What is the difference between multifocal and monofocal intraocular lenses (IOLS)?

Monofocal intraocular lenses provide good vision correction for one distance, generally far vision. After having a monofocal IOL procedure, reading glasses are still necessary. Some patients who select monofocal IOLs, however, compensate for both near and far vision by choosing to have one eye corrected for distance vision and one eye corrected for near vision.


What does the IOL replacement procedure involve?

The intraocular lens surgery procedure is a relatively quick outpatient procedure, taking less than an hour. Using a method that varies with type of procedure performed, the ophthalmologist first removes the natural crystalline lens of your eye. Then the IOL is inserted through a small incision into the space previously occupied by the crystalline lens. The incision is small and heals quickly. No stitches are necessary once the lens is in place.

Only a local anesthetic is necessary for the procedure, and discomfort is minimal. Once the procedure is complete, a companion drives you home for a short recovery period.

Are intraocular lenses safe?

Intraocular lenses have undergone extensive research and testing in Europe, Asia, and the United States and have been proven safe for the treatment of cataracts and refractive errors. In the United States, the FDA subjected multifocal IOLs to stringent testing before granting approval. Millions of procedures to implant intraocular lenses have been successfully performed worldwide. As with any surgical procedure, there are some risks involved with IOL replacement surgery, but they are minimal and affect only a small percentage of patients.

Multifocal intraocular lenses provide vision correction at all distances. Multifocal intraocular lenses improve near vision in addition to far vision and thus are an effective treatment for presbyopia as well as cataracts.

Are both eyes treated at the same time?

The ophthalmologist will typically treat one eye at a time, with a three-week interim between procedures. However, this varies with each patient.

Will I feel the IOL after the procedure?

No, your eye will feel as it did before the procedure. In addition, the IOL will not be visible except to a trained ophthalmologist.

What results should I expect after IOL treatment?

Among the benefits of IOL treatment, you can expect good to excellent vision correction after multifocal IOL treatment. In FDA and other tests, with multifocal IOLs more than 80 percent of patients achieved distance and intermediate vision improvement of 20/25 or better, and more than 70 percent achieved 20/30 or better for near vision.