Which cataract implant is recommended… the basic one or the upgraded multifocal?

This question can't really be answered without knowing more about your particular eyes, needs, and budget.

Insurance coverage of cataract surgery includes a modest amount for a basic IOL (intraocular lens) to replace the cloudy one you were born with. Cataract surgeons have traditionally aimed to reduce your overall need for glasses as a free "value added" when performing cataract surgery. But there has never been any guarantee that traditional cataract surgery would totally free you from needing prescription glasses afterwards -particularly for reading and up-close vision.

Multifocal IOLs are not the only kind of "upgraded" IOLs available, although they tend to be the most effective choice in treating presbyopia after cataract surgery. All the various types of IOLs have relative pros and cons -there is no "best of all" presbyopia-correcting IOL. Distance vision, particularly at night, is often the weak spot in IOL performance.

Furthermore, these upgraded IOLs require much more in terms of post-operative care, so this extra work and their advantages become a significant out-of-pocket cost to the patient.

In properly selected patients, with careful attention paid to post-op management, multifocal IOLs have proven to be a major evolutionary step up in IOL and refractive technology, but should not be considered suitable for everyone.

_Written by J. Trevor Woodhams, M.D. - Chief of Surgery, Woodhams Eye Clinic