Multifocal lens implant choices with cataract surgery - A State of Sight #116

Multifocal lens implants can help give a full range of vision after cataract surgery from up close to far away. Recently, newer multifocal lenses have been FDA approved, giving more choices for patients to meet their visual goals.

Watch this episode of A State of Sight with Isaac Porter, MD from Porter Ophthalmology to learn about these great new options for patients who may need to have cataracts removed with surgery.

Welcome to A State of Sight, I’m Isaac Porter and this is your update in ophthalmology and eye care from Raleigh. Today, I would like to explain multifocal lens implants since it’s been a few years since we have covered this. Recently, there have been developments and now even newer lens technology is available.

Multifocal lenses are the most advanced intraocular lens implants (IOLs) available today for patients who are undergoing cataract surgery. Once the patient's clouded natural lens (the cataract) has been removed, an artificial multifocal lens can be placed inside the eye. This can give a full range of vision from up close to far away without glasses.

We advise our patients to expect not needing glasses about 90% of the time after they choose a multifocal IOL. In certain situations, they may want to use glasses to make their vision as clear as possible. For example, if someone is going to read for a while or drive a long distance at night, they may want to put on glasses to see the best that they can. Multifocal lens implants are able to provide the most freedom from glasses and the widest range of vision at different distances.


When multifocal lenses were first released from the two primary manufacturers in the United States, Abbott and Alcon, they included a stronger power for the near vision zone. If you remember, multifocal lenses have many rings on the lens. Some of the rings are focused for near vision and the other rings are focused for distance vision.

As newer versions of these IOLs have been developed, the near power has been reduced. That has been shown to help improve vision at all three primary distances that make up a full range of vision: distance, intermediate, and near.

The farthest range is distance vision, which we use to drive or watch TV. Intermediate vision is about at arm's length as in viewing a desktop computer or shopping shelves. Near vision is primarily for up close reading to see a book or look at your phone.

The newest multifocal lenses including the Tecnis multifocal and Restor lenses have been shown to provide better vision through a range of distances. Previously, some earlier lenses did not have very good coverage in the intermediate range, but this has improved.

Also, since the modern IOLs have less rings / circles built into the lens, patients seem to be less bothered by glare and halos at night when they look at a point source of light.

On the horizon, there are other types of lenses available internationally that may give even better vision. These include trifocal lenses and newer types of multifocal lenses that appear to reduce some of the unwanted side effects and also improve vision.

If you have any questions about this great technology, please post and we will be happy to answer. We hope to see you again soon, next time on A State of Sight.

Give us a call at (919) 876-4064 if you have been diagnosed with cataracts to learn if multifocal lens implants may be an option for you. Also, see our webpage about cataracts for more information.