How do LASIK patients do after cataract surgery with a Multifocal Intraocular Lens (MIOL) (Restor, Rezoom, Technis)

This is still a big question in Ophthalmology: how will a patient who has had LASIK do after cataract surgery with a multifocal intraocular lens?

The issues is that we have millions of patients who had LASIK to get rid of glasses. Now as they are getting older, many of these patients are developing cataracts and need to choose an implant for their eye. This decision is a life altering decision for many, so it needs to be decided upon with care. The issue is that eye surgeons do not have enough data just yet to fully understand all the implications. For some patients, they need to know they might need another IOL placed if they are unhappy with the first one tried.

There are 3 main categories of intraocular lenses (IOLs):
1. Monofocal: this lens allows you to see only one distance–usally just distance. You will need glasses for sure for reading. If you have astigmatism you will need glasses for all distances. These IOLs though have a very low risk of halos or glare after surgery, which for some patients can be debilitating (though rare.)
This is generally an unacceptable option to our LASIK patients as they have been so used to not needing glasses.

2. Multifocal IOLS: Restor, Rezoom, Technis
These multi-zoned lenses have different zones within the lens material that allow patients to see multiple distances. The biggest risk of these IOLS is generally haloes and glare especially driving at night. They are not generally recommended for pilots or patients who are Type A, engineers, etc, since it is felt they will be more likely to notice these aberrations in their vision. Many are concerned that we are adding to visual aberrations if we place an MIOL in a post- LASIK cornea. But the study below, published recently by a friend, Dr. Nathalie Afshari, shows that we still just do not have enough data to fully answer the questions regarding MIOLs in LASIK patients. This is one of the projects we are currently starting to evaluate in our practice.

3. Accommodating IOLS: Crystalens; This is a monofocal lens that apparently moves within the eye (the actual mechanism is still a bit controversial though recent studies continue to show the Crystalens provides better “intermediate/computer vision” than monofocal lenses.) It has been reported that these IOLS work well in post-LASIK patients, but the reading vision without glasses is not the best.

 2013 Jan;24(1):35-40. doi: 10.1097/ICU.0b013e32835ab457.

The role of presbyopia-correcting intraocular lenses after laser in situ keratomileusis.


Duke Eye Center, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina, USA.



There is a growing number of patients who wish to remain spectacle independent after cataract surgery, and this number includes some of the millions of people worldwide who have undergone laser in situ keratomileusis (LASIK). This article reviews the evidence of the use of presbyopia-correcting intraocular lenses (IOLs) in patients who have previously undergone LASIK.


Small studies have demonstrated that the use of hybrid refractive-diffractive multifocal IOLs in eyes with previous myopic or hyperopic LASIK can result in good refractive results. However, refractive surprise can be common and may require further intervention, such as laser surgery enhancement, to achieve satisfactory results. The use of these IOLs can also result in lost lines of vision, and visual quality may be poorer under mesopic or glare conditions. No reports were found regarding the use of accommodating IOLs in such patients.


There is a surprising paucity of literature on this topic, given the millions that have undergone LASIK. Further and timelier research is needed to assess the use of newer multifocal and accommodating IOLs in post-LASIK eyes, the effect of IOL asphericity on visual quality, and patients’ experience, satisfaction and level of spectacle independence after surgery.
Clin Ophthalmol. 2011; 5: 1281–1285.
Published online 2011 September 8. doi:  10.2147/OPTH.S23345
PMCID: PMC3180499

Predicting the necessity of LASIK enhancement after cataract surgery in patients with multifocal IOL implantation



To investigate if the parameters measured routinely prior to cataract surgery with multifocal intraocular lens (IOL) implantation can predict the necessity of additional laser in situ keratomileusis (LASIK) to improve visual outcome.


