Progressive Lenses

Progressive lens “Zones”

Progressive lenses, sometimes referred to as “no-line” bifocals, provide vision correction for the three basic vision zones – distance vision, intermediate vision, and near vision. Because they provide vision in these three zones, they are often thought of as a type of trifocal.

In reality, progressive lenses are neither a type of bifocal or trifocal – they are “aspheric” in design, which means the curvature (and focusing power) gradually changes from the top of the lens to the bottom. It is this gradual change or “progression” in power from top to bottom that gives rise to the name “progressive.”

Progressive lenses provide a great solution for many people who find their present lens design limits their vision for a particular distance or activity. Progressives offer a range of vision as close to natural as can be obtained from prescription eyeglasses. They provide clearer vision not just for distance, intermediate and near but also for all distances in between. Because there is no abrupt change of power in the lens, there are no visible dividing lines.

The distance zone of the lens allows you to see objects from a few feet away to as far as your eye can see. The mid-range portion of the lens (“progression corridor”) allows you to clearly see anything at an arm’s length, such as your computer screen, objects on your desk, or items on a shelf at the supermarket. The lowest part of the lens, the near zone, allows you to see up close. The design of progressive lenses also allows a more natural and relaxed head posture when viewing objects at slightly longer reading distances, such as a newspaper or computer screen.

More Options – A variety of progressive lens designs are available today. Some progressives are designed with a wider intermediate zone to work especially well for computer use. Others have a larger reading zone. In the past, a larger frame was often required when selecting progressive lenses. If a frame was too small, a large portion of the near zone was removed when cutting the lens to fit the frame. Many lens manufacturers now offer “compact” progressive designs that work very well with smaller frames. Progressives are available in glass, plastic, polycarbonate, and photochromic (light-sensitive) lenses.

Modern progressive lenses offer outstanding clarity and comfort for seeing at all distances. Modern designs also make the adaptation process much easier than in the past. if you’ve tried progressives before, realize that much has changed in both lens design and materials. The next time you update your glasses, be sure to ask if progressive lenses might be right for you.

Computer Vision Syndrome: Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention

The benefits of modern-day computing and the Internet have led to a group of eye and vision-related problems. Collectively, this group is called Computer Vision Syndrome or CVS. CVS is caused by spending an extended amount of time looking at computer screens and other digital devices.

Between work and home computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones, it’s easy to log a lot of hours staring at a screen. (We’ve certainly experienced it ourselves!)

Looking at a computer screen is different from reading printed pages, and often makes your eyes work harder. For example, screen glare and reflections, low contrast, and poor definition make text difficult to read on a digital display. The way we interact with digital displays, software and Internet pages is also different from “traditional” paper-based reading and writing. And uncorrected vision problems and age-related vision changes can also be contributing factors for CVS.

Symptoms of CVS

Common symptoms that can begin or become worse due to CVS include:

  • Eyestrain
  • Headaches
  • Blurred vision
  • Dry and irritated eyes
  • Neck and shoulder pain

When patients describe these symptoms, we use a comprehensive exam to check for visual clarity, focus, alignment, and movement issues.

Treatment and Preventive Measures for CVS

Reducing the stresses that build up with prolonged computer and digital device use is key to treating CVS. A combination of treatment and preventative measures can help protect and improve your eyesight. For example:

Find your sweet spot. Our eyes naturally look out and downward. To accommodate this, position your computer monitor so the center of your screen is a few inches below eye level, and 20 to 28 inches from your eyes.

Adjust your lighting. Give yourself ample lighting, but position your digital screen and your light sources to avoid glare.

Use anti-glare screens. When you have little or no control over your surrounding light, use an anti-glare filter over your computer screen. If glare is a problem at work, ask your employer to supply an anti-glare filter for your computer.

Take breaks and blink frequently. Allow your eyes to refocus at a distance and relax by looking around the room every 20 minutes. To prevent eyestrain, rest your eyes for 15 minutes every two hours. And be sure to blink! It helps keep your eyes moist and reduces your chances for developing dry eyes.

