When a cataract is removed, the focusing power provided by the natural crystalline lens is replaced by an artificial intraocular lens (IOL).
For the past 20 years surgeons chose the IOL implant power that was designed to correct distance vision only. That’s because there really weren’t any other options for patients. All lens implants were of a type called “monofocal” lens implants. A monofocal lens implant provides excellent vision after cataract surgery–but only at one set distance–usually for seeing things at a distance.This means seeing distant signs when driving, going to a movie or going to a ballgame, a monofocal lens implant will provide the vision you need to see clearly. However, with a monofocal lens implant you will most likely need to wear glasses for any type of near or intermediate vision activity–for example reading, knitting, sewing, playing cards or keeping your golf score.
Am I a Candidate for Multifocal IOL’s?
Discuss your visual needs with your optometric physician for an independent assessment of your suitability for these advanced technology IOL’s. In preparation for your visit to our office, you may want to begin thinking about what your activities and lifestyle needs are so that you can discuss them with the staff.
Once cataract surgery is recommended to improve your vision, Omni’s professional staff will spend the time necessary to review what typical daily activities are most important to you and help determine whether being independent of glasses for those activities is something that you would like to achieve. In order to achieve your goal of being able to see at far, intermediate (arms-length) and up close for reading vision, your surgeon will recommend one of the advanced intraocular lens technologies available today. Each of these advanced technology implantable lenses uses a slightly different optical design to help you achieve your goal of clear vision at all distances. The surgeon and our staff will discuss their recommendation based on the many factors obtained in your consultation.
Should you decide to have a multifocal lens implant, the staff will fully explain the additional fees related to the multifocal lens implant that you will be responsible for. Medicare and most insurances cover the cost of the cataract surgery, the surgical facility fee and the surgeon’s fee, but not the cost of the multifocal lens. The additional cost of the multifocal lens is the responsibility of the patient. Our staff will review the cost and payment options, should you decide that the multifocal lens is the best choice.
Common Questions About the Multifocal Intraocular Lens
How is a multifocal lens different from traditional monofocal intraocular lenses?
Unlike traditional single-vision lens implants, a multifocal lens provides quality vision both at a distance and up close. Traditional single-vision lenses usually provide good vision only at a distance with limited ability to see objects that are near without glasses.
How does the multifocal lens replace the cataract?
The natural lens inside the eye is gently removed through a small micro-incision in the edge of your eye’s cornea. The lens implant is inserted in its place to permanently replace it. The procedure usually takes about 15 to 45 minutes and vision is usually improved immediately.
Will I still need to wear glasses if my surgeon recommends a multifocal lens?
The results will vary depending upon your vision, lifestyle and the anatomy of your eyes. Most people find that they need glasses to read small type or drive at night. Most people however can go to the store or conduct many of their daily activities without depending on glasses.
How long after surgery until I see my best?
Like most procedures, this depends upon the overall health of your eye. For most people, vision is noticeably within a matter of days and continues to improve during the first few weeks after the procedure.
Does the multifocal lenses require an adjustment period?
Yes. For most people there is a period of weeks when your brain is learning to “see” up close and at a distance with the new lens.
This adjustment period is usually complete within 6 to 12 weeks but can take up to 6 months. Also, with all multifocal lenses, some people report halos or glare around lights. Again, for most people this diminishes over time. For some, it becomes less troublesome but never completely goes away. Most people report that the ability to see near and far without the distortions and glare caused by a cataract outweighs any visual side effects associated with the lens.
Are there any risks of having the multifocal lens procedure?
Yes. With any surgical procedure there are risks. The biggest risk with any cataract procedure is infection. Less than one quarter of one percent of patients having a lens implant procedure ever get an infection and most are treated successfully with medications. However, infections can cause a severe or total loss of vision.
Advances in IOL Technology
Today, Omni’s board certified surgeon Dr. Douglas Grayson is highly experienced in implanting a variety of IOL’s and able to offer a choice of multifocal lens implants when you have cataract surgery. A multifocal lens implant provides excellent vision after cataract surgery at distance, intermediate and near. Currently three types of multi-focal lens implants are approved for use, ReSTOR®, ReZoom™ and Crystalens™ multifocal lens implants are available for which you may be a candidate. For the vast majority of patients, having a multifocal lens implant means that you will be able to see at distance and up close without being dependent on glasses. Patients choosing to have a multifocal lens implant will likely find that they can drive, watch television, read or do crafts without the need for glasses.
Freedom and Independence?
In general, patients who choose to have monofocal lens implant will be dependent on glasses either some or most of the time in most cases. Patients who choose to have multifocal lens implants will be dependent on glasses either some or most of the time in only about 15% of cases. Therefore, patients choosing multifocal lens implants typically experience a greater overall freedom from glasses allowing them to participate in most everyday activities with less dependence on, or the hassle of glasses.