Question: I have not had Cataract Surgery yet but I am planning to have a Cataract operation and lens implant in my left eye. I am trying to decide between a multifocal implant and a monofocal lens for my left eye. The right eye has the starting of a Cataract, but the ophthalmologist does not feel that my right eye is ready for surgery yet. I would also like to know if I will be able to drive at night if I choose the multifocal lens.
Answer: In general Cataract Surgeons try to schedule Cataract Surgery so that both eyes are operated within a month or so of each other if the first eye is uneventful. Obviously if the Cataract in the second eye is so slight so as not to warrant surgery this isn't the case. However, with almost all types of multifocal lenses the full optical correction and performance is not achieved until both eyes are implanted with the multifocal IOL. That is, you may not get the full benefit of the near correction and may need to continue to wear reading glasses until you have the second eye operated and implanted with a multifocal lens. In addition, all types of multifocal lens implants do require some “neuroadaptation” whereby the brain learns how to see with a new type of optical image created by the implant. If you have only one eye implanted with a multifocal for a substantial length of time the optical adaptation may not occur during that time and you could be uncomfortable. This may or may not bother you. Your best bet is to try and get some idea from your Cataract Surgeon regarding how long the time might be between operations. Also, in consultation with your surgeon you should discuss the issue of neuroadaptation as it can be very different depending on which type of multifocal lens he or she plans on implanting. Last, you should express your night driving concern as again depending on the type of multifocal lens used there can considerable differences in night driving with different types of multifocal IOLs.
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