Just like with glasses, lenses can be multifocal. This means that they can be used to see both far away or close by, like for reading for example. This is especially important for those who suffer from presbyopia. This allows them to see clearly far away, yet easily read up close because of the concentric design. The advantage of multifocal lenses – with respect to glasses – is that the lenses follow the movement of the eye so that the whole field of vision can be read and one does not have to look downwards.
There are also bifocal lenses. Both these and multifocal lenses have the same goal, with the only difference being the design of the lens.
Multifocal lenses come in both hard and soft lenses. There are multifocal soft contact lenses in Distance and Near.
With the Distance lens you can see and read far away, with the emphasis on FAR. The Distance lens is placed on the dominant eye. With the Near lens you can see and read far away, with the emphasis on READING.
When you get multifocal lenses for the first time, it is best to keep in mind that there is an adjustment period of about two weeks, because looking through lenses is very different from wearing glasses. The brain needs time to adjust.