Presbyopia is the condition in which the eye loses the ability to "zoom in" and focus on objects up close. It is a common condition that makes it difficult to read, typically beginning in a person's 40's and increasing gradually over the years. This condition is alleviated by the use of reading glasses, bifocals, or progressive lenses.
Monofocal Intraocular Lenses (Monofocal IOL's)
When undergoing cataract surgery, the cloudy lens is removed and a new lens, an intraocular lens (IOL) is inserted in its place. Traditional IOL's are called monofocal IOL's and try to minimize the need for eyeglasses at one disease. An IOL is most commonly chosen to correct the distance but then is unable to correct presbyopia. Even if eyeglasses are needed much less or even not at all for the distance, reading and computer glasses will still be needed to see well up close following placement of a traditional monofocal IOL.
Multifocal Intraocular Lenses (Multifocal IOL's)
A newer option to correct presbyopia after cataract surgery is the insertion of a multifocal intraocular lens. These lenses allow patients to see in the distance and close up with increased freedom from glasses. Most patients find they can drive a car, play sports, work at the computer, and do some reading without reaching for their eyeglasses. Certain activities, like reading the fine print or working in dim light, may still require patients to wear their reading glasses.
If you have cataracts and are interested in more freedom from your reading glasses, ask Dr. Katz if you are a candidate for a multifocal IOL.