Deciding Which Intraocular Lens Option is Best for You
Cataract surgery, the process of removing a person’s natural but now-clouded lens with an effective artificial lens, is a very common procedure – one that almost four million Americans undergo each year. Significant medical advancements have made the process easier and safer, yielding benefits beyond cataract correction thanks to the development of specialized intraocular lenses (IOLs). Today’s IOLs offer a wide range of options for different visual needs and lifestyles.
The monofocal lens, the most common IOL, has been used for decades and provides the best possible vision for a specific distance, either far or near, depending on the preference of the patient. Because the IOL’s distance is set, the patient has to wear glasses to correct the vision for other distances. For instance, if the patient selects IOLs corrected for longer distances, they’ll likely have to wear glasses for things like reading. This is the most cost-efficient IOL and is often covered by insurance providers.
Also referred to as multi-focal or extended depth-of-focus (EDOF) lenses, presbyopia-correcting lenses correct both near and far vision, similar to bifocal and trifocal glasses. This IOL often means people who needed glasses before cataract surgery no longer need them after their procedure. This IOL is not recommended for people with vision loss from glaucoma or macular degeneration due to the amount of light they prevent from entering the eye. Considered a premium lens, they’re also not often covered by insurance providers.
The toric lens has a built-in correction for astigmatism, which helps those with moderate to high astigmatism see both near and far objects. These IOLS are available as monofocal and some presbyopia-correcting lenses, but are often considered a premium lens and therefore not covered by many insurance providers.
The light-adjustable lens
One of the newer innovations in cataract treatment, the light-adjustable lens (LAL) is a monofocal IOL that, unlike any other type of lens, is customizable after surgery. This helps doctors adjust the lens for any refractive errors that may occur during the healing process, preventing the patient from needing glasses. An adjustment also can be made to correct astigmatism.
Although this information may be helpful for those interested in cataract correction, the best way to determine which lens is most suitable for you is by spending time with your ophthalmologist. They can also explain the surgical process and the overall impact the lens variety you choose will have on your vision.
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American Academy of Ophthalmology
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