Understanding Presbyopia and ADD Power

Last Updated: Sep 12, 2016 10:36AM CDT

As you age, you’ll likely begin to experience a condition called presbyopia. Presbyopia makes it difficult to focus on nearby objects. This happens because the lens in your eye naturally stiffens with age and can’t bend to bring close objects into focus. ADD power is used to correct the symptoms of presbyopia.

Treating Presbyopia 

Presbyopia can be corrected in many ways. Quick fixes such as magnifying glasses or holding reading materials at an arm’s length away may work temporarily. When these fixes are no longer adequate or convenient many options exist, including:

  • Reading Glasses. Readers come in a variety of strengths and are typically inexpensive. While reading glasses can help you see objects in your close-range vision clearly, they aren’t made to correct long range vision problems.
  • Bifocals and Trifocal Lenses. Multifocal lenses combine different types of correction into a single lense. There are corrections for distance vision at the top of the lense and correction to help you read on the bottom. There are many different types of lenses.
  • Lined - have distinct areas for each lense power. Horizontal lines appear on the lens where the corrections change. Images may appear to jump as you look through different portions of the lens.
  • No-Line or Progressive - Smooth, seamless transitions between lense powers. Images don’t appear to jump when changing the portion of the lense you are looking through. Often the most expensive option.

What to Expect

  • Higher Costs. Bifocals, multifocal and progressive lenses typically cost more than single distance lenses. Progressive lenses are often the most expensive.
  • ​​Larger Frames. While you may not have to purchase new frames, be sure to pick out larger frames. A larger surface area will allow more room for each type of vision correction.
  • Adjustment Time. It takes two weeks to a month to adjust to bifocal, multifocal and progressive lenses. The eye and the brain need to learn how to adjust to the different refractive powers of the lenses.
  • Needing to Practice. It will take time to find just the right spot to look through for both distance and close-up vision. You’ll change how you gaze and how you move your body. You may find yourself moving your entire head rather than just your eyes to see objects at different distances. If you need any assistance, feel free to contact our patient support team at any time.

How to Use Your Prescription


Your Opternative prescription, containing ADD power, can be used anywhere for multifocal lenses. Simply choose the lense type that’s right for you in addition to the ADD power that is outlined on your prescription.

When purchasing over-the-counter reading glasses, choose a pair whose magnification matches the ADD power provided within your digital prescription. Reading glasses shouldn’t be worn with multifocal contacts.

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