Patients constantly come in and tell me that their last doctor told them that they could not wear bifocal contacts because of this reason or that. While in the past we had a poor choice of lenses and the success rate many years ago was indeed very low(20-30%), that is not the case today.
Newer lenses today not only correct for both your distance and near but we can also correct for your astigmatism as well in a soft contact lens.
Gas permeable lenses also achieve these goals as well and with sharper vision. There is also a new gas permeable/soft lens hybrid bifocal lens that is available today as well.
I try to counsel my patients to have realistic expectations with any of these lenses. If you expect your vision to be crystal clear and perfect at all distances as it is with your glasses then these lenses are not for you. However, you can expect to be able to do about 85% of your daily activities with bifocal contacts. If the print is extremely small or if the lighting is poor then you may need to put on a low power reader to supplement your lenses for specific tasks such as these.
My success rate with these newer lenses is now about 90% which in this field is fantastic. There will always be some that for whatever reason will not be able to wear them. But most of my patients love the freedom these newer lens designs offer. Most of them don't even know that they are available until they come into the office.
I encourage anyone to at least ask about these new lenses from your eye care practitioner.