Cataract surgery patients have many options when it comes to modern cataract surgery. Far from having to spend days in the hospital, today patients return home the same day and often return to normal activities very quickly.
Cataract surgery involves removing the natural lens in the eye and replacing it with an artificial lens (IOL). In the past, the artificial lens that was used was a “monofocal” lens. This meant that in the past patients would only be able to see at one distance after cataract surgery. These lenses have been used for many years. Recently, two new types of lenses have been produced that help eliminate the need for glasses after cataract surgery.
Multifocal lenses are IOL’s that have multiple viewing areas. Much like bifocal glasses, these new lenses allow patients to see different distances through different parts of the lens. There are many types of multifocal lenses, and they are becoming more common in cataract surgery. As advanced as multifocal lenses are, there is now a new option for patients looking rid themselves of glasses.
Accommodating lenses are IOL’s that can move, and bend to allow for vision at all distances. Unlike a multifocal lens that does not “accommodate”, these lenses use the muscles in the eye to bend the lens like the natural lens originally did. This bending changes the shape of the lens within the eye and allows patients to better focus their vision.
Multifocal and Accommodating lenses are very different. They both aim to do the same job, but they accomplish their tasks in very different ways. Patients should discuss each lens option with their surgeon and always remember to discuss all lifestyle issues in order to pick the best lens for their give situation.
The choice of Multifocal IOL vs. Accommodating IOL will be made by the cataract surgeon. It is however important that the surgeon understand the patient’s goals before deciding which lens is best. While it is possible to remove the new IOL after surgery, it is not often advised. This makes choosing the best lens for cataract surgery an individual choice depending on the patient.