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How to Adapt to Multifocal Contact Lenses

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A close-up of a pair of bifocal contact lenses on a reflective surface.

Multifocal contact lenses can be an excellent approach to treating several common visual problems like presbyopia. However, like traditional glasses or contact lenses, it can take some time to get used to them. 

Your optometrist might suggest using multifocal contact lenses more frequently as you adapt to them. Given their multiple prescriptions per lens, adjusting to different vision zones might take time. 

Using the right prescription and the appropriate zones based on your focus is an important part of adapting properly to your new lenses.

What Are Multifocal Contact Lenses?

Contact lenses act as a cover or replacement for your natural lens, and typically only use one prescription. They help your eye naturally refract light so you can build a clear image of what you’re looking at.

However, while regular contact lenses help address visual problems like nearsightedness or farsightedness, they aren’t beneficial for more complicated problems like presbyopia. Instead, an optometrist can recommend multifocal contacts.

Multifocal contacts have two or more prescriptions built into a single lens. Most often, this is done by separating a lens into different visual zones—one for nearby vision and one for distant vision. Now, with modern technology becoming more and more effective, optometrists have been able to design more complex multifocals to help improve your vision even more.

Are There Different Types of Multifocal Contact Lenses?

There are several different types of multifocal contact lenses, each with its own strengths and differences. When you’re thinking about using multifocal contacts, you should speak with your optometrist. They can assess your visual needs to determine whether one type may be more suitable than another.


Bifocal contacts have two separate prescriptions built into the lenses. One of these is for near vision, while the other is for distance. Usually, there’s a clearly visible dividing line between the two prescriptions. 

This line can take some time to get used to. However, after a while, you’ll likely forget that it’s there.


Unlike bifocals, multifocals offer a transition between zones. Rather than a noticeable line, the prescription gradually transitions from nearby to distant vision. These have several different focal zones your brain can adjust to.

Concentric or Spherical Rings

Concentric lenses utilize several rings—similar to the appearance of a bullseye target—each with its own prescription. The central rings are designed to provide you with clear nearby vision, while the rings further from the center help with intermediate and distant vision.

While this may seem complicated, your brain quickly adjusts to the concept of using the rings where needed.

Segmented Bifocals

Similar to the more traditional bifocals, these lenses utilize a segmented design. The lens is divided into multiple zones, each with its own prescription. As you wear them, your brain begins to use the appropriate zone of the lens for the desired distance.

A close-up of a man putting a contact lens on his right eye.

Tips for Getting Used to Multifocals

When trying to get used to using two or more prescriptions at once, it can help to:

  • Wear your contacts regularly to give your brain time to adjust
  • Avoid switching back and forth between traditional lenses and your multifocals
  • Optimize your lighting around you to help avoid eye strain
  • Make sure that you have the right prescription
  • Look through the proper zones as recommended

However, the most valuable thing is to be patient. It’s going to take some time for your brain to automatically adjust to the concept of having different zones in your vision for different distances. Be patient with yourself, and give yourself the time you need to adjust!

If you’re struggling to get used to your new lenses, you should book an appointment with your optometrist to get their advice. They may be able to recommend an alternative or provide some advice to help you get used to multifocals.

Every person is different, and your unique eye situation will play an important role in how long it takes you to adapt. Be patient with yourself and seek help if you need it.

Where to Get Multifocals

Multifocal contacts can be an excellent way to give yourself clear vision when you’re dealing with eye conditions. However, that doesn’t mean that you’ll adjust right away. 

If you’re interested in purchasing a pair of multifocal, or need advice on how to adapt to wearing them, book an appointment with us at Hercules Optometric Group, so our team of experienced optometrists can give you the help you deserve.

Written by Total Vision

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