Your eyes work hard for you. Give them the rest and support they need to stay healthy. And if you’re concerned about CVS for yourself or a loved one, please call us to schedule an appointment. We’re here to help!

Nothing in this article is to be construed as medical advice, nor is it intended to replace the recommendations of a medical professional. For specific questions, please contact our office.

Antioxidant Rich Chocolate Cherry Sunrise

The eyes are highly metabolically active. In fact, the retina has the highest metabolic rate of any tissue in the body and is therefore vulnerable to oxidative injury. The most notable antioxidants which help to support the eye are vitamin C, vitamin E; the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin; selenium and phytonutrients. One method of assessing the antioxidant capacity of a particular food is expressed in ORAC units (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity). Spices such as cloves, cinnamon and turmeric have a very high ORAC value. Natural cocoa, coffee and green tea are all great sources of antioxidants and have high ORAC values. Other foods high in antioxidants include berries, nuts, dried fruit, vegetables and beans.

Culinary preparation influences the quantity of antioxidants present in a particular food. Since many antioxidants are found in the peel or outer parts of fruit and vegetables, peeling eliminates a significant portion of antioxidants. When berries are boiled to make jam, the heat denatures the antioxidant capacity of the vitamin C and phytonutrients. Jam has little antioxidant capacity especially when compared to fresh berries. Steaming vegetables retain more antioxidants than boiling in water. The nutrient lutein found in kale is more accessible to our bodies when the plant cell walls are broken down through cooking or pureeing.

Oxidation is a natural process that occurs during normal cellular function as oxygen is needed to produce energy by the cells in our eyes and bodies. Free radical formation is derived from this normal metabolic process and from external sources like x-rays, cigarette smoking, air pollutants and sunlight.

Free radicals have a strong affinity for electrons and can damage cells and genetic material. To help with the battle against free radicals, every cell in the body creates its own antioxidant enzymes to diffuse free radicals. In addition, we can acquire antioxidants from food. A balance between free radicals and antioxidants is necessary for proper physiological function and to reduce oxidative stress.

Oxidative stress is thought to play a role in age-related macular degeneration, age-related cataract formation, glaucoma and other diseases. Including antioxidant rich foods in your diet everyday will help to reduce the risk or slow the progression of many chronic eye diseases associated with aging.

Chocolate Cherry Sunrise

4–8oz servings

  • 1 1/4 cup hot coffee, freshly brewed
  • 4 dates, pitted, diced
  • 3/4 cup tart cherries, frozen
  • 1 banana, cut into chunks, frozen
  • 2 tsp matcha green tea powder
  • 1 scoop chocolate protein powder of choice
  • 3 T natural cocoa powder
  • 2 T almond butter
  • 2 red kale leaves, ribs removed
  • 5 ice cubes
  • 4 tsp cacao nibs
  • mint, for garnish

Directions:

  1. Allow dates to steep in the hot coffee.
  2. Place the rest of the ingredients into a high speed blender.
  3. Add the coffee and dates.
  4. Blend until smooth and creamy.
  5. Pour into glasses, sprinkle with cacao nibs. Garnish with mint.

Nutrition Facts (per serving):

Calories: 205 kcal; Protein: 9.5 g; Carbohydrates: 36 g; Dietary Fiber: 6 g; Fat: 5.25 g

Antioxidant Highlights:

Coffee: caffeic acid

Tart Cherries–3 egg: vitamin A, vitamin C

Almond Butter: vitamin E, vitamin B2, fiber

Green Tea: epigallocatechin gallate

Kale: vitamin A, vitamin C, lutein+zeaxanthin

Natural Cocoa and Cacao Nibs: folate, procyanidin

ORAC Values:

Coffee: 15,000

Tart Cherries: 3,474

Almond Butter: 4,454

Green Tea: 1,384

Kale: 1,770

Natural Cocoa: 55,654

Cacao Nibs: 62,100

Foods That Fight Inflammation

Acute inflammation is a normal and healthy part of the body’s immune response; it is needed for healing an injury or fighting an infection. However, chronic inflammation inside our body diminishes our body’s ability to repair itself. Researchers believe inflammation is linked to many chronic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s and certain cancers. Eye conditions associated with inflammation include age–related macular degeneration, dry eye and uveitis.