Records of patients undergoing cataract surgery between January 2008 and December 2009 were reviewed. Individuals satisfied with visual outcome of cataract surgery and not satisfied were grouped (group 1 and 2, respectively). Preoperative data of refractive error, axial length, corneal astigmatism, intraocular pressure, and postoperative uncorrected visual acuity were recorded. Data was available for 62 patients (104 eyes), of which LASIK enhancement was deemed necessary in 21 eyes (20%; group 2). The receiver operator characteristic curves were used to discriminate between the groups and linear regression analysis was performed to predict the postoperative visual outcome.


The astigmatism measured preoperatively using manifest refraction had an accuracy of 64% in discriminating between the groups. Age, spherical component of refraction, axial length, corneal astigmatism, and intraocular pressure were very close to chance prediction 59%, 57%, 56%, 51%, and 51%, respectively. The postoperative uncorrected visual acuity had an accuracy of 79% in discriminating the groups. Individuals with uncorrected visual acuity worse than 20/40 after cataract surgery were most likely to undergo LASIK enhancement; however, approximately 20% of group 2 underwent LASIK enhancement despite having visual acuity of 20/30 or better. When combined, preoperative visual acuity accounted for just 7% of variance in postoperative uncorrected visual acuity.


Requirement of LASIK enhancement after cataract surgery with multifocal IOL implant is complex in nature, and parameters routinely measured before surgery cannot successfully identify the group requiring LASIK enhancement or predict postoperative uncorrected visual acuity.
Keywords: refractive error, axial length, corneal astigmatism, intraocular pressure, uncorrected visual acuity, visual outcome, multivariate analysis, LASIK enhancement


Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness worldwide, and affect approximately 20.5 million Americans aged 40 years and older. This number is expected to increase by the year 2020 to 30.1 million Americans. Fortunately, blindness due to cataracts is reversible with surgery and most people in developed countries have access to surgery centers. In the US, the majority of patients use Medicare to help pay for cataract surgery. The estimated government cost of cataract surgery is about US$3.4 billion per year; this estimate is expected to increase with the heightened prevalence of cataracts in the American population.
Multifocal intraocular lenses (IOLs) were first introduced in the late 1980s. With contemporary technological advances in the types of IOLs, cataract and refractive surgeons are now able to correct for both the distance and near refraction, which was not possible even a decade ago. These lenses are of particular interest to individuals who do not wish to wear glasses after cataract surgery. However, these types of “premium lens” implants are not entirely covered under insurance plans or by Medicare, and the extra cost associated with the multifocal IOLs are often borne by the patients. Despite this, there is increased desire and interest in using multifocal IOLs or other premium lenses after cataract extraction.
Numerous measurements are performed as a part of the evaluation prior to cataract surgery to ensure adequate visual outcome; however, residual refractive error may persist after surgery, which can prevent patients from obtaining satisfactory visual performance. Strategies for correcting this residual refractive error include spectacle correction, contact lenses, enhancement refractive surgery with laser in situ keratomileusis (LASIK) or photorefractive keratectomy, or an IOL exchange. The LASIK enhancement to correct residual refractive error after cataract extraction is shown to be a safe and acceptable procedure.
It would be ideal if there were techniques to predict which patients will require a refractive surgery enhancement after multifocal IOL implantation procedure. This could provide better prognostic knowledge before surgery and improve patient satisfaction postoperatively.
The aim of this study was to evaluate the predictive ability of typical measurements obtained before cataract surgery in determining the necessity of refractive surgery enhancement after cataract surgery.


