After you’ve had an eye test, your optometrist will give you a prescription that addresses your vision problem – for example, astigmatism, age-related presbyopia or long-sightedness. Three of the most common prescriptions are for multifocal lenses, toric lenses and spherical lenses.
Unlike other decisions you’ll make about contact lenses, such as whether to go for daily wear or extended wear lenses, you don’t have much choice when it comes to your prescription, 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.
They contain multiple powers in the one contact lens, 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 help to correct astigmatism, a condition that causes blurry and sometimes distorted vision. It occurs 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 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.