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Multifocal Lens Implantation

Recent advances in eye surgery and multifocal lens implant design mean that glasses for distance and reading can be a thing of the past.

The natural lens can be replaced by a new multifocal lens implant. This advanced design of lens corrects the focusing of the eye. It has the advantage of being able to correct both near, intermediate and distance vision.

Satisfaction rates with multifocal lenses are very high (about 95%) however there are  some additional factors to think about when deciding whether to opt for a multifocal lens implant.

•Not all patients are completely free of spectacles after multifocal lens implantation. About 10% of patients will still require glasses for some tasks.

• It often takes time to adapt to seeing through the new implants. Vision is often much better with the lens implants in both eyes rather than in just one.

•Whilst a multifocal IOL can reduce the dependency on glasses, in some people it might result in slightly less sharp vision in dim light (reduced contrast sensitivity).

•Following multifocal lens implantation “starbursts” or halos around lights at night are not uncommon. In the vast majority of cases these phenomena are not troublesome and they tend to fade over time. However, in a few individuals they may cause significant problems and can make night driving difficult. If you do a lot of night driving, multifocal lenses may not be for you.

•Although the selection of the correct power of the lens implant is based upon very accurate measurements, it is not an exact science. This occurs because of tiny variabilities in the position in which the lens finally sits in the eye. Occasionally patients may benefit from correction of any residual refractive error with laser refractive surgery or implanting a second “piggy-back” intra-ocular lens into the eye. If laser enhancement were necessary I would collaborate with a local laser refractive surgeon to perform this treatment. If laser refractive surgery were required this would incur an additional fee.

The decision on whether to have a multifocal lens implant is an individual one. Start by thinking about how strong is your desire to reduce your dependence on glasses. Although multifocal lenses carry no guarantees they greatly improve the odds that you will be much less reliant on glasses. Satisfaction rates with multifocal implants are high but occasionally these lenses are associated with other visual phenomena as outlined above. In approximately 2% of cases the patient elects to have the lens removed and replaced with a non multifocal implant. Lens removal requires a second operation (with its associated small risk of  complications).

My preferred multifocal implants are the AT LISA trifocal manufactured by Ziess and the Symfony intra-ocular lens manufactured by Abbott Medical Optics. Further patient orientated details are available on their websites.

Please read this information on multifocal lens implantation in conjunction with the page on phacoemulsification cataract surgery.