One thing we hear quite often from our patients is that they have been told in the past that they cannot wear contact lenses because they have too much astigmatism. Or, perhaps they can, but since they are over forty they would either have to put readers on over the contacts or try monovision (one eye for distance, one eye for near), and are not fond of either option.
When soft lenses for astigmatism (toric lenses) first became available, it was a landmark moment for contact lens wearers. Up until that point, the only contact lens option for patients with astigmatism was hard (or rigid) lenses. The problem with that was many cannot wear rigid lenses because their eyes are too sensitive – making the lenses too uncomfortable to wear.
So with the advent of soft toric lenses, many astigmatic patients were able to comfortably get in to contact lenses…until they reached their early forties and the reading problem kicked in. If the patient did not want to use readers with the lenses, or monovision, then they would often give up contact lens wear and go with spectacles full-time. There are good soft multifocal lenses out there, but there are no good soft toric bifocal lenses out there. Patients with astigmatism that can only wear soft lenses lost the bifocal option… UNTIL NOW.
There is a new hybrid lens available from Synergeyes called the Duette Multifocal. This lens has a rigid center with a soft skirt surrounding it. The beauty of the soft skirt is that it masks the edge effect common with rigid lenses – which is what makes those lenses uncomfortable for many patients. In addition, the skirt keeps the rigid portion more centered and stable, which is critical for good vision with the multifocal. The patient gets the best of both worlds: soft lens comfort with rigid lens clarity.
If you have astigmatism, have the over-forty reading issue and have been disappointed in the past with your contact lens options, the Duette may very well be the lens for you. Don’t have astigmatism, but bifocal contacts have not worked for you in the past? The Duette may work well for you also! It’s not like astigmatism is required!