Cataract Surgery: How to Choose Right IOL

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:

ysm types of iols

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 to the irregular shape of the cornea. 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.  
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 cuts made in the cornea that are used to change the shape of the eye.  These cuts are called limbal relaxing incision and can be made by hand with a blade or with 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 and Accommodating IOLs

Around age 40, most of us lose the ability to focus our eyes on nearby objects. Multifocal and extended depth of focus IOLs are designed to help you see near, far and in between with as little glasses or contact use as possible. Studies show 80-90% of patients are glasses free with the remaining 10-20% needing glasses for some distance. And now there is a combination Toric/Multifocal IOL for patients who want to be as glasses free as possible, but have a significant astigmatism.

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 extended depth of focus 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. Learn more »