Multifocal IOL

Chicago Multifocal IOL Specialist Stuart Sondheimer, MD


An intraocular lens, also known as an IOL, is an artificial replacement lens. These replacement lenses are implanted after the natural lens of the eye has been surgically removed during cataract surgery. After IOL placement, patients can often see without the need for glasses or contacts and have clear vision.



In the past, monofocal intraocular lenses were the only option patients had. Now, patients can have multifocal IOLs placed at the conclusion of cataract surgery to correct vision at near, intermediate and far distances. As a result, multifocal lenses can completely eliminate the need for glasses or contact lenses for most patients. Multifocal intraocular lenses appeal to patients that prefer not to wear glasses or contact lenses. Dr. Sondheimer offers the following multifocal intraocular lenses:

  • Alcon PanOptix
  • AMO Symfony IOL
  • Tecnis Multifocal
  • Alcon ReSTOR® Multifocal IOL


An Intraocular lens allows patients a quality range of vision. A cataract occurs because the eye’s natural lens becomes cloudy or opaque. As the lens becomes more cloudy over time, it prevents light from being focused on the retina, and thus, vision diminishes. Cataracts grow at different rates, some more quickly than others, and there is no cure but to have the cloudy lens removed.

Once the eye’s natural lens has been removed, a new, man-made intraocular lens (IOL) is used to replace it. There are many IOLs that will usually serve patients well for distance vision, but patients must still wear glasses for reading or for good vision at near.


Chicago cataracts specialist, Dr. Stuart Sondheimer, is among the first surgeons in the United States to be trained and certified to implant the new Alcon AcrySof® ReSTOR® intraocular lens (IOL). According to Dr. Sondheimer, I believe this new lens is an innovative technology that can help many cataract patients see remarkably well without glasses or contacts of any kind following surgery. This is an important new advancement, and I want to be able to deliver the newest technology to my patients who want a lifestyle free from corrective eyewear, he explained.



According to Alcon, Inc., the lens was approved in the United States by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) in March 2005. It is the first and only lens to use a particular diffractive technology that achieves a range of vision for patients thus enabling it to function much like the eye’s natural lens. ReSTOR® does not rely on the eye’s ciliary muscle to change focus between near, intermediate and distance, but instead relys on the diffractive properties of the lens itself. Weakening of the ciliary muscle is the root cause of presbyopia which results in the need for reading glasses or bifocals.

That is the significance of this lens, explained Dr. Sondheimer. It potentially offers a great range of freedom from corrective eyewear that many patients are choosing. In fact, with this new lens, it is possible that people who have worn glasses for 10, 20, 30, or even 40 or more years, may enjoy good vision for the rest of their lives without corrective lenses.

According to the manufacturer, clinical trials were conducted in the United States and Europe to establish safety and effectiveness of the new lens. More than 11,000 ReSTOR® IOLs have been implanted by more than 900 surgeons in Europe and other countries. Further, it is estimated that more than 21 million implants used worldwide since the lens introduction in the early 1990s.



Chicago eye surgeon Dr. Sondheimer is committed to long-term patient satisfaction. His training and continued interest in treatment advances allow patients to consider multiple options for bringing clear vision back into their lives. We are pleased to offer Symfony IOLs to our comprehensive menu or services. Traditional intraocular lens solutions have focused on providing clear vision after cataract removal surgery. More recently, IOLs have become an innovative type of medical device for correcting certain refractive errors, such as presbyopia. Historically, this common vision problem has been treated with some type of multifocal or trifocal lens. These lenses work by fractionating light into multiple points of focus. 

In addition to traditional IOLs, manufacturers have also developed accommodating lenses to correct presbyopia. These lenses work through flexibility, changing shape as the muscle of the eye moves. An accommodating IOL may provide clearer vision at a distinct distance. The Tecnis Symfony IOL has been developed to offer continuous, full-range vision with a lower incidence of distortions such as halos or glare while correcting presbyopia. 


The Tecnis Symfony Toric lens has been developed to correct astigmatism by featuring advanced materials and optics such as:

  • A wide range of optical powers (diopters) to accommodate more patients
  • Hydrophobic acrylic lenses are less likely to result in glare or halos
  • Correction of spherical aberration results in sharper vision
  • Tri-Fix 3-point fixation improves the stability of vision at various distances 


“Dr. Sondheimer is very knowledgeable and approachable. I appreciated that he took the time to answer my questions and concerns. He was never rushed or distracted. My surgery went well and I would recommend Dr. Sondheimer to anyone.” – Faina R.

“From the moment I met Dr. Sondheimer and his staff at both offices, I felt I was in good hands and cared for. The two Toric Lens Implant surgeries went well and I am seeing better than ever. The gals at the Skokie Office, Kathy, Ana, and Galina were so lovely and helpful. Dr. Sondheimer prepared me each step of the way as to what will occur on the days of surgery. He was very availble if I had any questions or problems. I had a very rewarding experience.” – Geraldine G.

To read more of our patient testimonials, please click here.


Many adults who are good candidates for cataract removal are also good candidates for a Symfony IOL. Tecnis Symfony IOLs may also be used to correct presbyopia or astigmatism during lens exchange treatment. Dr. Sondheimer can help you determine which type of IOL is best suited to your needs during a thorough eye exam and consultation.



Lens replacement offers several general benefits. Symfony IOLs provide advantages including:

  • Fewer issues with glare, halos, and loss of contrast. Vision remains sharper and clearer during the daytime and nighttime. 
  • Continuous vision adaptation reduces the need for eyeglasses or contacts for up close or distance usage.