An anti–inflammatory diet helps to promote the lowering of overall levels of inflammation in the body. Certain foods can ramp up the body’s inflammatory response while other foods dampen the response. Two essential fatty acids important to the balance of inflammatory response are omega-3 and omega–6. Omega–3’s form the building blocks of a number of anti–inflammatory compounds and lower the production of inflammatory proteins. Foods high in omega–3 fatty acids include oily, cold water fish like mackerel, salmon and black cod. The pro–inflammatory omega–6 fatty acids are found abundantly in corn, safflower and peanut oils, as well as processed and refined foods. The current recommendation is a ratio of one omega–3 fatty acid to four omega–6 fatty acids.

Culinary herbs and spices contain a vast array of powerful phytochemical compounds many which have anti–inflammatory properties. Turmeric is a highly pigmented root noted for both its anti–inflammatory and anti–oxidant attributes. Turmeric most notably is found in tandoori and curry powders. Ginger root is a common ingredient in Asian cuisine having both anti–inflammatory and anti–nausea properties. Oregano, basil and rosemary are delicious anti–inflammatory herbs. The phytonutrients allicin and quercetin found in garlic and onions have immunity boosting properties. Antioxidants protect the body from the inflammatory effects of free radicals. Colorful food like berries and peppers, as well as kale, beets and green tea are all excellent sources of antioxidants. Food high in fiber helps to minimize the inflammatory response that can occur following a rapid increase or decrease in blood sugar levels. Foods high in fiber include raspberries, beans, legumes, vegetables and cinnamon.

While dietary changes are not intended to supplant traditional medical therapies recommended by your doctor, food offers a delicious symphony of nutrients with anti–inflammatory disease–preventive benefits. The researchers at Oregon Health & Science University state that tart cherries have the “highest anti–inflammatory content of any food.” Making smart food choices to keep the immune system in balance will help facilitate health and well being. According to Emperor Charlemagne in the 9th century, “An herb is the friend of physicians and praise of cooks.”

Tandoori Seasoning©

Makes about 2/3 cup

  • 3 T paprika, sweet or smoked
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 T ground ginger
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 T dehydrated minced onion
  • 1 T dark brown sugar
  • 2 T dried oregano
  • 2 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper, optional

Directions:

  1. Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl.
  2. Transfer to an airtight container.
  3. Store at room temperature for up to one month.

Suggested Uses:

  1. Sprinkle on steamed vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli or Brussels sprouts.
  2. Rub onto salmon or cod; drizzle with olive oil and roast in the oven.
  3. For Tandoori Roasted Pumpkin Seeds: Discard the stringy mesh around the seeds but do not rinse. Spread onto an oven safe pan and sprinkle with the tandoori seasoning. Bake at 300 F for 10 – 15 minutes until light and crispy.

Balancing Life and Work

At one time or another, nearly everyone struggles to balance the demands of work and family. Work isn’t necessarily associated with a career – it can be volunteer work, or tasks associated with a hobby or passion. And family can be a spouse, siblings, a much–loved pet or an aging parent.

So, it goes without saying that nearly everyone – including stay–at–home moms and professionals with no children – experiences the frustration and ensuing stress of being tugged at from different directions and feeling like there’s just not enough time in the day.

What’s even more complicated is that these feelings of anxiety, frustration or hopelessness often multiply, says life coach and intuitive teacher Amy Piper.

“Stress is not only created by a response to an external situation or event – a lot of daily stress is created by ongoing attitudes or recurring feelings of agitation, worry, anxiety, anger, judgments, resentment, insecurities and self–doubt,” Piper says. “These emotions are known to drain our emotional energy while we are engaging in everyday life. This leads to more fatigue and an endless cycle of negative emotions.

