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Complications of Multifocal Implants

Understanding the Complications of Multifocal Lens Implants in Cataract Surgery

Multifocal lens implants have dramatically improved patients’ lifestyles. Many feel that this technology has allowed them to regain their youthful vision. Cataract surgery is a common and highly effective procedure for treating cataracts, a condition in which the natural lens of the eye becomes cloudy, resulting in blurred vision. Multifocal lens implants are designed to provide patients with clear vision at multiple distances. While multifocal lens implants can be a great option for many patients, there are also potential complications that should be considered. Keep in mind that clinical studies show that about 95% of patients receiving the newest generation of these implants are spectacle free at near, intermediate and distance and happy with their vision.  

To what extent these complications are likely to affect you depends largely on the surgeon choosing the right implant and also how skilled they are in their craft. It also depends on your individual eye condition and suitability for such an implant. At Cohen Eye Institute, we will perform a comprehensive exam that is designed to match you with the best possible procedure as well as choose the implant that will achieve your visual goals in the safest fashion. If you are not deemed to be a good candidate for a multifocal lens, other options such as extended focus range lens implants could be explored. Dr. Cohen has performed more than 75,000 surgeries and has over 20 years of experience in this field. He will do all that is needed to make sure that you are happy with your choice. 

Potential Solutions to the Complications of Lens Implants:

A lens exchange procedure could be carried out if needed after the surgery in case the problems with the vision cannot be resolved otherwise. Some surgeons are hesitant to exchange a lens implant due to lack of experience or the challenge that such a procedure presents. Dr. Cohen is highly experienced in IOL exchange and will not hesitate to perform it if necessary. In fact many other cataract surgeons refer their lens exchange surgeries to Dr. Cohen due to his reputation and unique skills in this field. At Cohen Eye Institute we will do extensive testing and detailed exams that will minimize the need for IOL exchange and Dr. Cohen has extensive experience in many types of different lenses and will match you with the one that will best suit your eyes. 

Possible complications include:   

Visual Disturbances

The first potential complication of multifocal lens implants is visual disturbances. These can include halos, glare, and starbursts around lights, especially at night. These visual disturbances can be particularly bothersome for patients who drive at night or work in jobs that require them to be outside at night. Additionally, these visual disturbances can make it difficult to see in low light conditions, such as in a dimly lit room or at dusk. 

Loss of Contrast Sensitivity

Another potential complication of multifocal lens implants is loss of contrast sensitivity. This can make it difficult to see fine details, such as small print or the edges of objects, especially in low light conditions. This can be particularly problematic for patients who work in jobs that require them to see fine details, such as graphic designers, photographers, or surgeons.

Decreased Visual Acuity

Another potential complication of multifocal lens implants is decreased visual acuity. This can make it difficult for patients to see objects at a distance, especially in low light conditions. This can be particularly problematic for patients who enjoy activities such as hiking, hunting, or bird-watching.


Another complication of multifocal lens implants is astigmatism. Astigmatism is a condition in which the cornea is not perfectly round, causing distorted vision. Astigmatism can be caused by the shape of the cornea and other factors.  Most types of astigmatism could be corrected by choosing a multifocal lens that also has astigmatic correction capability or by using a laser-assisted cataract surgery procedure. It could also be corrected postoperatively by LASIK or PRK.  


Our internal review of thousands of cases done by Dr. Cohen shows that over 99% of patients are extremely happy with their vision with multifocal implants. And more than 95% don’t use glasses for near or distance. Should such a problem arise, Dr. Cohen will not hesitate to replace the implant with another type of multifocal, a different power implant, or a mono-focal. implant. Having implanted thousands of Multifocal lenses over the last 10 years has thought us how to screen our patients properly to minimize such outcomes.  

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