Traditionally, when a cataract develops, the eye lens is replaced with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL). The lens is usually focused for distance vision, requiring that the patient need to wear reading glasses or contact lenses to focus in on nearer objects.
Through recent advancements in lens technology, a new type of IOL is now available that can provide the patient with a greater range of vision while reducing the need for glasses. These intraocular lenses provide a full range of functional vision for patients that desire a significant decrease in their dependence on glasses.
How Multifocal Lenses Work
Multifocal lens implants contain rings which alternate between distance and near object being in focus. This means that in patients with multifocal implants, both near and distance are in focus simultaneously. By a process called neuroadaptation, the brain is able to concentrate on the desired object and in most cases, glasses are no longer needed.
Candidates for Multifocal Lens Implants
Most people that want to be free of eyeglasses are good candidates for multifocal IOL’s. However, in order to get the most out of these lenses, it is important that the eye be healthy in all ways other than the cataract. The presence of retinal disease, corneal disease, or high degrees of astigmatism can make the multifocal IOL a poor choice. For that reason, in anyone considering a multifocal lens, several additional tests are done in the office to make certain that these conditions are not present.
Risks and Complications
As with any surgery, Multifocal lens surgery has potential complications. The most common side effects of all cataract procedures include redness, irritation, light sensitivity, and infection. These risks, however, are rare and are often outweighed by the potential benefits of restoring your vision.
Complications specific to Multifocal lenses may include glare, blurred vision, and rings around lights. These side effects may make it more difficult to see while driving at night, but most people who do experience this find that it is only mildly annoying and tends to subside in time.