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When you first found that you suffered from nearsightedness, farsightedness and/or astigmatism, correcting the refractive error in question was as simple as obtaining a pair of single-vision glasses or contact lenses that matched your particular prescription. But age brings many changes -- including presbyopia, which makes it difficult for you to view images both close-up and far away. This is your cue to learn more about the many corrective options available through bifocal and multifocal lenses, which our optometry team here at VAL-Uvision is more than happy to provide you with.
Presbyopia is a condition that tends to afflict people aged 40 and older. It's a natural, age-related issue in which the lens of the eye grows thicker, stiffer and less able to shift its focus between distant objects and near ones. Changes in the muscles surrounding the lens may also contribute to this problem. Bringing objects into focus becomes impossible for your eyes even with the aid of your trusty single-vision lenses, essentially rendering you both nearsighted and farsighted.
The solution to this problem is to equip you with bifocal or multifocal lenses that contain more than one corrected visual field. Bifocal glasses are centuries-old technology that still does an admirable job of correcting presbyopia. They contain a distance field for viewing faraway objects and a near vision field for reading and other close work. The near field is traditionally located at the bottom center of the lens, but you can also have them placed in different areas to accommodate specialized sporting or workplace needs. Some people also need their midrange vision corrected with trifocals, which include an additional intermediate field.
Technically, multifocals are any lenses that contain more than one visual field (which of course includes bifocals), but these days the term is commonly applied to "progressive" multifocal glasses. Progressive multifocals contain a gradation through multiple vision fields from top to bottom, displaying no diving lines that might interfere with your vision (or betray your age).
Modern contact lenses offer several options for correcting presbyopia as well. The simplest method, monovision, involves wearing a single-vision distance lens in one eye and a near-vision lens in the other; the brain learns to interpret the mix of visual information as needed. Another type of contact lens called a simultaneous lens combines both far and near vision toward the center of the eye, either in alternating rings or blended together like progressive lenses. You can even get translating contacts that act like bifocals, with the traditional distance field on top and the near field below. (This last option is only available as a rigid gas permeable lens; the others are available as either soft or hard lenses.)
Call VAL-UVision at 904-567-7707 to learn more about bifocal and multifocal lenses and schedule the necessary vision testing. We can help you choose the right form of presbyopia correction for your needs, preferences and lifestyle!