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Sick of wearing glasses to read, having to put them on and off again all the time? Are your bifocals, multifocal (progressive) spectacles always in the way of you doing things? They’re not stylish anymore or uncomfortable? Well, look no further! Our resident optometrist Shon Prasad talks us through the different types of multifocal contact lenses available.

The success of contact lenses has changed people’s lives and continue to do that. Multifocal contact lenses have been designed to help those who not only need glasses to see far, to read but also in the situations where you may just simply not want to wear glasses like a special occasion or a holiday.

Types of contact lenses

There are different types of contact lenses on the market and I won’t delve into all the various options, however, for most people, there’s a contact lens out there for you. Typically, contact lenses are shaped in a way to suit your prescription – whether it’s for short sightedness, long sightedness or astigmatism. However, what happens when you need a different prescription to read and another to see far? That’s where multifocal contact lenses come in. With the onset of Presbyopia at around 40 years of age, many people start needing reading glasses or multifocal/progressive lenses.

Providing the ability to see far and near is easy in glasses, however, in contact lenses, there are a few ways to achieve it:

Traditionally the most common method was to give you a different contact lens in each eye. Your dominant eye would have the prescription you require to see far away, and your non-dominant eye will have the prescription for your near tasks. This setup is called monovision. By seeing at different focal lengths in each eye, your brain adapts to focus with the correct eye. However, one drawback of this simple method is that you’re only using one eye at a time to see – so depth perception isn’t so great or the difference between the two eyes may result in poor visual comfort.


The other form is called simultaneous vision where the contact lens has different areas of distance, intermediate and near in both the lenses. This provides a much more comfortable visual experience albeit can take time to adjust. It allows both eyes to work to their full potential and give a more natural feel to vision. Unfortunately, there are a certain range of prescriptions this option is available for at this stage.

Are contact lenses suitable for you? 

An optometrist will assess your suitability for contact lenses based on your ocular health – conditions such as dry eye need to be managed first. They will also check your prescription to ensure there is a solution available for you.

Usually, the next step is to learn how to insert and remove contact lenses. My personal experience has been very rewarding. I love teaching people and I’ve taught children from eight years old to a lady who was 85 years old. Both of whom with enough practice managed to use contact lenses!

Without getting into all the technical jargon, I think contact lenses are a great option for those of you who want to travel without your glasses, as an option for the weekend (or even full time), for recreational activities, special occasions and so much more. The technology, comfort and ease have come such a long way to make sure you speak to your optometrist about your options.

Shon Prasad
Shon Prasad is an Optometrist who graduated from Queensland University of Technology in 2016 with a Bachelor of Vision Science and Master of Optometry. He also has a Graduate Certificate of Ocular Therapeutics enabling him to prescribe ocular medications. Shon works primarily at OPSM Kawana Waters and OPSM Stafford and has a passion for sharing knowledge and teaching people. He volunteers his spare time being a member of Rotaract Club of Brisbane International and a Justice of the Peace.