Understanding Patient Attitudes Toward Multifocal Intraocular Lenses in Online Medical Forums Through Sentiment Analysis

Stud Health Technol Inform. 2019 Aug 21;264:1378-1382. doi: 10.3233/SHTI190453.


Multifocal intraocular lens implants (IOLs) are a premium option for cataract surgery which patients may purchase to achieve improved spectacle-independence for near vision but may have trade-offs with visual quality. We demonstrate the use of sentiment analysis to evaluate multifocal lenses discussed on MedHelp, a leading online health forum. A search for "multifocal IOL" was performed on MedHelp.org on November 1, 2016, yielding relevant patient posts. Sentiment analysis was performed using IBM's Watson, which extracted 30,066 unique keywords and their associated sentiment scores from 7495 posts written by 1474 unique patient users. Keywords associated with monovision, monofocal, and toric lenses had positive mean sentiment, significantly higher than for keywords associated with multifocals, which had negative mean sentiment (p < 0.001, ANOVA). Many keywords represented complaints and were associated with negative sentiment, including glare, halo, and ghosting. Sentiment analysis can provide insights into patient perspectives towards multifocal lenses by interpreting online patient posts.

Keywords: Multifocal Intraocular Lenses; Natural Language Processing; Social Networking.

MeSH terms

  • Contrast Sensitivity
  • Humans
  • Lens Implantation, Intraocular
  • Multifocal Intraocular Lenses*
  • Prosthesis Design
  • Visual Acuity