide a natural visual experience, closely mimicking how your eyes naturally function, but if these designs don’t work for you, your doctor might suggest monovision contacts.

Unlike bifocal and multifocal lenses, monovision contacts use two single-vision lenses, one prescribed for near vision and the other for far vision. 

Addressing Common Concerns About Multifocal Lenses

Modern multifocal contact lenses are made from advanced materials that enhance comfort. You can get multifocal contact lenses in soft and rigid gas-permeable materials. While there may be an adjustment period, daily and extended-wear options can provide comfort.

Initial blurriness is common but usually temporary. Your eyes and brain need time to adapt to the new visual zones. Consistent wear and follow-up visits with your eye doctor can help fine-tune your prescription for optimal clarity. 

Because of their complexity, multifocal lenses can cost more than single-vision lenses. But the convenience they provide often outweighs the cost.

Near & Distance Vision Correction

Multifocal contact lenses offer a convenient and seamless way to enjoy clear vision at all distances, enhancing your daily life. If you’re tired of juggling different glasses or want to explore a more convenient vision correction option, multifocal contact lenses might be right for you.Book an appointment with River Heights Eye Care today to discuss your options and start your journey towards clearer, more comfortable vision.

Written by Shazeen Manji

Dr. Shazeen Manji was born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta, and attended the University of Alberta, where she completed her Bachelor of Science degree. She then went on to earn her optometry degree at the Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University, where she graduated with honours. Dr. Manji received her training in a vast array of clinical settings, including private practices and Veterans Affairs hospitals, where she focused on pediatrics and contact lenses. Though she enjoys all aspects of private practice, Dr. Manji has a particular interest in ocular disease and contact lenses. She completed her ocular disease externship at the Wilmington V.A. Hospital and has completed an advanced studies course in contact lenses, giving her unique insight into fitting specialty contact lenses. In 2019, Dr. Manji purchased River Heights Eye Care where she is now practicing.
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