It used to be that if you needed cataract surgery, you were then forced to wear extremely thick eyeglasses or special contact lenses in order to be able to see once the procedure was complete. Then, in the 1980s, the FDA approved the use of the use of intraocular lenses which are medical devices that are implanted inside the eye to replace the eye’s natural lens. Today, you have a variety to choose from and the best one for you depends on your lifestyle and your specific visual needs.
During your preoperative exam and consultation, your ophthalmologist will help you choose the best lens for you. Some of your choices include:
- Monofocal — This type of lens is designed to correct either near or far sightedness. If you have this type implanted, you will probably need to wear glasses after cataract treatment in order to further improve your vision.
- Multifocal — Also known as accommodative IOLs, this type of lens is designed to provide correction for both near and farsightedness. However, your brain needs to be taught to select the visual information it needs in order to form an image of either near or distant objects. Therefore, multifocal lenses usually require some adjustment and most people adjust better to these types of lenses if they are placed in both eyes. In addition, this type of lens is not an option for some people and is often considered a premium lens and may cost more than a monofocal lens and may require an additional out-of-pocket expense. Additionally, glare, halos, or decreased contrast sensitivity in certain conditions, such as night driving or dim restaurant lighting can occur. While some patients rarely notice these visual effects, others notice them, but are not significantly bothered by them.
- Toric –This is a monofocal lens that helps correct astigmatism. Since it usually costs more than a monofocal lens, your insurance company may consider it a premium lens and therefore, may not cover it. Additionally, if the astigmatism is especially pronounced, you may need lasik eye surgery to further correct any residual astigmatism.
- Aspheric – These are non-spherical lenses that are better able to mimic the shape and optical quality of the eye’s natural lens. This, in turn, enables it to provide sharper vision, especially in low-light conditions and for those that have large pupils.
As with any medical procedure, it is best to discuss all of your options with a trained physician before agreeing to any surgery. Moreover, keep in mind any other eye issues you may be suffering from, as well as visual needs when determining the type of lenses to choose. Also, bear in mind that in order to determine the power of the lens implant, you will have to undergo a series of eye measurements. These measurements are then used in complex mathematical equations in order to calculate the power of your new lens. Due to the fact that not every eye is the same, there can be inaccuracies in the formulas.