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50+: Live Better, Longer

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Baby Boomers See Better Because of Contact Lens Advances


Soft lenses may be more comfortable in the short term, Bergenske says, but in the long term the hard lenses are just as comfortable. "Soft bifocal lenses are available as disposables," he says. "This has some great advantages, including the ability to try different lenses and make the necessary adjustments to the vision correction."

Start-up costs for the two types are comparable, but hard lenses may be less expensive in the long term because they can last for years, Bergenske tells WebMD.

Another potential option may be monovision contact lenses, Zadnick says. "One eye wears a contact lens for away objects and the other eye wears a contact lens for near objects," she says. About 70% of users adapt to this new way of seeing things, according to Zadnick.

"There are a lot of options with contacts," says David Haight, MD, a spokesman for the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the director of refractory surgery at the Manhattan Eye and Ear Hospital in New York City.

Some people may combine bifocal and monovision lenses by wearing a bifocal in one eye and targeting the other eye to be slightly more corrected for reading, he explains.

Emphasizing that ophthalmologists can be creative in selecting lenses for patients, he says that there is "a lot of individual customization that can be done in this field."

As for surgery, there are currently few options for presbyopia, which is sometimes erroneously called age-related farsightedness. "We may have a good surgical solution for presbyopia in the next five years, but right now these options are all investigational," he says.

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