What is the TECNIS® Multifocal Lens Implant?
The TECNIS® multifocal IOL is one of several different multifocal lens implants available. When cataract surgery is performed, the natural lens of the eye is removed and replaced with a clear, man-made lens implant (IOL). There are many different IOL types available. The term “multifocal” means that it is designed to provide clear vision without glasses for distance and near vision. This is in contrast to a “monofocal” IOL that is set for a specific vision (distance, intermediate, or near) without a range of focus. The goal of the TECNIS® IOL is to allow patients to be independent of glasses most, if not all, of the time.
How is the TECNIS® Multifocal Lens Implant Different from other Multifocal IOLs?
The TECNIS® multifocal IOL was designed using wavefront technology. This technology is used to correct optical aberrations (visual distortion) that can cause glare, halos, and a lesser visual quality. The TECNIS® is a diffractive lens with concentric rings of different power that provide vision at near and distance. Because the lens is designed to be independent of pupil size, reading vision in low light conditions is better than with some of the other multifocal lens implants.
Who would Benefit from the TECNIS® Multifocal Lens?
When choosing an IOL type for a cataract patient, we take into account the overall health of the eye and the desires of the patient. A multifocal lens implant does not work well in an eye with significant macular disease (macular degeneration, macular pucker, macular scar or hole) or severe glaucoma. In addition, the TECNIS® Multifocal IOL does not correct astigmatism, so if there is significant astigmatism, this lens is not a good choice (there are other multifocal IOL’s that do correct astigmatism such as the PanOptix®). If, however, the general health of the eye is fairly good and there is little astigmatism, this IOL is an excellent option. This is a good choice for a patient who wishes to be independent of glasses at all distances. While no lens can guarantee a patient will not need glasses, studies done with the TECNIS® Multifocal showed that about 90% of patients who had this lens implanted in both eyes were independent of glasses a year after surgery.
Can the TECNIS® Multifocal Lens be Implanted in Only One Eye?
This question comes up a lot with patients who have already had cataract surgery on one eye several years ago before the advanced technology IOLs were available. The short answer is “yes.” Multifocal lenses work best when they are implanted in both eyes. This generally provides the best independence from glasses at all distances. If the TECNIS® is implanted in one eye, and the other eye either has a standard monofocal lens or does not have good vision, the patient is more likely to need glasses for some tasks. For example, long periods of reading may be more comfortable with glasses in this case. Nonetheless, the TECNIS® IOL provides much more spectacle independence than a standard monofocal lens does, even if only implanted in one eye. Many patients opt for this choice and thereby lessen their dependence on glasses considerably.
What are the Risks of the TECNIS® Multifocal Lens?
The lens is about the same size and shape as most other IOLs, so there is no added risk at the time of surgery. After surgery, multifocal lens implants can cause some glare and halos, particularly with night driving. This is not usually a big issue for patients, but if your job requires a lot of night driving, this lens might not be the best choice. With any multifocal IOL, there is a risk of slight blurring or ghosting, or “waxy” vision. Overall we find that our patients are really happy with this lens. Though it may not provide perfect vision all the time at all distances without glasses, most patients don’t wear glasses much or at all after placement of TECNIS® multifocal IOLs in both eyes.
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