Piper says that finding balance starts with defining your identity and recognizing your personal mission in life. It means knowing who you are and what matters most, so that you honor your priorities in the way you want and need to honor them rather than adhering to society’s or someone else’s expectations.

“When your mind and emotions are balanced – when you are in heart coherence – your physical systems function more efficiently, resulting in emotional stability, mental clarity and improved cognitive function,” she says.

Here are a few tips Piper says can help balance out your world:

  1. Clearly define who you are and what’s important, and prioritize accordingly. Start the day with a list of priorities that are intimately related to the larger goals of your work, and then give yourself a 6 p.m. deadline to complete them. In the meantime, commit to the larger values in your life – relationships, exercise, spirituality and fun – in a concrete way by putting those activities on your calendar.
  2. Establish routines and habits that support the goals you deem important. Habits (good and bad) become the cornerstones of your lifestyle over time. For example, if long–term health and vitality are important to you, incorporate walking into your daily routine, and plan family time that’s activity–centered. The steps add up over the weeks and years, and can make a huge difference. And don’t forget your vision. Remember to protect your eyes from the sun, take breaks from your electronic devices and schedule regular eye exams.
  3. Eliminate or reduce time suckers (activities or people) that don’t add value to your life and support your long–term goals or mission. You need to know how to recognize and hold honest boundaries in relationships, remaining true to your own needs while being connected to other people.
  4. Delegate tasks that are not important to your goals. This means you must recognize that some things just don’t matter – being an awesome cupcake baker is not essential to being a loving mother. Hire someone else to bake your cupcakes or turn the baking experience into a project you can enjoy with your child.
  5. Be present and experience the fullness of the moment. If you’re off the clock, unplug from work, set your phone aside and immerse yourself in the present situation and company without burdening yourself with guilt, frustration or anxiety. Engage in authentic conversations with your family members and enjoy their company without being distracted or otherwise preoccupied.

Learn to recognize when imbalance is creating stress and be deliberate about honoring your priorities. You’ll be happier and healthier – mentally, spiritually and physically.

Computer Vision Correction

Working for long periods on a computer is a demanding visual task. Daily, millions of Americans use a computer for hours at a time, both at work and at play. Many of them routinely experience symptoms of headache, fatigue, blurry vision, scratchy eyes, or pain in the shoulders, neck or back.

Our eyes and brain react differently to characters displayed on a computer screen than they do to characters printed on paper. Computer images are less distinct than printed characters, may have perceptible flicker, and usually have less contrast between characters and the background. Computer users must rapidly switch focus from keyboard to monitor and vice versa; this constant refocusing can also contribute to symptoms.

What are computer glasses?

Computer glasses are prescription glasses that are specifically designed to wear when doing computer work. They allow you to focus your eyes comfortably on a computer screen, which is usually farther away than reading material is held.

General purpose bifocals and trifocals are not designed for computer work. Bifocals force the wearer to tilt the head back in order to focus on the screen, while looking through the lower portion of the bifocal lenses. While conventional trifocals allow a more normal head posture, they generally have too small an area for viewing the computer screen and the visible dividing lines can be a significant distraction.

Which kind of computer glasses are the best?

There is no one type of computer glasses that fits all or is the best for everyone. Visual ability, personal preferences of the computer operator, the type of work, the distance between the computer user’s eyes and the monitor, and lighting design in the workplace should all be taken into consideration when selecting computer glasses.

Lens design and lens options vary significantly from manufacturer to manufacturer. It’s always best to make your final selection of computer glasses based upon the advice and recommendations of your eye doctor; however, all of the options listed below have proven to be beneficial for computer users.

