During cataract surgery, your eye’s cloudy natural lens will be replaced by an artificial intraocular lens (sometimes referred to as IOL or Lifestyle Lens). In the past, nearly everyone received the same basic type of IOL, but today, there are advancements that offer more choices than ever before.
Lifestyle Lenses can do more than cure cataracts. They can often correct additional vision problems, and some even offer a full rage of near, intermediate , and distance vision- potentially without the need for glasses or contacts after surgery.
Types of IOL’s
Monofocal IOLs provide a set focal point, usually for distance vision. This allows cataract surgery patients to see clearly within a range. About 95 percent of people who receive a standard IOL have their vision restored to its pre-cataract state. However, most patients still require glasses for reading or distance vision and may experience some visual disturbances such as glares and halos under certain light.
Monovision is a technique the surgeon may choose to perform that involves inserting an IOL in one eye for near vision and an IOL in the other eye for distance vision. This technique requires adaptation, since each eye will then be oriented toward different needs.
Multifocal IOLs are a newer type of lens that treats multiple focal points and reduces or eliminates the need for eyeglasses or contact lenses after cataract surgery. Part of the rapid evolution in IOL innovations, these newer lenses are made from cutting-edge materials with unique features. This is made possible through highly specialized optics that divide light and focus it on more than one point to provide a range from near to far eyesight.
Accommodative IOLs are considered monofocal, meaning they have a fixed focal point. This type of lens is designed to move in response to your eye’s own muscle, which translates into the ability to see multiple focal points.
Astigmatism Correcting IOLs
In addition to treating the cataract, some IOLs can also correct astigmatism at the time of surgery. These lenses will minimize the need for distance vision glasses after surgery.
If you have an astigmatism, your physician will most likely recommend the use of the LenSx Laser for your surgery. The LenSx helps to correct your astigmatism by reshaping your cornea, therefore reducing or eliminating your need for eye glasses after surgery. This is effective in mild cases of astigmatism but for someone with a more severe astigmatism, the use of a IOL, along with the LenSx, may be more appropriate.
The characteristics of your eye certainly play a role in your lens decision, therefore your physicians determination after your consultation is complete, if very important for a successful outcome. It is also important to keep in mind your lifestyle and the role that your vision plays in the activities that you enjoy, when selecting your lenses.
A few important things to consider:
- How important is night vision to your lifestyle?
- Do you have astigmatism?
- Would you like the chance to be glasses-free after surgery?
- What kind of cost and insurance considerations do you have?
You have one chance to choose the IOL that will change the very way you see the world!
Talk to your doctor, consider all of the options, and choose wisely.