Multifocal (Distance and Enhanced Near Vision) Cataract Surgery
Like most people, you probably find yourself having to take reading glasses on or off to see at various distances, and most people find this to be inconvenient and cumbersome. Because life requires being able to see at far and near, you may very likely have several pairs of reading glasses, perhaps in every room of the house! Or perhaps you are wearing a bifocal or trifocal that limits your field of vision and near and mid-range.
Today’s modern cataract surgery now allows patients to have many choices in the types of lenses that can be implanted during cataract surgery, and among them is a multifocal intraocular lens (IOL). Unlike monofocal (standard) IOLs that limits patients to seeing at only one distance, the multifocal IOL is designed to allow improved vision at various distances by using different points of focus. The goal of a multifocal IOL is to provide functional vision at different distances to decrease dependency upon glasses. Most patients that elect multifocal IOLs enjoy the freedom from eyeglasses and contact lenses for activities such as watching television, driving, using the cell phone or mobile device and computer, and reading. Medicare and other insurance providers will cover all or part of surgery utilizing a traditional IOL, but they will require you to pay the difference in cost between a standard IOL and multifocal IOL. This will be explained in more detail at the time of your consultation.
Multifocal IOLs are designed using diffractive and refractive optics, and this design allows for distance and near vision to be corrected at the same time. It is not the same concept as wearing a bifocal or trifocal, as the vision will not be “split” at the bottom for near. The optics of the IOL allow light rays to focus onto the retina for both near and far objects, and the brain learns through this lens how to automatically select the focus that is appropriate for the activity in which you are engaged at the moment. This phenomenon, called neuroadaptation, does require some time before the best results are achieved. As an everyday example of neuroadaptation, people automatically “tune out” conversations by other people in a restaurant that they are not engaged with. Those conversations are still being heard, but the brain is actively ignoring them. Multifocal IOLs provide improved distance and near vision, and although they are designed to reduce your need for eyeglasses, they may not completely eliminate the need for eyeglasses for some activities. Additionally, patients with multifocal IOLs may find that the best distance for holding books or other reading material may differ slightly from where it was prior to surgery, but as the brain and viewing habits grow accustomed to the new implants, the quality of vision also improves.
Missouri Eye Institute-Springfield and Joplin each utilize a femtosecond laser on premises to provide laser-assisted cataract surgery for all types of cataract surgery. This laser platform allows the surgeon to create 3-D imaging of your eye, which provides more accurate information and treatment choices during your cataract removal. The laser’s advanced technology allows the surgeon to use precisely-placed laser pulses to effectively soften the cataract for removal, and it reduces risk of infection during the procedure. It helps to ensure the most appropriate condition for the best lens placement, which ultimately helps to restore your vision to its fullest potential. Additionally, the laser can be used to aid in the correction of astigmatism, an eye condition that causes the curvature of the front of the eye (cornea) to not be perfectly round. The femtosecond laser can be used to correct minor to moderate amounts of astigmatism by creating incisions to relax the curvature of the cornea, thereby reducing or eliminating astigmatism. The use of the femtosecond laser during multifocal IOL cataract surgery is included in the fees for this type of implant.
Finally, if implantation of a multifocal IOL does not allow optimal vision for your specific visual demands, Missouri Eye Institute offers a Vision Quality Pledge that provides further laser vision correction at no additional charge within the first six months after your procedure. We want you to be able to see your best, and are the only ophthalmology group in southwest Missouri to offer a quality pledge.