Progressive Addition Lenses

Surveys conducted among persons working long hours with computers revealed that Progressive Addition Lenses (PALs) were the lenses of choice. These modern lenses have more than just the cosmetic advantage of “no lines.” They provide all the benefits of bifocals but add the feature of continuous clear vision at all distances, including mid-range distance (arm’s length). Several lens manufactures have introduced PALs designed specifically for computer use. These specialized PALs allow an even wider field of view for near and intermediate working distances than standard PALs.

Anti-Reflective coating

Today’s advanced Anti-Reflective (AR) coatings eliminate bothersome reflections from overhead lights and computer monitors. AR coatings not only reduce reflections but increase the amount of light transmitted through the lenses to the wearer’s eyes. It may seem strange but AR coated lenses actually appear clearer than uncoated clear lenses…sometimes appearing to be nearly “invisible.”

Natural light sources (windows) can be especially bothersome in the workplace. When a window is located over the wearer’s shoulder, natural light striking the back surfaces of the lenses bounces directly into the wearer’s eyes. Since outside light levels are quite high, the intensity of these reflections can be even greater than reflections from light sources within the workplace. An AR coating placed on the back surfaces of the lenses eliminates these “outside” reflections as well.

High Index Lenses

Modern technology has created lenses that bend light differently so that stronger corrections are thinner than when made in conventional materials. Such lenses are called “high index”. High index materials can drastically reduce the thickness and weight of prescription lenses. Lens thickness can sometimes be cut by as much as 50% by simply using a higher index material and choosing an appropriate frame. High index materials are more shatter resistant than traditional plastic and will improve the appearance of any prescription.

Note: High index lenses bend light to a greater degree so an anti-reflective coating is especially recommended to maximize their performance and cosmetic advantages.

In Conclusion

  • Computer glasses provide a wide field of view so that the user can clearly read both their computer screen and closer printed material.
  • Anti-glare coatings can be used to eliminate bothersome reflections from windows, overhead lights and other nearby computer monitors.
  • Use of high-index lens materials keeps lenses thinner and lighter in weight.
  • Computer glasses give the most natural, comfortable vision possible.
  • Computer PALs provide clearer vision for reading and viewing screens at intermediate distances better than any previously designed lens.

If you’re one of the millions of people who use a computer on a regular basis, be sure to ask your eye doctor about “computer glasses” the next time you have your eyes examined or replace your current prescription.

Children Need Sunglasses Too

Summer or winter, what you don’t know can harm your child’s eyes! The beach, the backyard pool…even the ski slopes are very inviting but eye damage can be just around the corner. The most immediate danger is photokeratitis, a painful type of corneal sunburn linked to the bright sunlight reflected off water, sand and snow. Reflected sunlight can double the exposure to harmful UV rays. Long-term exposure to UV light can lead to cataracts, skin cancer around the eyelids and even damage to the retina.

The amount of UV that reaches earth is dependent on the latitude and elevation. More reaches the earth near the equator and at higher elevations. When the sun is directly overhead during mid day, the amount of UV reaching earth is much greater than before 10 AM or after 4 PM.

Ultraviolet damage is cumulative. Exposure to UV light, wind, and dryness can cause pingueculas. These are abnormal, but usually non-cancerous, growths on the white part of the eye near the nose. They can start in the teen years or early adulthood and can grow onto the front part of the cornea, possibly requiring surgical removal. Protection from UV exposure and wind starting early in life can help reduce the incidence of these growths. It is estimated that 80% of lifetime absorption to UV light occurs before the age of 18. Unfortunately, a recent survey found that a high percentage of parents are unaware of the potential for damage and rarely protect their children’s eyes.

Lighter colored eyes, just as lighter skin, have less pigment and are therefore more susceptible to damage from the sun. Infants are especially at risk for sun damage because of the clarity of their corneas and lenses. One of the problems with young children wearing sunglasses is that they tend to pull them off! Sunglasses made from tough, shatter-resistant, polycarbonate, are available in sizes for infants and toddlers. Some sunglasses for children even come with elastic bands built right into the frames. A variety of sun-protection hats, T-shirts and other clothing is also available for children.

