Picture the scene, out for dinner with friends at the local Shoreditch inspired gastro-pub which has a lovely gin selection and its own microbrewery to boot. After an aperitif the moustachioed and also Shoreditch inspired waiter hands you the menu printed in the latest jazzy Mac font. The lights are dim, only a lowly candle or two and some fancy industrial up-lighting. The menu you realise is unreadable, arms are just not long enough to get the descriptions of the delicious fayre in focus, the candle just isn’t enough. You resort to borrowing a friend’s reading specs only to realise that they have some sort of sloping thing going on with their vision making reading even more uncomfortable. Disaster everted, one of your group reads out the choices. Sounds somewhat familiar?

This is now one of the biggest issues we hear about. Patients come in to the clinic irritated and occasionally exasperated with trying to see at near, either their phone, iPad, dinner or an enjoyable book. This involves either finding “a good light” or pushing the target further away to see clearly. Reading spectacles, if they are worn, are often on and off many times a day and left in various places, mislaid and many find this whole situation very frustrating. For existing contact lens wearers this can be equally maddening.

This is the world of presbyopia or “old sight” – charming. Much like adjusting the focus on a camera, the natural lens within the eye of people under 40 years of age changes shape to properly focus on objects at different distances. As the eye ages, it loses its ability to adjust, resulting in diminished up-close vision. Presbyopia develops gradually, with most people developing symptoms by their early to mid-40s. The most common symptoms of presbyopia are blurred vision at normal reading distance, including while wearing normal glasses or contact lenses, headaches, eyestrain and fatigue while reading or doing close-up work. Nearly everyone experiences presbyopia; scientists believe this to be a natural part of aging that cannot be prevented; however, there are many treatment options for presbyopia including bifocals, reading glasses, and multifocal contact lenses.

Happily, this is good news. Multifocal contact lenses are now available in an impressive range of prescriptions and can be worn as a daily lens or a monthly replacement contact lens. Multifocal contact lenses work in just the same way as the usual contact lenses but are specifically designed for those struggling to see close to or adjust vision between varying distances. The newest technology in contact lens innovations also allows superb comfort and oxygen permeability for either the occasional wearer or for the person who wants to wear lenses much of the time.

A multifocal lens wearer should be able to work at the computer, read, look at a phone, and see clearly in the distance. Let’s be realistic, it can take some adjustment of course, but certainly for most only a short adjustment period is necessary to make the most of the freedom from spectacles.

So if you’d prefer to order a good steak rather than a bit of snake, or something worse, then  book your appointment.