Choosing an IOL

Which intraocular lens is right for you?

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, your surgeon will consider the results of your comprehensive eye testing. As you and your doctor decide which type of IOL is right for your visual needs and your lifestyle, there are several factors to consider:

Monofocal IOLs

Monofocal lenses offer vision at one distance only (far, intermediate or near). Talk to your doctor about whether it’s most important for you to see up close or at a distance without glasses. If you choose the distance option, you will still likely need glasses for reading and computer work.
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.  

Astigmatism-Correcting Lens

Astigmatism is a very common vision condition that causes blurred vision due to the irregular shape of the cornea. A toric intraocular lens can be used to correct astigmatism, depending on how the cornea is shaped.  
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. Toric lenses are generally used for higher levels of astigmatism while lower levels can often be corrected with incisions made in the cornea that are used to change the shape of the eye. These are called limbal relaxing incisions and can be made by hand with a blade or with the precision of a laser. While toric lenses generally provide clear distance vision, you will likely need glasses or contact lenses in order to read.  

Multifocal IOLs

Around age 40, most of us lose the ability to focus our eyes on nearby objects. Multifocal IOLs are designed to help you see near, far and in between with as little glasses or contact use as possible. Once multifocal lenses are implanted, your brain learns to select the right focus automatically. An accommodative lens, a type of multifocal lens, changes the shape inside the eye, allowing you to focus at different distances. Extended depth of focus IOLs correct presbyopia and improve near and intermediate vision without compromising distance vision. Studies show 80 to 90 percent of patients are glasses-free with the remaining 10 to 20 percent needing glasses for some distance. And now there is a combination toric/multifocal IOL for patients who have astigmatism and want to be as glasses-free as possible.

Based on test results, your ophthalmologist can make a recommendation regarding which premium lens gives you the best chance of being glasses-free. Astigmatism-correcting and multifocal 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 elective and not a medical necessity. Cataract Surgery > Cataract Surgery Cost >