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Monofocal vs Multifocal Lenses: Pros and Cons

8 May 2021

When you’re being considered for cataract surgery, you’ll need to think about the type of lens that you’d like to be fitted during the surgery.

There are a number of different options that you can choose from, and you’ll need to consider your own priorities when deciding which type of lens you should go for – as they provide a variety of different benefits. Unless you’re a qualified eye surgeon, though, the chances are you won’t really know very much about the different lenses that you can choose from, and for this reason, we’ve created this short guide to help you make weigh up the pros and cons.

Monofocal lenses

With this type of lens, your vision will be in focus at just one distance – either near, far, or intermediate distance. You also have the option of having different lenses in each eye so that you can see at two different distances. This is called monovision, which is useful, but can take some getting used to.

+ If you suffer from astigmatism, you may be able to have this fixed by a monofocal lens called a toric lens, which could improve your vision more than having a standard monofocal lens fitted.

+ If you still require glasses after you have had your surgery, you may find that you have better vision in low light than you would have had if you had chosen multifocal lenses, as multifocals can have an impact on your ability to cope with contrasts in low light.

– If you take the option to improve your distance vision, you will still need to use glasses when reading. This also works in reverse – if you have chosen to improve your short sightedness, you may need to wear glasses for distance – for example when you are driving.

– If you have astigmatism and choose to go for the standard monofocal lens, you could find that your vision is still blurred, and you may still suffer from short sightedness or long sightedness.

Multifocal lenses

This type of lens will allow you to see near and far – similar to varifocal glasses. The lenses work by using several different optical powers at varying points across the lens, and it works by relying on your eye muscles to move when needed in order to bring the correct distance into focus. These work best if they are implanted into both eyes.

+ A large proportion of people, approximately 85 per cent, find that they no longer need to wear glasses for their daily activities once they have made the choice to have these lenses implanted.

+ Multifocal lenses can often offer excellent distance and near vision, meaning that if you work at a computer all day it could be the perfect choice for you.

– Somewhere between five and ten per cent of patients who opt for this lens suffer some kind of halo or glare when looking at lights at night. However, often, patients claim that this is something that they are able to get used to after a short period of time.

– This type of lens can sometimes be associated with a struggle with contrast, which may have a negative impact if you are trying to read something in dim light. Of course, it is bad for your eyes if you read in dim light anyway – so this should be avoided whether you have had lens replacement surgery or not.

Now you’ve read about the pros and cons of the different types of lenses, you should have a clearer idea which ones you would prefer. It may seem like a daunting decision to make, but we’re always here to help and advise you; You can call us direct on 0800 086 1064 to chat to one of our trained optical advisors – who will be happy to answer any questions you may have on cataract surgery and the different intraocular lens options available to you.

But we would highly recommend that you book a personal consultation with one of our Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeons, at your local eye hospital for a more detailed discussion about the best cataract lenses for your individual eye condition.


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