What is a Multifocal Intraocular Lens?

A Multifocal Lens has more than one point of focus, both for distance and near allowing to focus at different distances simultaneously. This feature addresses both distant and near vision and makes the recipient less or nil dependent on glasses or contact Lenses.

What are the different Multifocal Lenses now available?

There are different types of Multifocal Lenses currently available:

  • Diffractive Multifocal IOL (e.g. ReSTOR by Alcon Laboratories)
  • Refractive Multifocal IOL (e.g. ReZOOM by Advanced Medical Optics
  • Aspheric & Diffractive Multifocal IOL(eg TECNIS by AMO)
  • Accomadative IOL (eg CrystaLens by Bausch & Lomb)
What are the advantages and disadvantages of the diffractive / refractive Multifocal IOL?

Advantages: Many patients use this opportunity of Cataract Surgery to get rid of Spectacles. The decision to opt for Multifocal Lens has to be taken after doctor examines your eyes in details and decides that your Eyes are suitable for them. Also your lifestyle, reading and driving habits have to be taken into account while planning for these Multifocal Lens. The diffractive Multifocal Lens implant provides excellent reading vision and very good distance vision. The intermediate vision is acceptable but some patients who do lots of computer work find they need to sit closer to the computer. The refractive Multifocal Lens implant provides excellent intermediate and distance vision. The near vision is typically adequate but may not be sufficient to see very small print .

If you have any of these symptoms, it is best to seek expert advice. One of the reasons to have an eye exam is not just to diagnose Cataracts or no Cataracts, but to make sure there isn't any other problem that's causing loss of vision. It could be Glaucoma, Diabetes in the Eye, other serious problems that might be changing the vision, and that's important to determine. Is it cataract alone, or is they’re any other issue going on?

Disadvantages: Few patients may still require spectacles occasionally after Surgery. 20% of patients note glare and haloes around lights at night with the diffractive Multifocal IOL, a feature that is inherent to Multifocal Lenses. These effects may interfere with your ability to drive comfortably at night. However, most patients find that they get used to this phenomenon with time and the glare and haloes become less obvious. Night driving spectacles may assist in reducing this phenomenon. You should know that approximately 7-8% of patients implanted with monofocal Lenses also notice glare and halos.

Are there any alternatives to Multifocal Lenses?

The primary alternative to multifocal lens implantation is Monofocal Lens implantation. If you request a Monofocal Lens, you will have to decide whether you want distance vision Lens implants in both Eyes or whether you want a distance vision implant in one Eye and a near vision implant in the other Eye (called MONOVISION), provides adequate distance and near vision and is best suited for patients who have tried monovision in contacts previously and like the effect. Another alternative to a Multifocal Lens is the accommodative lens implant.

Will I need glasses after Cataract Surgery?

If you opt to receive a Monofocal Lens implanted in both eyes for distance vision, you will definitely need reading glasses after Surgery. If you receive a Multifocal Lens there is a good chance you wont need glasses. 85% of patients implanted with Multifocal did not need glasses after surgery for distance or near vision according to FDA trial. The odds of becoming free of Spectacles are better if your Corneal astigmatism is low and your Eyes are otherwise healthy.

Is a Multifocal Lens recommended for every patient?

No. It is recommended for most patients, but not for patients who have problems with their retina, Glaucoma affecting central vision, Corneal astigmatism, Keratoconus, Corneal dystrophies or optic neuropathy. In addition, your doctor will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of a Multifocal Lens as it pertains to your individual lifestyle and expectations. Patients with unrealistic expectations may not be appropriate for Multifocal Lenses.

Will it take longer for my Eye to recover from Surgery?

Recovery from Cataract Surgery is the same whether you receive a Monofocal Lens or a Multifocal Lens. One can resume normal activities within few days. The brain must adjust, however, to the new optical system created with the Multifocal Lens (the way its takes time to get adjusted to new spectacles). This neural adaptation may take weeks to months and will allow better vision perception with time.