Multifocal Intraocular Lens Implants (multifocal IOLs) are a relatively new phenomenon in the world of vision correction, with the first FDA-approved lens hitting the market in 2005. Don’t be swayed by the seemingly recent developments; multifocal IOLs are an effective way to expand your range of vision, with little to no post-surgical complications. Working as a substitute for traditional single-lens IOLs during cataract surgery, these premium lenses offer patients additional options when it comes to their vision enhancement.
Multifocal IOLs—What Are They?
Multifocal IOLs aren’t your run-of-the-mill intraocular lenses. Traditionally, cataract or eye correction patients who underwent surgery received artificial corrective lenses designed to enhance distance vision only. Most patients still suffered from varying levels of post-surgical presbyopia, which required them to wear reading glasses or bifocals. Now cataract or laser surgery patients can choose the option of multifocal IOL implants.
What’s the difference between these lenses and traditional IOLs? Multifocal IOLs can correct all vision variances, including greatly reducing presbyopia and the consistent need for reading glasses. Most multifocal IOLs work like an “in-house” bifocal lens for the eye to accurately distribute light at any focal point, creating clear vision at any distance. The lens provides near and far vision capability at the same time at all times. Your brain will quickly learn to adjust to the correct focus depending upon your activity.
The Benefits of Multifocal IOLs
Multifocal IOLs offer many benefits for patients interested in removing the need to wear or becoming less dependent upon glasses. Because of their bifocal structure, this two-in-one lens is not dependent upon eye movement and alters itself independently to optimize incoming light. Multifocal IOLs can also be combined with their single-lens sister IOLs for optimal vision enhancement. Multifocal IOLs are also safe and comfortable, acting much like a permanent contact lens, and can be implanted in either one or both eyes.
The Cost of Multifocal IOLs
Costs will vary based on unique patient needs and insurance. Because multifocal IOLs have additional features compared to their single-lens counterparts, the cost of the lenses and procedure itself is increased, as well as out-of-pocket deductibles and copayments. These enhancements are not considered a medical necessity, especially if the patient without cataracts is electing to receive implants. However, for a lot of patients, the high success rate and the reduced need for glasses far outweighs the cost of surgery.
Are Multifocal IOLs for Me?
When considering multifocal IOLs, the first thing to consider is how you want to see. Do you drive long distances for work? Spend most of your day on a computer or read a lot? Are you constantly in dim light? Occasionally, multifocal IOL wearers experience mild glaring or halos around their eyes. These small compromises in vision should be taken into consideration, but for most patients, these are only minor symptoms to otherwise clear and focused vision.
If you have pre-existing conditions or health issues like astigmatism or glaucoma, it is not recommended that you undergo corrective eye surgery. When considering if multifocal IOLs are right for you, talk with Dr. Debra Shim, who will be able to assess your eye health, health history, and any current or future precautions.