Choosing Your Replacement Lens: There Are Many Options
New intraocular lens (IOLs) have been introduced that solve more vision problems than ever before. Advanced technology lenses can improve your vision up close, far away and in the middle – just where you need it to read the computer. New IOL options are being introduced each year, making the choices somewhat overwhelming. Before making a recommendation for you, your surgeon will consider the results of comprehensive eye testing. When you and your doctor are considering which type of IOL is right for your visual needs and your lifestyle, there are several factors to consider:
Traditional Monofocal IOLs
Traditional IOLs are monofocal, meaning they offer vision at one distance only (far, intermediate or near). Talk to your doctor about whether it’s most important for you to see close in or at a distance without glasses. If you choose the distance option, you will still likely need glasses for reading and computer work.
Astigmatism is a very common vision condition that causes blurred vision due either to the irregular shape of the cornea or the curvature of the lens inside the eye. If you have astigmatism and choose a monofocal lens, you may still need to wear glasses all the time. These are the least expensive lenses, and the cost is usually covered by Medicare or insurance.
Toric Monofocal IOLs
Toric IOLs can also be used to correct astigmatism, depending on how your cornea is shaped. In addition to replacing your lens, many surgeons utilize small incisions in the cornea – called limbal relaxing incisions – to help reshape the cornea.
If you have always had blurry vision due to astigmatism, cataract surgery may give you better vision than you’ve ever had before. Ask your surgeon about the best option for you. While Toric lenses generally provide clear distance vision, you will likely need glasses or contact lenses in order to read. If you’re active, this may not be the most flexible solution.
Multifocal and Accommodating IOLs
Around age 40, most of us lose the ability to focus our eyes on nearby objects. Multifocal and accommodating IOLs are designed to help you see near, far and in between without glasses or contact lenses. If you are interested in being free of glasses, talk to your doctor about whether a multifocal or accommodating lens is right for you. Based on test results, your ophthalmologist can make a recommendation regarding which premium lens gives you the best chance of being glasses-free.
Toric, multifocal and accommodating IOLs are considered “premium” lenses – you must pay any extra costs yourself. Medicare and most health plans will not cover these costs, because the additional benefits of these IOLs are considered a luxury and not a medical necessity. Learn more »
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