Purpose: To determine whether bifocal soft contact lenses with a distance center design provide myopic defocus to the peripheral retina similar to corneal reshaping contact lenses.
Methods: Myopic subjects underwent five cycloplegic autorefraction readings centrally and at 10, 20, and 30 degrees temporally, nasally, superiorly, and inferiorly while wearing Proclear Multifocal "D" contact lenses with a +2.00-diopter add power (CooperVision, Fairport, NY) and after wearing Corneal Refractive Therapy (Paragon Vision Sciences, Mesa, AZ) contact lenses for 2 weeks.
Results: Fourteen subjects completed the study. Nine (64%) were female, and 12 (86%) were white. The average (± SD) spherical equivalent noncycloplegic manifest refraction for the right eye was -2.84 ± 1.29 diopters. The average logMAR best-corrected, binocular, high-contrast visual acuity was -0.17 ± 0.15 while wearing the bifocal soft contact lenses and -0.09 ± 0.16 after corneal reshaping contact lens wear (analysis of variance, p = 0.27). The orthokeratology contact lens yielded a more myopic peripheral optical profile than the soft bifocal contact lens at 20 and 30 degrees eccentricity (except inferior at 20 degrees); the two modalities were similar at 10 degrees eccentricity.
Conclusions: Our data suggest that the two modalities are dissimilar despite the statistical similarities. The corneal reshaping contact lens shows an increase in relative peripheral myopic refraction, a pattern achieved by other studies, but the bifocal lens does not exhibit such a pattern. The low statistical power of the study could be a reason for lack of providing statistical difference in other positions of gaze, but the graphical representation of the data shows a marked difference in the peripheral optical profile between the two modalities. More sophisticated methods of measuring the peripheral optical profile may be necessary to accurately compare the two modalities and to determine the true optical effect of the bifocal soft contact lens on the peripheral retina.