What are prescription contact lenses?

Did you know there are a few different types of contact lenses?

Once you’ve had an eye test, if you have vision problems - for example, astigmatism, age-related presbyopia or long-sightedness, you’ll likely be given a prescription. If you’ve opted to go with contacts, the three most common prescriptions are for multifocal lenses, toric lenses and spherical lenses.

And while you’ll likely be able to decide whether you choose daily wear or extended wear lenses, your prescription is determined by your optometrist, says Bupa optometrist Karen Makin. “The type of lens you’re prescribed, whether it’s a sphere, a toric or a multifocal lens, is determined by your eye test and the results,” she says.

Multifocal contact lenses

Multifocal contact lenses correct vision problems that come with presbyopia, an age-related condition that makes it difficult to focus on close-up objects.

A contact lens actually does a lot of jobs, explains Makin. “If you need one prescription for distance and a different prescription for things that are close to you, you might end up with multifocal contact lenses,” she says.

“We’re getting improved vision and results with these lenses. Multifocals have opened up the options for people who want to continue wearing contact lenses after the age of 40 – previously, they had to wear reading glasses over their contacts.”

Toric contact lenses

Toric contact lenses help to correct astigmatism, a condition that causes blurry and sometimes distorted vision. This happens when the lens, or another surface of the eye, isn’t perfectly spherical. Toric lenses are designed to suit this non-spherical curve and allow people with astigmatism to see clearly.

These lenses also have varying powers across the lens, allowing them to correct the amount of long- or short-sightedness in different parts of the eye.

Spherical contact lenses

Spherical contact lenses are prescribed for short-sightedness (myopia) and long-sightedness (hyperopia). Unlike multifocal and toric lenses, spherical lenses have the same optical power throughout the lens to correct your vision problems.

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