Purpose: To compare the quantitative and qualitative visual performances of different multifocal intraocular lenses (IOLs) in an experimental model of the human eye. Setting: University Hospital San Raffaele, Milan, Italy. Methods: Five multifocal IOLs and 1 monofocal IOL were implanted in an optomechanical eye model with imaging capability. The comparative optical characterization of the imaging performance included aberrometry, simulated visual acuity testing at variable contrast for far and near distance, glare tests, and image records of optotype charts. Results: The maximum recorded far visual acuity for the monofocal IOL was between 20/12.5 and 20/16; the multifocal IOLs decreased visual acuity by 1 to 2 lines. The difference tended to increase at reduced contrast. Full-contrast near visual acuity with multifocal IOLs ranged between 20/63 and 20/25; the near distance performance of the monofocal IOL without an additional correcting lens was worse by 1 to 3 lines of acuity with large pupils but was comparable with small pupils. Multifocal IOLs of different designs showed marked differences as a function of contrast, which tended to balance between far and near behaviors. Conclusions: Multifocal IOLs of different optical designs were well characterized and distinguished by simulated contrast acuity testing in an experimental eye model, allowing quantitative comparison. Their overall visual performance, averaged over contrast and distance, was not superior to the performance of a monofocal IOL without an additional correcting lens.
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