Monofocal vs. Multifocal Lens

Wed Aug 30 2023

Individuals going for Cataract Surgery always find it difficult to choose which lens to choose in the war of monofocal vs multifocal lens. Both monofocal and multifocal lenses come under the category of artificial lenses called intraocular lenses (IOLs). These are the synthetic lenses used by eye surgeons as implants inside the eye to replace the natural eye lens, usually used to treat cataract and eyesight problems like nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), and astigmatism.

These intraocular lenses are small flexible and foldable lenses made of acrylic which can seamlessly fit into the eye. Let us further understand the major difference between monofocal and multifocal lens.

Monofocal Lens:

Monofocal intraocular lenses have a single focus and are mostly used for distance vision correction. Patients who use such lenses need eyeglasses for near work. Monofocal IOLs which have improved depth of focus and monofocal toric lenses are more advanced adaptations.

Benefits of Monofocal Lens

  • Enables more light to enter into the eye in comparison to multifocal lenses.
  • Reduces dependency upon glasses after the implantation of the unifocal lens.
  • Works effectively for both distance and intermediate vision, thus a best-suited option if you’re mostly engaged with computer work.
  • Monofocal toric lens resolves astigmatism, however, one may still require glasses, but not at all times.

Limitations of Monofocal Lens

  • Since they have fixed focal points, they are set to provide clear vision at either near, intermediate, or distance.
  • If you prefer to enhance your near vision, you would still need to rely on glasses for distance vision and vice versa.
  • Over time, patients may experience changes in their eyeglass prescription.
  • Unlike multifocal or accommodating lenses, it does not do not adjust to different distances. 

Multifocal lens

Multifocal lenses enable an individual to view distant, intermediate, and nearby objects. The surface of the multifocal lens is etched with concentric rings in such a way that it enables you to look at objects at various distances. However, it may take some days to adapt to different distances as the brain needs to pick up this new method of focusing on objects.

Benefits of Multifocal Lens

  • Multifocal intraocular lenses can correct astigmatism and give a wide range of clear vision.
  • With multifocal lenses, there’s no need to switch between different pairs of glasses for different activities.
  • There is no dependency on spectacle or other vision aids as multifocal IOL allows you to have clear vision at all distances.
  • Multifocal lenses come in various designs and can be customized to meet individual preferences and visual requirements.
  • Long-lasting results without the need for lens replacement.

Limitations of Multifocal Lens

  • In very few cases, about 5-10 percent of people experience glare or halo during the night. 
  • Some patients require reading eyeglasses while working in dim light conditions or trying to see things up close.
  • One may face difficulty with contact which may cause discomfort in reading properly if the light is not proper.

Major differences between Multifocal and Monofocal Lens

With a thought of cataract surgery, you surely be thinking  of the type of lens that may work best. Before arriving at any decision between Multifocal and Monofocal Lens, you’ll need to consider factors like your daily activities because the different IOL types provide a variety of different benefits. So, your choice in the war of monofocal vs multifocal lens could vary depending on whether you’re an active outdoor enthusiast, a gamer, an avid reader, a busy professional, or a combination of these.

Since each type of lens has its own set of advantages and the choices also differ depending on the type of refractive condition you have, here we drafted this table highlighting the major difference between monofocal and multifocal lens  and helping you make an informed decision.

CharacteristicMonofocal LensMultifocal Lens
Focusing AbilityCorrects vision at a single distance (near, intermediate, or distance).Corrects vision at multiple distances (near, intermediate, and distance).
DesignSingle vision lens with a uniform power.Multiple focal points within the same lens.
Common UsesTypically used for a specific distance (e.g., nearsightedness or farsightedness).Suitable for individuals with presbyopia who require correction for both near and distant vision.
Adjustment PeriodGenerally quicker adjustment as users adapt to a fixed focal point.May require a longer adjustment period as the eyes have to learn transition between different focal points.
Reading GlassesOften requires reading glasses for close-up tasks if distance vision is corrected.Designed to eliminate the need for separate reading glasses by incorporating different prescriptions in one lens.
CostTypically less expensive than multifocal lenses.Often more expensive due to the complexity of the design and customization.
Visual DisturbancesMinimal visual disturbances as there is only one focal point.Some users may experience visual disturbances, such as image jumps or blurriness, during the transition between focal points.
Prescription ChangesIf the prescription changes, the entire lens needs to be replaced.Easier to adjust prescriptions for specific distances without changing the entire lens.
Adjustment PeriodTypically shorter adjustment period as there is only one focal point.May require a longer adjustment period as the wearer adapts to multiple focal points.
Insurance CoverageInsurance coverage may vary, and additional costs may be incurred for the multifocal feature. Check with the insurance provider.Insurance coverage may vary, and additional costs may be incurred for the multifocal feature. Check with the insurance provider.

Before arriving at the final decision in choosing between monofocal and multifocal lenses, always consult with an eye surgeon to determine the most suitable option for your vision correction needs.

Conclusion

You must have understood the major differences between monofocal vs Multi focal lens and also which one would suit you between monofocal vs multifocal lens. Also, you are now aware that choosing an appropriate lens depends upon an individual’s requirements and eye condition. Thus while comparing monofocal lens vs multifocal lens, the most-suited IOL is the one recommended by the doctor based on complete eye checkup or pre-refractive workup. To know which lens you should prefer for cataract or other vision related problems, get in touch with us or visit us.

FAQs

  1. Which lens is better: monofocal vs multifocal?

The choice between monofocal and multifocal lenses depends on individual needs. Monofocal lenses are better for specific distance correction, while multifocal lenses are suitable for those requiring correction at various distances, such as for presbyopia.

  1. What are the major differences between monofocal vs multifocal lens?

Monofocal lenses correct vision at a single distance, while multifocal lenses address multiple distances. Multifocals often have a more complex design and may involve an adjustment period, whereas monofocal lenses offer a simpler solution for a specific visual range.

  1. How Long Does It Take to Get Used to Multifocal Lens Implants?

The time it takes to get used to multifocal lens implants can vary from person to person. It may take a few days for some people, while others may take 2-3 months or even 6 months.

  1. How Much Do Multifocal and Monofocal IOLs Cost?

The prices for both lens types are not fixed, it completely depends which kind of lens you are preferring as well as which brand you are going with.

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