Purpose To compare the visual performance of multifocal intraocular lenses (IOLs) and monofocal IOLs made of the same material. Methods The subjects included patients implanted with either Tecnis® monofocal IOLs (ZA9003 or ZCB00) or Tecnis® multifocal IOLs (ZMA00 or ZMB00) bilaterally. We conducted a retrospective study comparing the two types of IOLs. The multifocal group included 46 patients who were implanted with Tecnis® multifocal IOLs bilaterally. The monofocal group was an age- and sex-matched control group, and included 85 patients who were implanted with Tecnis® monofocal IOLs bilaterally. Lens opacity grading, the radius of corneal curvature, corneal astigmatism, axial length and the refractive status were measured preoperatively. Pupil size, ocular aberrometry, distance, intermediate and near visual acuity, contrast sensitivity with and without glare and the responses to a quality-of-vision questionnaire were evaluated pre- and postoperatively. Results The uncorrected near visual acuity was significantly better in the multifocal group, whereas both the corrected intermediate and near visual acuity were better in the monofocal group. Contrast sensitivity (with and without glare) was significantly better in the monofocal group. The rate of spectacle dependency was significantly lower in the multifocal group. There were no significant differences between the two groups regarding most items of the postoperative quality-of-vision questionnaire (VFQ-25), with the exception that the patients in the monofocal group reported fewer problems with nighttime driving. Conclusions The multifocal IOLs used in this study reduced spectacle dependency more so than monofocal IOLs and did not compromise the subjective visual function, with the exception of nighttime driving.