To compare the performance of a low-addition silicone hydrogel multifocal soft lens with other soft lens correction options in a group of habitual soft lens wearers of distance correction who are symptomatic of early presbyopia.
This clinical study was designed as a prospective, double-masked, randomized, crossover, dispensing trial consisting of four 1-week phases, one for each of the correction modalities: a low-addition silicone hydrogel multifocal soft lens, monovision, habitual correction, and optimized distance visual correction. The prescriptions of all modalities were finalized at a single fitting visit, and the lenses were worn according to a randomized schedule. All lenses were made from lotrafilcon B material. A series of objective vision tests were conducted: high- and low-contrast LogMAR under high- and low-room lighting conditions, stereopsis, and critical print size. A number of other data collection methods used were novel: some data were collected under controlled laboratory-based conditions and others under “real-world” conditions, some of which were completed on a BlackBerry hand-held communication device.
All participants were able to be fit with all four correction modalities. Objective vision tests showed no statistical difference between the lens modalities except in the case of low-contrast near LogMAR acuity under low-lighting levels where monovision (+0.29 ± 0.10) performed better than the multifocal (+0.33 ± 0.11, P=0.027) and the habitual (+0.37 ± 0.12, P<0.001) modalities. Subjective ratings indicated a statistically better performance provided by the multifocal correction compared with monovision, particularly for the vision associated with driving tasks such as driving during the daytime (93.3 ± 8.8 vs. 84.2 ± 23.7, P=0.05), at nighttime (88.8 ± 11.7 vs. 74.9 ± 23.6, P=0.001), any associated haloes or glare (92.0 ± 10.6 vs. 78.0 ± 22.8, P=0.003), and observing road signs (90.1 ± 11.8 vs. 79.4 ± 20.2, P=0.027). Preference for the multifocal compared with monovision was also reported when watching television (95.0 ± 6.4 vs. 82.6 ± 20.1, P=0.001) and when changing focus from distance to near (87.0 ± 13.4 vs. 66.1 ± 32.2, P<0.001).
For this group of early presbyopes, the AIR OPTIX AQUA MULTIFOCAL—Low Add provided a successful option for visual correction, which was supported by the results of subjective ratings, many of which were made during or immediately after performing such activities as reading, using a computer, watching television, and driving. These results suggest that making a prediction of “success or not” based on consulting room acuity tests alone is probably unwise.