Monovision Cataract Surgery: Pros And Cons

May 15, 2023
 – Besser Eye Care Team
  • Cataracts

Monovision cataract surgery can correct vision from all distances, and give patients freedom from glasses and contacts. Learn more about monovision cataract surgery’s pros and cons.

Monovision cataract surgery is a type of cataract surgery that corrects near vision in one eye and far vision in the other. The goal of the surgery is to allow patients to enjoy clear vision at a variety of different ranges, giving them freedom from both prescription and reading glasses.

The procedure is a popular way to simultaneously correct presbyopia and address visual problems related to cataracts. Potential patients should understand some facts about this procedure and its expected outcomes so they can make an informed choice.

What is cataract surgery?

A cataract is an ocular condition where the lens inside of the eye becomes hard and cloudy over time. This cloudy lens prevents light from entering the eye, causing difficulties such as blurry vision, trouble reading, and in severe cases, vision loss.

Cataracts are a natural part of aging. However, severe cataracts can affect daily activities and may require surgery to treat.

During cataract surgery, an eye doctor replaces a patient’s cloudy lens with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL). This artificial lens improves vision and protects patients from serious eye damage.

The presbyopia problem

Past the age of 40, most patients experience a decline in near vision in a condition called presbyopia. Presbyopia makes it harder to see objects at close distances, making tasks like reading, writing, and working on a computer or tablet more difficult.

While cataract surgery is both safe and effective, on its own, it does not correct presbyopia. This is true for other popular surgeries such as LASIK, PRK, and LASEK. After completing these surgeries, patients may still need reading glasses to see up close.

What is monovision?

Monovision is a way to correct both near and far vision. Most people have a dominant eye. This is the eye patients rely on more for important visual tasks like driving and physical activity.

During monovision an eye doctor will correct distance vision in the dominant eye while leaving the other eye slightly nearsighted (allowing patients to see close objects).

While seeing at different ranges may seem odd, most patients quickly adjust. The brain can integrate these separate images and restore visual clarity, allowing patients to live free from glasses and contact lenses.

What is monovision cataract surgery?

During monovision cataract surgery, the eye doctor uses different IOLs (intraocular lenses) in each eye.

The patient will receive one lens to correct vision from far distances and another to correct near vision. Following monovision cataract surgery, the brain will adjust to the distinct lens implants, allowing patients to see clearly from both near and far.

In successful cases, patients will be able to see well without the aid of glasses or contacts. However, there may still be situations where glasses are needed – such as night driving or reading small print.

Who is a candidate for monovision cataract surgery?

An ideal candidate for monovision cataract surgery is someone who wants to enjoy clear vision without reading or prescription glasses. These are often people who perform activities that rely on both near and far vision.

Old lady watching a baking tutorial

Monovision cataract surgery has a short adjustment period as patients get used to seeing at distinct distances in each eye. Ideal candidates should be flexible and willing to adapt to visual changes.

If you are unsure of whether you are a good candidate, talk to your ophthalmologist. Most eye doctors can simulate the effects of the procedure by prescribing different contact lenses for each eye.

Monovision cataract surgery pros and cons

As with any ocular procedure, monovision cataract surgery presents pros and cons. Patients should weigh both the advantages and disadvantages before deciding to move forward with the surgery.

Advantages of monovision cataract surgery

The most significant advantage of monovision cataract surgery is freedom from glasses and contacts. Monovision corrects for both near and far vision so patients can enjoy clear vision, from all distances, without the aid of eyewear.

Monovision allows patients to freely engage in a variety of activities. They can enjoy physical activities like running and sports and more relaxing ones like reading and writing without depending on glasses or contacts.

Disadvantages of monovision cataract surgery

Not everyone is suited for monovision cataract surgery. The procedure has an adapted period where patients will need to adjust to having different vision in different eyes. While most people adapt relatively quickly, some may find the effects disorienting or uncomfortable.

Additionally, monovision surgery can cause reduced depth perception in the eyes – as the eyes are focused at different distances. This can make certain activities like sports and driving more difficult. Even with surgery, patients may still need glasses for tasks like night driving and reading small print.


If you’re in the Los Angeles area and would like to inquire about cataract surgery, please contact Dr. Besser's office for a consultation.

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