To determine how multifocal contact lenses affect contact lens discomfort.
This randomised, participant-masked, crossover clinical trial fitted 84 uncomfortable soft contact lens wearers (30-40 years old) with single vision and multifocal contact lenses. Contact lens discomfort was assessed using the Contact Lens Dry Eye Questionnaire-8 (CLDEQ-8).
There was no difference between multifocal and single vision survey scores (p = 0.08). There was an interaction between lens type and age group (p = 0.05). CLDEQ-8 scores with the single vision lens were less symptomatic than multifocal scores in participants <35 years old (p = 0.01). Single vision and multifocal scores for the older age group were not different. Subjectively, those in the <35 year-old age group preferred the single vision lens for intermediate (p = 0.02), distance (p = 0.003), and overall vision (p = 0.002). In the ≥35 year-old age group, no lens was significantly preferred for vision.
Participants in the younger age group had more favourable wearing experiences with the single vision lens compared to the multifocal lens. The older age group, however, had similar wearing experiences with both lens types. While younger contact lens wearers may prefer the wearing experience with single vision lenses, some uncomfortable contact lens wearers approaching 40 years old may benefit from wearing a multifocal contact lens sooner in life than is typically practised.

© 2020 The Authors Ophthalmic & Physiological Optics © 2020 College of Optometrists.