The participants used for this study were patients of a single, fellowship-trained surgeon (SG) at The Eye Specialty Group in Memphis, TN. Patient charts were reviewed, and all individuals having the necessary data evaluated during January 2008 to December 2009 were included in the study. To control for variables induced due to differences in IOLs, only patients with the implantation of multifocal AcrySof ® IQ ReSTOR® IOL (Alcon Laboratories, Inc, Fort Worth, TX) were included for analysis. The study was approved by the Institutional Review Board at the Southern College of Optometry.
Before surgery, each patient underwent a comprehensive ophthalmic examination, including refraction and a dilated fundus evaluation. After surgery, each patient returned for a follow-up visit 6 weeks after cataract surgery, where visual acuities were measured using Snellen-equivalent charts. Patients included in the study did not have corneal or retinal pathology. The preoperative data of age, spherical and cylindrical refractive error (subjective refraction), axial length, corneal astigmatism, and intraocular pressure were collected.
The axial length was measured using the IOLMaster 500® (Carl Zeiss Meditec Inc, Dublin, CA) and corneal topography was measured using the Pentacam® (Oculus Inc, Lynwood, WA). Intraocular pressure was measured using the Goldmann applanation tonometer. The uncorrected visual acuity values obtained after cataract extraction and IOL implantation were collated and converted to decimal acuities for statistical analysis.
Table 1 provides details of the study participants. The sample size of the study was 104 eyes of 62 patients. Of these, 21 eyes (20%) had LASIK enhancement following cataract surgery (group 1), whereas 83 eyes (80%) did not require additional LASIK enhancement due to visual outcome satisfaction (group 2) as determined by personal interview with each patient.
Table 1

Values of various parameters of study population

Statistical analysis

Chi-square test was performed to evaluate the difference in the number of males and females in the groups. Independent sample t-tests were utilized to calculate the difference between the groups. Sensitivity, specificity, and the area under receiver operator characteristic curve (ROC curves) were calculated to evaluate the predictive value of various parameters in distinguishing between the groups. An ROC area of 0.5 or less represents a chance outcome that the parameter was predictive, whereas an ROC area of higher than 0.6, 0.7, or 0.8 was considered to be poor, fair, and good, respectively. Linear univariate and multivariate regression analysis was performed on preoperative parameters to evaluate the predictability of the postoperative visual outcome either using parameters individually or combined. The R2 value of regression analysis (amount of variance accounted) was used as a measure of predictability. Because this study involved the use of multiple t-tests to evaluate the difference in parameters between the two groups, the P value was adjusted using Bonferroni correction to decrease the chances of type 1 error. A P value of <0.0062 was considered to be significant for t-tests. A P value of <0.05 was considered significant for linear regression analysis.


Examining for the differences between groups, we found that both the groups had more female patients when compared to male patients; however, the ratio of males versus females was not significantly different between the groups (Chi-square test Pearson’s X 2 = 0.73; P = 0.39). The amount of astigmatism, as measured by manifest refraction before surgery, was significantly different between groups. The mean astigmatism was greater in group 1 when compared to group 2 (mean difference between groups was −0.69 diopters; independent samples t-test P = 0.0004). The difference in spherical refraction, axial length, corneal power in vertical and horizontal meridian as measured by Pentacam® (Oculus Inc), highest recorded intraocular pressure, and intraocular pressure recorded prior to surgery were not significantly different between groups (independent samples t-test P > 0.15 in all cases; Table 1).
Table 2 provides sensitivity, specificity, ROC area, and best cut-off value of individual parameters used to differentiate the groups. Using the ROC area as a measure of predictive ability we find that the preoperative parameters were not highly predictive of requirement of LASIK enhancement after cataract surgery with multifocal IOL implant. Of the parameters obtained before surgery, the astigmatic power of the spectacle prescription obtained through manifest refraction was the most predictive and had an accuracy of 64%. Whereas age, spherical component of refraction, axial length, corneal astigmatism, and intraocular pressure were very close to chance prediction and had an accuracy of 59%, 57%, 56%, 51%, and 51%, respectively.
Table 2

Parameters predicting the need for laser in situ keratomileusis (LASIK)
The uncorrected visual acuity obtained after surgery was significantly different between the groups with acuity being better in the group that did not require additional LASIK enhancement (independent samples t-test P < 0.0001). The postoperative uncorrected visual acuity accurately predicted in 79% of the cases the requirement of LASIK enhancement post-cataract surgery. The sensitivity and specificity were 71% and 76%, respectively with individuals having postoperative acuity of less than 0.48 (approximately 20/40) opting for LASIK enhancement.
Univariate linear regression analysis indicates that all parameters were poorly correlated with postoperative uncorrected visual acuity, with none of the parameters reaching statistical significance (linear regression analysis P > 0.05; Table 3). Multivariate linear regression analysis shows that combining the effect due to individual parameters does not significantly improve the predictability of the model and only accounts for 7% variance of the postoperative uncorrected visual acuity data.
Table 3

