When choosing an intraocular lens (IOL) for your upcoming cataract surgery, you have many choices. Price, function, convenience and long-term satisfaction are important factors to consider. Your surgeon may have recommendations for you, but chances are that you will have the final choice in the decision. How do you choose when there are so many options? Let’s take a look at several IOLs and analyze their advantages and disadvantages:
This type of lens offers clear vision at one distance only. It is also known as a monofocal lens.
- Advantages: Traditional IOLs are the least expensive IOL and are usually covered by Medicare or insurance. If you only need help seeing one distance (near, intermediate or far), this lens would provide what you need.
- Disadvantages: Most people who select a traditional IOL will still need to wear glasses. If you have astigmatism and select a monofocal IOL, you will probably have to wear glasses all the time.
This IOL corrects astigmatism, or an irregularly shaped cornea.
- Advantages—During the procedure, many surgeons will help try to reshape the cornea by using small incisions. Toric IOLs usually offer patients clearer vision than they have ever experienced before. Distance vision is dramatically improved with this lens.
- Disadvantages: Toric IOLs will provide clear vision for only one distance. You will most likely need glasses or contact lenses for near and intermediate vision. This lens is also not ideal for active individuals.
Multifocal and Accommodating IOLs
These IOLs assist with near, far and intermediate distances. These lenses are known as premium lenses because their goal is to reduce or completely eliminate the need for other corrective lenses.
- Advantages: A multifocal or accommodating IOL is your best chance to be glasses-free. This is a great option for active adults, athletes or those who find glasses uncomfortable or cumbersome.
- Disadvantages: Most insurance companies will not cover a multifocal or accommodating lens because it is considered a luxury or cosmetic lens.