Everyone, including children, should protect their eyes from the sun’s harmful rays. Sunglasses with UV protection can help boost the eyes’ ability to filter out the damaging rays. However, sunglasses that do not block UV rays should be avoided. Sunglasses shade the eyes from the bright sun and cause the pupils to dilate somewhat. If the UV rays are not blocked by the lenses, more UV enters the eyes that if no lenses are worn.

Guidelines for selecting sunglasses for your child:

  • Sunglasses should block 99% to 100% of both types of ultraviolet rays: UV-A and UV-B. Be wary of labels that claim a product blocks harmful UV without specifying exactly what amount of UV rays they block.
  • Select sunglasses that suit children’s active lifestyles. Lenses should be impact resistant and the frames should be bendable, unbreakable and/or have snap-on temples. Polycarbonate is the most impact resistant material available and the best choice for active children. Children’s sunglasses should never be made of glass.
  • Check the lenses carefully for scratches, bubbles and distortions. Here’s an easy test for non-prescription lenses: hold the glasses away from your eyes and look through the lenses at a good horizontal or vertical line, such as a window frame. If the line appears wavy instead of straight, the glasses may actually make it more difficult to see (although some distortion may be seen with prescription lenses for corrective purposes).
  • Have your child try on the sunglasses before making a purchase. The lenses should be large enough to shield the eyes from most angles (above, below and either side) and to block light that enters in around the frames. The sunglasses should also fit snugly against the bridge of the child’s nose in order to reduce the amount of sunlight that enters the eyes.
  • Check the sunglasses periodically to make sure they fit well and are not damaged. Children often don’t complain about their vision even when there is a problem. A regular check of their glasses is a good idea.
  • Look at the amount of UV protection, lens quality, and durability to assure that you buy the right sunglasses for your child. If you have questions, always consult your eye doctor.

Sources:
1. American Optometric Association
2. Prevent Blindness America

Dry Eye Syndrome: Symptoms and Treatment

dry eyesDry eye syndrome is a common condition that we see most often in older adults. We call it “keratoconjunctivitis sicca.” You can call it DES, or simply dry eye.

For millions of people, dry eye is a condition in which the eyes don’t produce enough tears to adequately lubricate and nourish the surface of the eye (the cornea) and surrounding tissues. Dry eyes can also be caused because the eyes produce poor quality tears that can’t do the job they were intended for.

Why Your Tears are Important

Tear production directly impacts the health and comfort of your eyes. Your tear glands constantly produce small amounts of tears, creating a smooth surface over the cornea. This constant lubrication is essential so your eyelids can open and close over your eyes without causing irritation or soreness.

Your tears also:

  • Reduce the risk of an eye infection
  • Wash away dirt and debris in your eyes
  • Keep the surface of your eyes smooth and clear

Symptoms of Dry Eye Syndrome

Common symptoms of dry eye syndrome include:

  • Irritation
  • Itching
  • Redness (“bloodshot eyes”)
  • An increased sensitivity to light

If you think, “Hey, that’s how I felt last week,” think back to what you were doing. We’ve all had red, dry eyes at some point. Were you in a hot, windy environment? Working in an office with air constantly blowing onto your face? Or spending too much time staring at a computer, cellphone or TV screen?

A constant breeze can dry out your eyes. Staring intently at digital displays of a TV screen can cause you to not blink as often as you should; when that happens, your eyes don’t get the moisture they need.

If you weren’t trekking across the Sahara Desert (or watching a long movie about it on TV), and you’ve noticed that your eyes feel dry more often than they used to, please let us know. We can schedule an appointment to help determine if you have dry eye and what treatment options are right for you.

Treatments for Dry Eye Syndrome

While common, dry eye syndrome isn’t something you’ll simply “get over,” like the common cold. Instead, we can prescribe one or more treatments for you to help alleviate the symptoms.