Regression analysis between preoperative parameters and postoperative visual acuity


Better health care procedures have led to an increase in life expectancy, and individuals with active lifestyles prefer the comfort, flexibility, and advantages offered by a multifocal IOL when compared to the traditional monofocal IOLs. Medicare, which is the primary bearer of costs of cataract surgery related expenditure, does not cover expenses associated with the choice of multifocal IOL implant. If a premium multifocal IOL is chosen instead of a traditional monofocal IOL, the patient incurs additional expenses that can be significant. As with any elective procedure, patient expectations are higher when choosing cataract extraction with multifocal IOL implantation compared to traditional monofocal lenses.
Residual refractive error that persists after cataract surgery with IOL implantation is mainly due to variability in parameter measurement during refraction calculation that ascertains the selection of IOL., The healing process of corneal wound is also a variable that may, in part, contribute to the residual refractive error after cataract surgery. An astigmatic type refractive error present prior to surgery has a tendency to persist after surgery and may lead to a residual refractive error as well as decreased visual acuity. One technique employed to obtain better postoperative visual acuity without the use of spectacles or contact lenses is to perform LASIK enhancement following cataract extraction. This study shows that a postoperative uncorrected visual acuity of worse than 20/40 is the predictive cut-off value in identifying individuals who will require LASIK enhancement procedures following multifocal IOL implantation. Also, patients generally are not satisfied if the postoperative visual acuity is poorer than 20/40 (logMAR acuity 0.32); this value is in accordance with the minimum visual acuity require for automobile operation. These findings need to be confirmed using another study that includes an independent dataset.
The results of this study can be helpful in determining the prognosis of visual outcome and establishing management protocols, which may be in better accordance with patient expectations. The present study included only patients who underwent cataract surgery with AcrySof ® IQ ReSTOR® IOL (Alcon Laboratories, Inc); similar studies are required in the evaluation of other types of specialty IOLs to establish their cut-off values.
Examining the measured preoperative parameters, we found that amount of astigmatism as seen by manifest refraction – and not corneal astigmatism (measured by topography) – was most predictive of the need for LASIK enhancement (69% vs 51%). Theoretically, one would expect this outcome considering that manifest refraction accounts for overall astigmatic correction of the eye, whereas astigmatism as provided by corneal topography is predominantly representative of the anterior corneal component. Other parameters, including age, spherical component of refraction, axial length, and intraocular pressure, were not predictive of postoperative LASIK enhancement.
The mean uncorrected visual acuity was poorer in the group that underwent LASIK enhancement (group 1) when compared to the group that did not require LASIK enhancement (group 2). This speaks to the dissatisfaction of visual outcome in patients, and hence the needed additional procedure. However, 20% of patients in group 1 had a visual acuity better than 20/30 and still chose to undergo LASIK enhancement, suggesting that better visual acuity does not always ensure better visual quality. The quality of vision is a higher-order function and parameters like contrast sensitivity and ocular aberrations, which are not routinely measured, partially could contribute.
One of the limitations of the present study is that a single site and a single surgeon performed all the procedures, and the findings of this study will have to be confirmed by an independent group. It would be ideal if we had good preoperative predictive estimates that identified individuals who would require LASIK enhancement following cataract extraction. To this accord, we found that examining the preoperative parameters routinely measured in clinic are not very predictive of postoperative uncorrected visual acuity, even when evaluating the combined effect of parameters using multivariate analysis. Further research is warranted in this area to identify variables that could better predict postoperative visual outcome, effect of surgery on parameters like contrast sensitivity and ocular aberrations, and visual needs related to patient lifestyle.


The authors would like to thank Mr Michael Hoster for his editorial assistance in the preparation of the manuscript.


The authors report no conflicts of interest in this work.


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