Multifocal contact lenses have become the center of attention for two widely different markets: presbyopes and young myopic children.
In the next decade, we will see an increased number of contact lens wearers turning age 50 or older.1 Of those who are already contact lens wearers, the majority have worn them for their adult lives. This population desires to continue contact lens wear, reinforcing the need for successful multifocal contact lens designs and optometrists willing to fit them.
In addition, an estimated 100 million people in the U.S. are myopic and this number is increasing in prevalence each year.2 Multifocal soft contact lenses have been found to be a viable means of slowing the progression of myopia in children. A proactive optometrist can easily incorporate the practice of fitting soft multifocal contact lenses to our young patients to deter the myopic progression.
Fitting a patient in a multifocal lens is a multi-step process.
Setting expectations and determining the most critical visual demands for each presbyopic patient are important steps before selecting a lens material or design. By exploring the patient’s visual environment, hobbies, occupation, and everyday tasks, lens selection can be narrowed down to the best lens design for that patient.
A thorough slit lamp examination evaluating the cornea, lids, tears, and anterior segment health will determine if the patient is better suited for a gas permeable (GP) presbyopic lens, a specialty design, or a soft multifocal lens with variable lens replacement schedules.
Related: New correction option for presbyopes
For example, a patient who has been a long-time soft contact lens wearer would be a great candidate for a soft multifocal design. If the same patient also suffers from dryness symptoms, a daily disposable soft multifocal would be a great option. Similarly, if the patient currently wears a hybrid design or a spherical GP lens, the transition to a multifocal design can be smooth by staying in the same lens material and incorporating multifocal optics.