Treatments may include:

  • Applying eye drops. If your eyes are chronically dry, then applying moisture by using artificial tears throughout your day may help. Splashing water in your face won’t do the trick. That’s because your tears are more than just water. They also contain other ingredients that help fight infection and lubricate the eye to keep it moist.
  • Ointments and other medications. If you need a little help getting those tears to start flowing, we may be able to prescribe medication to help.
  • Conserving your natural tears. To keep natural tears in your eyes longer, the small ducts that allow tears to drain can be blocked with tiny silicone or gel–like plugs that can later be removed, if needed. A surgical procedure is also available to permanently close the tear ducts.

If you’re concerned about dry eye, or think you or a loved one may have the condition, give us a call to schedule an appointment. We’re here to help!

Nothing in this article is to be construed as medical advice, nor is it intended to replace the recommendations of a medical professional. For specific questions, please contact our office.

Adapted with permission from: Dry Eye: What Is It and What Can You Do To Help?CooperVision.com.

Blurry Vision Up Close? Consider Multifocal Contacts

At about age 40, many of our patients begin having difficulty focusing their eyes on objects up close. They now have to hold anything they are reading farther away from their eyes in order to see it clearly. A condition called presbyopia is a likely cause. It’s both very common and very treatable.

If you’d like an alternative to reading glasses, consider multifocal contact lenses. They allow your eyes to focus up close, far away and in between without the need for eyeglasses.

How multifocal contact lenses work

A single multifocal contact lens contains multiple prescriptions. There’s typically one prescription to correct up close vision, one for distance vision, and one for intermediate distance vision. This design lets your eyes smoothly transition for clear vision at different distances.

What’s the difference between multifocal and bifocal contacts?

Multifocal contact lenses have a range of prescriptions (optical powers) in the same lens. Much like progressive eyeglasses, multifocal lenses provide a gradual transition between the different prescriptions in each lens.

Bifocal lenses, on the other hand, have just two prescriptions in each lens. And there is a distinct edge between the near and far vision prescription areas of the lens. This can be a problem for some patients because instead of having a gradual transition between prescriptions, they have to learn how to visually switch between the two prescriptions. In addition, bifocals may adversely affect your depth perception.

Types of multifocal contacts

Manufacturers of multifocal contact lenses use either soft lens materials or “hard” rigid gas permeable (RGP) materials. In addition to conventional soft lenses, there are also advanced soft lenses made with silicone hydrogel. This material allows more oxygen to reach your eyes so they stay comfortable longer.

The most common multifocal lens design features a set of concentric circles. The circles cover the range of lens powers we prescribe so you can see up close and at different distances.

There are also blended designs that keep both the near and distance prescriptions close to the center of your eye (your pupil). This design mimics a natural viewing experience by correcting the specific points of aberration in your eyes.

Are multifocal contact lenses right for you?

We can help you determine if multifocal lenses are the best solution for you. Here are some  key benefits and drawbacks to consider.

Key benefits of wearing multifocal contacts

  • Sharper vision for the range of distances from near to far
  • A less abrupt switch between prescriptions
  • The ability to see in most conditions without extra eyewear

Drawbacks to wearing multifocal contacts

For some people, multifocal lenses may be:

  • More difficult to adjust to due to a different viewing experience
  • Accompanied by nighttime glare and hazy or shadowy vision during the adjustment period
  • More expensive because of the increased complexity in design

Alternatives to multifocal contact lenses

Multifocal lenses aren’t the best choice for everyone. Bifocals may be the answer to correct your presbyopia. Other options include:

  • Pairing reading glasses with normal contact lenses
  • Monovision contact lenses, meaning you wear one lens to correct only near vision in one eye and one lens to correct only distance vision in your other eye.
  • Surgical correction or lens implantation recommended by your doctor

If presbyopia has become a problem for you, we encourage you to make an appointment with us to discuss your options. Your eyesight and vision health are our top concern.

Contact Lenses for Dry Eyes

Have you been told you can’t wear contact lenses because your eyes are too dry? Or have you stopped wearing contacts because your lenses made your eyes feel dry and irritated?

