Eye doctors are well aware of the growing number of presbyopes in the U.S. Fitting presbyopes provides a huge opportunity for contact lens practice growth. The number of presbyopic patients is expected to double by 2030 and will account for 20% of the population. It is estimated that over 30% of patients in the average practice are presbyopes. In addition, approximately 2 million current contact lens wearers are becoming presbyopic each year… and the majority of them want to continue to wear contacts. Soft multifocal contacts provide distinct benefits for both patients and practitioners.
Benefits for Patients
We all know that for presbyopic patients, soft multifocal contacts allow them to participate in numerous activities without the hassle of glasses and provide better peripheral vision. Many people also use computers. Multifocal contacts eliminate the need to tilt the head back like patients have to with glasses. Glasses can also become uncomfortable on the bridge of the nose and on and behind the ears as well. Multifocal contacts are also a great option for patients that want to look their best. There are also benefits for children with accommodative or convergence excess problems. Most children don’t want to wear bifocal glasses and multifocal contacts allow them to have the additional plus that is needed at near. With multifocal contact lenses, younger patients may benefit from more self confidence.
Many doctors still utilize monovision to fit their presbyopic patients, but humans have a binocular visual system. There is an old adage that states, ‘two eyes are better than one’. Multifocal contacts provide improved intermediate vision that may be lacking with monovision and maintains binocular summation which enhances stereopsis and, usually, both distance and near acuity. Numerous studies have concluded that when given the opportunity to experience both multifocals and monovision, the majority of patients prefer multifocals 1,2,3 In a supplement to the July 2012 issue of Contact Lens Spectrum entitled, ‘Multifocals: The New Standard of Care’, Dr. John Schachet states, ‘We've established that multifocal contact lenses have replaced monovision as the standard of care’. I concur with that statement.
Benefits for Eye Doctors
There are also benefits to fitting multifocal contacts for doctors. The main benefit, besides the gratification of satisfying the needs of the patient, is the increase in patient referrals. Invariably, when I have successfully fit a patient with multifocals, that patient is enthusiastic and excited and always seems to have a friend, family member or co-worker that is referred for a multifocal fitting. That leads to an increase in practice revenue and profitability.
Fitting multifocal contacts benefits both patient and doctor and is the win-win solution that eye doctors are always seeking.