Oculase Articles

Multifocal Lens Implant: All your questions answered!

Mr Tariq Ayoub - 22 Dec 2023

Multifocal lens implants reduce the need for glasses. But what are they? This article answers all the questions you have about these lens implants.

Multifocal lens implant

What are Multifocal Lens Implants?

Multifocal lens implants are advanced lens implants used during cataract surgery and lens replacement surgery, including refractive lens exchange surgery. Multifocal lens implants have more than one focal point (unlike monofocal lens implants). This lets you see clearly without glasses and/or contact lenses with distance, intermediate, and near vision. Multifocal lenses are ideal if you wish to be free of using glasses.

How do Multifocal Lens Implants work?

Multifocal lens implants allow you to see clearly without glasses at multiple distances including distance, intermediate, and near. These lens implants have sophisticated optics, designed with rings or enhancements at the front and/or back surface of the lens. This allows you see at different distances simultaneously, therefore reducing the need for glasses.

The number of rings and the distance between them determine the clarity at various distances. More rings may allow you to see clearly at multiple distances but may also increase the chance of haloes and glare.

We can further discuss with you whether multifocal lens implants would be suitable for your condition in our initial consultation.

What are the different types of Multifocal Lens Implants?

Many types of multifocal lens implants help free you from glasses. Popular types of lenses include bifocal lens implants, trifocal lens implants, and EDOF lens implants. The type of lens implant best suited for you is based on the health of your eyes, scans of your eyes, and your visual needs.

At Oculase, we run an in-depth assessment of your eyes and advise you on the lens implant best suited for you.

What is the difference between Monofocal and Multifocal Lens Implant?

Monofocal lens implants only improve vision at one type of distance, generally at a far distance. You will need glasses for all other distances.

Multifocal lens implants can improve your vision at multiple distances. You will not need to wear glasses for most activities.

Learn more about lens implants used in cataract surgery and refractive lens exchange surgery here.

What are the side-effects of using Multifocal Lens Implants?

Multifocal lens implants improve your vision significantly. However, they can cause visual phenomena such as haloes, glare, and, starburst. These changes to your vision will diminish with time in most people, through a process called neuroadaptation.

Some people also notice a change in their perception of colour and contrast. These changes typically don’t bother most people, but please do discuss any concerns about any changes with us.

What are Trifocal Lens Implants?

Trifocal lens implants are a type of multifocal lens implant. Trifocal lens implants have three distinct focal points – distance, intermediate and near vision. These lens implants allow:

  • Distance vision – you can see road signs clearly while driving without glasses
  • Intermediate vision – you can work on your computer or watch TV without glasses
  • Near vision – you can read a menu or text messages on your phone without glasses

Trifocal (multifocal) lens implants are ideal if you seek freedom from glasses for most activities. They are associated with a slightly higher rate of visual issues, such as haloes and glare, compared to other types of lenses. In most people, these optical phenomena reduce with time.

Suitability for a trifocal lens implant is based on a thorough assessment of your eyes. Book a consultation with our surgeon to discuss this with us further.

What are EDOF Lens Implants?

EDOF (Extended Depth of Focus) lens implants have no fixed focal points. Instead, they give a continuous range of vision from distance to intermediate, giving you freedom from glasses for most activities. However, you will need glasses for close-up work (near vision), such as reading small print.

Unlike trifocal lens implants, EDOF lens implants are less likely to cause haloes and glare. Therefore, these lens implants are an excellent option for people with active lifestyles or those who cannot cope with visual disturbances.

At Oculase, we offer EDOF lens implants to those who are suitable. Book a consultation today to find out whether these lenses are the right option for you.

Can multifocal lens implants correct astigmatism?

Multifocal lens implants are designed to correct myopia, hyperopia, and presbyopia.

Toric multifocal lens implants are specially designed multifocal lenses that help correct astigmatism, as well as myopia, hyperopia, and presbyopia. They will reduce any blurred vision and distortion you may experience. You will be able to see clearly at multiple distances with a toric multifocal lens implant.

Are toric lens implants the same as multifocal lens implants?

Toric lens implants can be monofocal or multifocal.

Multifocal lens implants are designed to correct myopia, hyperopia and presbyopia. Toric multifocal lens implants are designed to correct myopia, hyperopia, presbyopia, and astigmatism.

What are the advantages of multifocal lens implants?

The advantage of multifocal lens implants is their ability to correct your vision and free you from glasses after cataract surgery and refractive lens exchange surgery. You will be able to perform daily activities such as driving, reading labels while shopping, watching TV, or reading the menu at a restaurant without the need for glasses or contact lenses. The enhanced visual function you will achieve will improve your quality of life.

