Question: Why would a person having cataract surgery settle for monofocal lens implants and still have to use glasses, when he could have a multifocal lens implant? Why are multifocal lenses so expensive? What is the difference between the different brands of multifocal lenses such as AcrySof®ReSTOR®, Tecnis® and the other brand names? Medicare said they would pay for the monofocal lensimplant and if you want an advanced lens such as a Tecnis® Multifocal lens implant, the patient would have to pay the difference. Why would the difference be as much as $2500 dollars per eye difference?
Answer: First some patients having cataract surgery don’t mind wearing eyeglasses and thus don’t really see much benefit in electing to have a multifocal lens implant. Second, in order to have the best success with multifocal lens implants it requires careful patient selection in terms of optical characteristics, previous refractive error and overall expectations and ranges of vision the require. They are NOT for everyone. So NOT all patients get the option or choice of a multifocal lens implant-and thus they have to have a monofocal lens implant. Each multifocal les implant type has an optical design that works best for certain eye characteristics and which one to use is really up to the cataract surgeon-NOT the patient. Medicare DOES NOT pay for the correction of near vision or astigmatism after cataract surgery whether it be with eyeglasses, contact lenses or lens implants. This portion of the correction after cataract surgery is the obligation of the patient and NOT Medicare. The incremental fee for multifocal lens implants is the necessary fee to cover the costs associated with considerable incremental preoperative testing, measurement and calculations, plus the cost of the lens implant itself, plus any costs should a lens exchange or power adjustment be necessary. Most patients find this to be a bargain given the multiple long term cost of buying eyeglasses for their lifetime-to say nothing of the improved convenient day to day ability to see clearly at multiple distances.
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