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Dr. Kayla Bechthold Blog: Can I wear contacts even if I wear bifocal glasses?

Can I still be fit in contact lenses if I wear progressive glasses? Absolutely. There are several options available for contact lenses, even when you need bifocal glasses. There are soft contact lenses, rigid contact lenses, and even scleral contact lenses available that can correct distance and near vision. Some soft lenses can even be disposed of after each wear, so no contact lens cleaning or storage is necessary.

One option is to correct distance vision with contacts and wear reading glasses. Some patients find this to be convenient and offers good vision at both distances.

Some patients choose to correct one eye for distance, and the other eye for near. This is often viewed as an alternative to bifocals, called “monovision”. The near distance can be varied. We will work with you to choose the best correction for your work and daily activities. 80% of patients find that monovision works well for them.

Like monovision described above, bifocal contact lenses include correction for both distance and near in each lens, both left and right. This allows both eyes to be used together for distance and near tasks, often providing better depth perception and more comfortable computer viewing than monovision. Bifocal contact lenses are available in soft lens designs that are disposed of monthly, biweekly, or daily. Rigid lenses are also available in bifocal designs. Scleral lenses are larger diameter rigid gas permeable (RGP) lenses that offer great comfort and vision. Scleral lenses are more commonly fit for those with other eye conditions, such as dry eye or keratoconus.

Bifocal contact lenses and monovision both present two different images to the brain at the same time, and your brain must figure out which one it pays attention to. Everyone is different- some people love the optics of the bifocal contact lenses, some prefer monovision. It is impossible to tell which you will like until you try them.

Our initial fitting includes measurements and discussion about your visual needs and goals. We order trials and if you have not worn contacts before we will do a class to show you how to insert, remove, and care for your lenses. A week or two later we recheck the fit and how you are adapting to your vision. There are many different brands of bifocal and monovision contact lenses. If there is an issue with comfort or vision, we will adjust the power or the fit. We will continue the fitting process until the lenses are just right for you.

Contact lenses are constantly being improved, and with some expertise from your eye doctors here at Bechthold Jensen Eye Care, and some time from you, we can find a contact lens solution that will work.

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