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What are monofocal intraocular lenses in cataract surgery?

Laura C. Fine, MD
Ophthalmology
Most people -- nearly 95% -- who have cataract surgery receive monofocal intraocular lens (IOLs). As the name suggests, these lenses are designed to focus at one set distance (far, intermediate, or near). The lens power varies from patient to patient and is determined during a preoperative evaluation. People who receive monofocal IOLs typically find their vision restored to what it was before the cataract developed. However, most of these people need to wear glasses for either reading or distance vision (or sometimes both), because the standard monofocal IOLs lack the capacity for accommodation -- the ability to change focus from near to far and back again. Most people choose an IOL designed for distance vision and then wear reading glasses for close-up activities. Those who are used to being nearsighted might choose an IOL for near vision and then wear distance glasses to drive and watch television.

Ophthalmologists divide vision into three broad zones based on the approximate distance between your eyes and the object you're viewing. If you're considering a specialized replacement lens during cataract surgery, knowing which zone is most important to you can be helpful when deciding which type of lens would be most appropriate.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.