Book a consultation with our surgeon, and we will discuss the right course of action for you.

What are the disadvantages of multifocal lens implants?

The main disadvantage of multifocal lens implants is seeing haloes and glare after surgery. This side effect diminishes in most people within 3-6 months, through neuroadaptation. In less than 2% of people, it never fully resolves. If you continue to find it bothersome, you have the option to have lens implant exchange surgery.

Some people also notice a change in how they see colour and contrast after the surgery. However, this is usually not bothersome.

Are multifocal lens implants permanent?

Yes, multifocal lens implants are permanent. They replace your natural lens and give you clearer vision.

However, the lens implant can be exchanged in rare instances, such as when the implant becomes cloudy (opacified) or needs to be replaced due to bothersome haloes and glare.

Will I need to wear glasses after having multifocal lens implants?

You will not have to wear glasses for most activities if you have a multifocal lens implant. You will be able to read road signs in the distance, watch TV, and read without glasses. However, you may need glasses for certain tasks that require precision vision, such as reading fine print. 

Book a consultation with the surgeon to assess your suitability for multifocal lens implants. 

What is the best multifocal lens implant?

There are many different types of multifocal lens implants available with different characteristics. Some will give you sharper distance vision, others sharper near vision. Some multifocal lens implants give you better near vision compared to others. However, they all reduce your dependence on glasses, unlike monofocal lens implants.

The best multifocal lens implant is one which is tailored to your eyes and your visual needs. A thorough assessment is necessary to determine the lens implant best suited for your eyes. This includes a complete eye examination, scans and measurements of your eyes, and evaluation of your medical history, hobbies and visual needs.

At Oculase, we will thoroughly assess your eyes before advising you on the lens implant best suited for your eyes.

Which lens implant is better: monofocal or multifocal?

Whether a monofocal or multifocal lens implant is better depends on multiple factors. If you prefer to be glasses-free, then multifocal lenses are the better option for you. If you prefer to experience no haloes and glare, and are happy to wear glasses, then monofocal lens implants may be a better option.

Other factors that determine the suitability of a lens implant include the health of your eyes, the results of any scans and measurements of your eyes, your general health, your hobbies and your visual needs.

Are multifocal lens implants worth it?

Multifocal lenses are worth considering if you want to be free from using glasses. These implants will reduce your need for glasses for over 90% of your activities. You may experience haloes and glare with these lens implants, unlike EDOF (Extended Depth of Focus) lens implants. EDOF lens implants are an excellent choice for patients who do not want side effects such as haloes and glare.

How long does it take to get used to a multifocal lens implant?

Getting used to multifocal lens implants varies from person to person. In some people, it can take a few days, while in others, it can take several weeks. It can take 3-6 months for someone to get used to multifocal lens implants, but this is rare.

During neuroadaptation, you can adapt to visual phenomena such as haloes, glare and starbursts, like those seen with multifocal lens implants. This adaptation happens quickly in some people, while others can take a long time.

Less than 2% of people never fully adapt to the lens implants. In these people, a lens implant exchange surgery may be needed.

Why are multifocal lens implants so expensive?

Multifocal lens implants are more expensive than monofocal lenses due to the advanced technology incorporated in them. Multifocal lenses are designed with additional technology, including special rings or enhancements at the front and/or back surfaces of the lens. These features allow the image you see to be clear at a number of different distances.

Multifocal lens implants are used as replacements for your natural lens in cataract and refractive lens exchange surgery.

How much do multifocal lens implants cost?

Multifocal lens implants can cost 10–30 times more than monofocal ones. The wide range in price is related to the type and strength of the implant and whether you require a toric multifocal lens implant or a special order multifocal lens implant.

Multifocal lens implants are engineered to correct vision at multiple distances. The sophisticated optics found in these lens implants, combined with their increased functionality and convenience, also contribute to their higher cost than monofocal lens implants.

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About the author

Mr Tariq Ayoub
Mr Tariq Ayoub, Consultant Ophthalmologist

Mr Ayoub has been rated as one of the top eye surgeons in the UK. He is a Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon with Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust in London, one of the largest NHS trusts in England. He is also the Lead for the Emergency Department at Western Eye Hospital, as part of the Imperial College Trust.

Mr Ayoub completed his Ophthalmology training at the prestigious London School of Ophthalmology, namely at Moorfields Eye Hospital and Royal Free Hospital. During his career, he has received many prestigious awards from national and international organisations for his work in the field of ophthalmology.

His clinical interests include treatment for cataracts, vision correction, corneal disease, eye-lid disorders, trauma, and general ophthalmology. Mr Ayoub prides himself on the high quality of his work. With his extensive experience, he can holistically manage complex eye conditions to deliver the best care for his patients.

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