Dr. Sondheimer is a leading Chicago eye surgeon who is adept at performing a range of vision correction procedures utilizing the latest technologies. His commitment to providing his cataract surgery patients with the most optimal vision correction results has motivated him to offer high-quality intraocular lens implants (IOLs) to serve the unique vision needs of each individual who seeks his services. Among several other advanced intraocular lens implants, Dr. Sondheimer offers the Tecnis Multifocal premium lens implant.

The Tecnis IOL was developed by Advanced Medical Optics, Inc. (AMO) using wavefront analysis of human corneas. It was specifically engineered to cater to patients who wish to obtain improved vision acuity at multiple distances following cataract surgery. Tecnis first gained FDA-approval in early 2009 as a new IOL that gives cataract surgery patients, with or without presbyopia, superior near and reading vision. In addition, Tecnis is also known to improve intermediate and distance vision, often without the need for eyeglasses or contact lenses.


Lens exchange may be performed in conjunction with cataract removal or as the primary procedure. Treatment is conducted on an outpatient basis. Before commencing with the minor surgical technique, we administer a local anesthetic into the eye to numb the ocular surface. These medicated eye drops work almost instantly and keep you comfortable throughout your procedure, which may be completed in an hour or less. In most cases, the tiny incision made to replace the natural lens does not require stitches. Once the new lens is in place, a bandage may be placed over the eye.


Vision improves almost immediately after lens exchange surgery. Initially, the eye may be covered with a bandage to prevent irritation from debris or photosensitivity. It may be possible to remove the bandage after 24 hours. We will provide detailed post-operative instructions before your procedure.

Lens exchange surgery may result in temporary blurriness and minor discomfort. Eye drops may be prescribed to prevent dryness and infection. A post-operative eye exam may occur a few days after surgery and then again at one- to two-weeks and four-weeks post-op. As healing continues over several weeks, it is necessary to avoid rubbing or pressing on the eye. Usually, the eye is completely healed within eight weeks.

What is PanOptix IOL?

The newest addition to the AcrySof® IQ series of intraocular lenses, the AcrySof® IQ PanOptix® Trifocal IOL is the first FDA-approved trifocal IOL. Approved in late 2019, PanOptix®IOLs deliver a better combination of near, intermediate, and distance vision. These lenses substantially reduce the need for the patient to use eyeglasses after their implantation during cataract surgery.

Dr. Sondheimer is one of the first surgeons in the area to implant these new Alcon PanOptix® Lenses.

How is PanOptix different from other IOLs?

The PanOptix® is the latest advancement from the AcrySof® family of intraocular lenses, PanOptix is a trifocal lens, meaning it has three full ranges of clear vision, up close, intermediate, and distant.

The PanOptix®Lens enhances the quality of vision, as well as range, so your vision should be as sharp and vivid. PanOptix Lenses deliver bright and vivid color vision. PanOptix® also comes in a toric version that corrects for astigmatism at the same time it delivers clear vision at distance, intermediate, and near.

Studies prove the case

In Alcon research for the AcrySof® PanOptix® Lens, A clinical study surveyed 129 people who had the PanOptix® Lens implanted. These are the results:

  • 99% of people with the PanOptix® Lens would choose the same lens again.
  • 98% of people with the PanOptix® Lens would recommend it to family and friends.
  • When asked how often they needed eyeglasses to see in the last seven days, 80.5% of people with the PanOptix® Lens reported that they never used them and 11.4% reported that they rarely used them.

PanOptix® also corrects for near vision in addition to distance and computer vision, overcoming the loss of focusing ability that is essentially universal after the age of 40, which is known as presbyopia.

Who is a good candidate for PanOptix?

Anyone who has cataracts is a good candidate for this incredible new intraocular lens. To reap the full benefit of the full range of clear vision, it’s advised to have lenses placed in both eyes after cataract removal.

As with all IOLs other than the monofocal variety, PanOptix® Lenses cost more than monofocal IOLs. This means more cost out of pocket. But Dr. Sondheimer’s patients feel that is money very well spent, as their vision is now so clear and vivid. And they don’t need readers anymore, for the most part!

The Panoptix does cause more halos and glare than monofocal lenses, but most patients are not bothered by this glare and halos.

How long do PanOptix® Lenses last?

These lenses are meant to last for the remainder of the patient’s life. These are permanent lenses. They should not cloud or degrade over time. They should provide the same crystal-clear vision the day they are implanted as they will 10 years from now and beyond.


In one US study, results from the placement of an IOL demonstrated outstanding results. These included:

  • 20/20 mean uncorrected binocular visual acuity for distance.
  • 20/20 mean uncorrected binocular visual acuity for intermediate vision.
  • 20/25 mean uncorrected binocular near visual acuity.

These results mean that the majority of patients studied did not need a new prescription for eyeglasses after their lens replacement.


Ongoing clinical use has proven that refractive lens exchange, like cataract surgery, is safe and effective. The risk of severe complications is very low. Most complications that may occur after eye surgery can be easily treated. The most common risks of this procedure include:

  • Increased intraocular pressure
  • Dislocation of the implanted IOL (shifting)
  • Infection
  • Bleeding in the eye
  • Ptosis (drooping eyelid)


Dr. Sondheimer, who has earned a reputation as a leading Chicago AcrySof ReSTOR provider, has helped many patients achieve optimal vision correction results using a range of highly sophisticated lens implants. In addition to Tecnis Multifocal and ReSTOR, Dr. Sondheimer also offers Crystalens, the only FDA-approved accommodating lens implant. He is also a skilled LASIK surgeon and glaucoma surgeon. Call 847-677-2794 to schedule a consultation with Chicago ophthalmologist Dr. Stuart Sondheimer.

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