If so, here’s some good news: today there are new contact lenses and contact lens care products that are making contact lens wear more comfortable than ever.

Dry Eyes: A Common Problem

Statistics vary from study to study, but the conclusion is consistent: dry eye problems are very common. In July 2014, Contact Lens Spectrum reported results of a survey that found approximately one-third of adult patients visiting eye care providers had some degree of dry eye.

And for computer users, the problem appears to be even worse. In a study published in American Journal of Ophthalmology (July 2013), researchers in Japan found that among full-time office workers who routinely use a computer, roughly 60 percent of males and more than 75 percent of females showed signs and symptoms of dry eye disease (DED). Risk factors included being over age 30 and using a computer more than eight hours per day.

It’s no wonder, then, that many people find their contact lenses feeling dry from time to time.

If you have severe dry eyes, the only real solution to contact lens dryness discomfort is to see your eye care provider to have your dry eye condition successfully treated before attempting or resuming contact lens wear.

But if your dry eye symptoms are relatively mild, you may find that asking your eye care provider for a different type or brand of contact lenses or switching to a new contact lens care regimen may significantly improve your contact lens comfort.

Contact Lenses Designed To Retain Moisture

Because dryness discomfort is a primary reason why people discontinue contact lens wear, several lens manufactures have introduced soft contacts that are specifically designed to retain moisture better than previous hydrogel technology. Examples of these moisture-retaining soft lenses include:

Proclear lenses (CooperVision) are made of a high-water hydrogel material and feature technology that uses molecules similar to those in human cell membranes. These molecules attract and surround themselves with water, keeping Proclear lenses moist and comfortable for 12 hours of wear or longer, according to the company. Other contact lenses that feature proprietary technology to retain moisture longer than other soft lenses include Extreme H2O lenses (Hydrogel Vision) and Dailies Total 1 lenses (Alcon).

Extreme H2O lenses are available in weekly and two-week disposable designs; Dailies Total 1 lenses are one-day disposable lenses.

Your eye care provider can discuss these and other brands of hydrogel and silicone hydrogel lenses that may stay moist and comfortable longer than your previous and/or current lenses.

Moisture-Enhancing Lens Care Products

Sometimes, changing to a different contact lens solution or lens care system can significantly improve your wearing comfort. In particular, if you wear silicone hydrogel lenses, some of these lenses will stay moist longer with the use of specific care products.

But don’t make any changes to your lens care products without first consulting with your eye doctor. Certain lenses perform better with specific solutions, and your doctor can make the best choices for you based on your specific needs.

Different brands of contact lens solutions can look the same on the store shelf. Bring all care products that you are currently using with you when you visit your doctor so there is no confusion regarding the products you are using.

Preservative-Free Lens Care

Most contact lens wearers use multipurpose care solutions for rinsing, disinfecting and storing their lenses. These products contain preservatives that sometimes can irritate your eyes and make them feel dry.

If you lenses are becoming uncomfortable — even if you have used multipurpose solutions for months without problems — ask your eye care provider if switching to a preservative-free lens care system with hydrogen peroxide as the disinfecting agent might be a better choice for you.

Daily Disposable Contact Lenses

Lens deposits that form on contact lenses over time can cause lenses to dry out more easily and cause discomfort. To eliminate day-after-day buildup on lenses, consider switching to daily disposable lenses that you discard after a single use.

Often, switching to daily disposable lenses eliminates discomfort issues, whether they are caused by lens deposits, dryness or sensitivity to preservatives in lens care products.

Rewetting Drops

contact lensesSometimes contact lens-related dry eyes can be solved with occasional use eye drops known as contact lens rewetting drops. Ask your eye care provider which brands are best for the type of contact lenses you are wearing.

Do not use artificial tears or other eye drops while wearing contact lenses without first checking with your eye doctor, as some drops can discolor or damage your lenses or cause your contacts to adhere to the surface of your eyes.