By Daphne Chiew Le Min, School of Medicine, Imperial College London

The contact lens market has expanded multifold over the years, leading to large numbers of contact lens wearers and an increasing demand for multifocal contact lenses. Mr Shaikh Ahmad Zahid Bin Shaik Alwie, Manager and Optometrist of YES Eyewear Pte Ltd, gave a short introduction into multifocal contact lenses with his lecture “Fitting of Soft Multifocal Contact Lenses Made Simple”, at the Singapore Primary Eye Care Symposium (SPECS) 2019 held from 23-24 July 2019 at One Farrer Hotel.

The many factors and permutations that the optometrist must consider, such as the preferences of the patient, the material of the lens or the fitting power, pose significant challenges when fitting these lenses for a patient. With regard to lens material, keeping in mind the fact that most presbyopic patients have poor film stability, multifocal lenses with moisture seal technology could be preferable. Similarly complex, the minute changes to fitting power of multifocal contact lenses could drastically alter the patient’s experience with the lens.

As such, Mr Shaikh emphasised that the most important but toughest aspect of multifocal contact lens fitting would be to ensure that the patient’s expectations are well managed. He believes that understanding a patient’s lifestyle is key to deciding if multifocal contact lenses are suitable for them, and that annual check-ups should be done to determine if a patient’s eligibility has changed. Some information he believes is essential includes how the patient usually copes with their visual deficit, what the patient expects out of this fitting and ensuring that the patient has realistic expectations regarding post-fitting visual acuity. It is also good to remind the patient that multifocal contact lens fitting is complex, which means that the appointment would also take longer than usual.

With the large number of different types, designs and models of contact lenses on the market, Mr Shaikh then used various case studies to highlight the importance for primary eye care practitioners to be familiar with the various options of multifocal lenses and the fitting guides, to decide what is best for the patient.