Significance: The effectiveness of multifocal contact lenses (MFCLs) at slowing myopia progression may hinge on the accommodative behavior of young eyes fit with these presbyopic style lenses. Can they remove hyperopic defocus? Convergence accommodation as well as pupil size and the zonal geometry are likely to contribute to the final accommodative responses.
Purpose: The aim of this study was to examine the accommodation behavior of young adult eyes wearing MFCLs and the effectiveness of these MFCLs at removing foveal hyperopic defocus when viewing near targets binocularly.
Methods: Using a high-resolution Shack-Hartmann aberrometer, accommodation and pupil behavior of eight young adults (27.25 ± 2.05 years) were measured while subjects fixated a 20/40 character positioned between 2 m and 20 cm (0.50 to 5.00 diopters [D]) in 0.25-D steps. Refractive states were measured while viewing binocularly and monocularly with single-vision and both center-distance and center-near +2.00 D add MFCLs. Refractive state was defined using three criteria: the dioptric power that would (1) minimize the root mean square wavefront error, (2) focus the pupil center, and (3) provide the peak image quality.
Results: Refractive state pupil maps reveal the complex optics that exist in eyes wearing MFCLs. Reduced accommodative gain beyond the far point of the near add revealed that young subjects used the added plus power to help focus near targets. During accommodation to stimuli closer than the far point generated by the add power, a midperipheral region of the pupil was approximately focused, resulting in the smallest accommodative errors for the minimum root mean square-defined measures of refractive state. Paraxial images were always hyperopically or myopically defocused in eyes viewing binocularly with center-distance or center-near MFCLs, respectively. Because of zone geometry in the concentric MFCLs tested, the highly aberrated transition zone between the distance and near optics contributed a significant proportion and sometimes the majority of light to the resulting images.
Conclusions: Young eyes fit with MFCLs containing significant transition zones accommodated to focus pupil regions between the near and distance optics, which resulted in less than optimal retinal image quality and myopic or hyperopic defocus in either the pupil center or pupil margins.