Visit our 2 convenient locations!

5900 Heckert Rd.
P.O. Box 324
Bakerstown, PA 15007
724-443-6767 Phone
724-443-6730 Fax

4001 Freeport Rd.
Natrona Heights, PA 15065
724-226-0444 Phone
724-226-0744 Fax


Technology Improvements for Bifocal and Multi-focal Contacts

Are you tired of always switching glasses or searching for reading glasses? Do you need to wear bifocals to see both near and far? Some people find they struggle to read newspapers, books or menus and must hold them further away to be able to see the print better. If that is the case, it may be time to look at bi-focal contacts again. Great for people with active lifestyles who do not want to be chained to their reading glasses. After age 40, it is typical to lose your ability to focus on objects up close. Tasks such as painting fine details or sewing may cause you to squint or hold the object at arm’s length.

The main vision disorder that multifocal and bifocal lenses are used for is presbyopia – a condition that happens as we age which affects our ability to focus on objects that are close. For instance, if tasks such as threading a needle or reading your favorite book have become nearly impossible without the help of reading glasses, then you are probably suffering from this condition. The doctors at Bissell Eye Care can give a proper diagnosis as well as help you find the best treatment options.

Monovision involves using single-vision lenses to put your near prescription on one eye and your distance prescription on the other. Modified monovision uses a single-vision lens on one eye and a multifocal lens on the other.

Bifocal contact lenses have been around for many years, but until recently they weren’t very popular. Older bifocal designs didn’t satisfy many people, leading to frustration among wearers and prescribers alike. Today, new technology has produced more successful designs, as well as a greater variety of designs. If one design doesn’t work for you, another might.

Bifocal and multifocal lenses come in both soft and rigid gas permeable materials. They also come in a hybrid form. This means that the contacts have the option to be used and disposed of at set times.

How Bifocal Contact Lenses Work

Bifocal contact lenses have two different prescriptions in the same lens. They are similar to bifocal glasses where the top half is used for seeing far while the bottom is used for seeing close. A segmented bifocal, and sometimes also referred to as an alternating or translating bifocal places the near vision prescription in the lower part of the lens, and the normal, distance prescription is in the rest of the lens.

Multifocal Contact Lenses Differ from Bifocal Contacts

Multifocal contacts have a range of powers in each lens and are designed two different ways.

  1. Simultaneous Vision. This option is set up so your eye looks through both near and far at the same time. Your brain adapts and allows focus on either the near or far prescription depending on the distance of the object.
  2. Alternating Vision. In the alternation set up more like a bifocal glasses design. It allows your pupil to move up or down as necessary to get the proper focus.

People who once thought they could never benefit from contact lenses now have a second chance. Remember that as you begin to rely on reading glasses for tasks of everyday living, that there are alternatives to the standard bifocal glasses. Technology continually finds new ways of improving vision now and may be the time to take a second look at contact lenses.

About Bissell Eye Care: John D. Bissell, OD owns and operates Bissell Eye Care servicing Northern Pittsburgh and Alle-Kiski Valley regions. With two locations to treat patients, we offer evening and Saturday appointments. Bissell Eye Care provides comprehensive eye examinations for the entire family beginning as early as 6 months, ocular disease detection and treatment, eyeglasses, sunglasses, activewear, contact lenses, and low vision examinations for those with significant vision loss. We accept most types of vision and health insurance plans. For more information, visit or call our Bakerstown Office at 724-443-6767 or Natrona Heights office at 724-226-0444.