Premium Lens Implants

Before intraocular lenses (IOLs) were developed, people had to wear very thick eyeglasses or special contact lenses to be able to see after cataract surgery. Now, with cataract lens replacement, several types of IOL implants are available to help people enjoy improved vision. Discuss these options with your Eye M.D. to determine the IOL that best suits your vision needs and lifestyle.

Cataract lens replacement: How IOLs work

Like your eye’s natural lens, an IOL focuses light that comes into your eye through the cornea and pupil onto the retina, the sensitive tissue at the back of the eye that relays images through the optic nerve to the brain. Most IOLs are made of a flexible, foldable material and are about one-third of the size of a dime. Like the lenses of prescription eyeglasses, your IOL will contain the appropriate prescription to give you the best vision possible. Read below to learn about how IOL types correct specific vision problems.

Which lens option is right for you?

Before surgery your eyes are measured to determine your IOL prescription, and you and your Eye M.D. will compare options to decide which IOL type is best for you, depending in part on how you feel about wearing glasses for reading and near vision.

The type of IOL implanted will affect how you see when not wearing eyeglasses. Glasses may still be needed by some people for some activities.

If you have astigmatism, your Eye M.D. will discuss toric IOLs and related treatment options with you.
In certain cases, cost may be a deciding factor for you if you have the option of selecting special premium lOLs that may reduce your need for glasses.

Intraocular lens (IOL) types

Monofocal lens
This common IOL type has been used for several decades.

  • Monofocals are set to provide best corrected vision at near, intermediate or far distances.
  • Most people who choose monofocals have their IOLs set for distance vision and use reading glasses for near activities. On the other hand, a person whose IOLs were set to correct near vision would need glasses to see distant objects clearly.
  • Some who choose monofocals decide to have the IOL for one eye set for distance vision, and the other set for near vision, a strategy called “monovision.” The brain adapts and synthesizes the information from both eyes to provide vision at intermediate distances. Often this reduces the need for reading glasses. People who regularly use computers, PDAs or other digital devices may find this especially useful. Individuals considering monovision may be able to try this technique with contact lenses first to see how well they can adapt to monovision. Those who require crisp, detailed vision may decide monovision is not for them. People with appropriate vision prescriptions may find that monovision allows them see well at most distances with little or no need for eyeglasses.
  • Presbyopia is a condition that affects everyone at some point after age 40, when the eye’s lens becomes less flexible and makes near vision more difficult, especially in low light. Since presbyopia makes it difficult to see near objects clearly, even people without cataracts need reading glasses or an equivalent form of vision correction.
Multifocal lenses

These newer IOL types reduce or eliminate the need for glasses or contact lenses.

  • In the multifocal type, a series of focal zones or rings is designed into the IOL. Depending on where incoming light focuses through the zones, the person may be able to see both near and distant objects clearly.
  • The ability to read and perform other tasks without glasses varies from person to person but is generally best when multifocal IOLs are placed in both eyes.
  • It usually takes 6 to 12 weeks after surgery on the second eye for the brain to adapt and vision improvement to be complete with either of these IOL types.

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