As a person ages, their eyesight often begins to deteriorate. One of the leading causes of vision loss in older patients is cataracts. When cataracts develop, the natural lens of the eye takes on a cloudy appearance that makes it difficult for patients to focus their vision.
The most effective treatment for cataracts is cataract surgery. During this procedure, the natural lens is completely removed and replaced with an intraocular lens, or IOL.
IOLs are like a permanent contact lens that replaces the lens of the eye and provides prescription strength vision treatment. There are multiple IOLs a patient can choose from for their cataract surgery. Although IOLs can be customized by several factors, including the strength of the prescription, the main decision a patient must make regarding IOLs is whether they will opt for a monofocal or multifocal lens.
Dr. Walter Choate discusses the primary differences regarding monofocal vs. multifocal IOLs with our Nashville, TN patients so that they can choose the option that is best-suited to their unique needs.
Monofocal IOLs are lenses that correct one field of vision: either near or far. For instance, if a patient received monofocal IOLs that treated nearsightedness, they would be able to see objects at a distance very clearly.
However, if they also suffered from presbyopia or farsightedness, they would still need to wear prescription glasses to focus clearly on objects that are up close.
Alternatively, if a patient suffered from both nearsightedness and age-related farsightedness, he or she could have one eye treated with a monofocal IOL that addresses nearsightedness, and the other eye treated with a monofocal IOL that addresses farsightedness.
Although some patients find it a little difficult to adjust to this type of treatment, the eyes will eventually become accustomed so that the patient can enjoy clear vision at all distances.
The primary benefit of monofocal IOLs is that they are nearly always completely covered by a patient’s medical insurance. If patients opt to receive monofocal IOLs during cataract surgery, they should have no out-of-pocket costs. Those who choose multifocal IOLs may have to cover the extra expense of these premium lenses.
A multifocal IOL is a lens that treats all fields of vision. If a patient is treated with a multifocal IOL, it is highly unlikely that he or she will require any type of prescription lens after recovering from cataract surgery.
Most patients do not report any difficulty adjusting to multifocal IOLs. Multifocal IOLs are especially effective at allowing patients to see clearly when focused on small print, such as when they are reading, working on a computer, or looking at a cell phone.
The one downside of multifocal IOLs is that they are not typically covered by the patient’s insurance plan. If patients choose to have their eyes treated with multifocal IOLs, they should expect to cover that cost on their own.
While this can be costly up front, patients should consider that they will probably save money in the long run since they will not need to continually cover the cost of prescription eyeglasses.
If you will be undergoing cataract surgery and would like to learn more about your options, Dr. Walter Choate is here to answer any questions you may have. Contact us at your earliest convenience to discuss monofocal vs. multifocal IOLs. You can reach us at (615) 851-7575.