Which IOL Is Right for You?

If you have cataracts and will soon have cataract surgery, to have them removed, picking the intraocular lens (IOL) that will be implanted after surgery is one of your most important decisions. Your IOL will determine how well you can see after cataract surgery, which can dramatically impact your quality of life.

Your Options

In the past, patients had very few options for IOLs after cataract surgery, but recently advanced technology IOLs have changed the situation dramatically. While many people were forced to resign themselves to barely functional vision that depended on reading glasses, bifocals, or trifocals, advanced options mean that many people will be able to have vision good enough that they rarely or never need glasses in their daily lives.

The traditional lenses for cataract surgery are known as monofocal lenses. Advanced technology IOLs, sometimes described as “premium IOLs,” are either multifocal or accommodating lenses.

Monofocal vs. Premium Lenses

Monofocal lenses will cure your cataracts and leave you with substantially improved vision. They are right for people who:

  • Are comfortable wearing reading glasses or bifocals
  • Have insurance that doesn’t cover premium IOLs and do not wish to pay for them
  • Do not need or desire optimal vision all the time

Premium lenses, on the other hand, are for people who desire the best possible vision, are not comfortable wearing reading glasses or bifocals, and can afford premium IOLs, which are often not covered by insurance, including Medicare.

Picking Your Premium Lens

If you have decided that you want to get a type of premium lens for improved vision after your cataract surgery, you still have to decide which one is right for you. There are two main types of premium lenses: multifocal or accommodating lenses. Multifocal lenses focus light from different distances on the retina simultaneously, while accommodating lenses mimic the action of the natural lens to focus the eye on objects.

There is only one accommodating lens currently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA): Crystalens. The multifocal lenses approved by the FDA are:

Each of these lenses has several different versions, and they each have their individualized strengths and weaknesses. Only your doctor will be able to tell which one is right for you, but to help your doctor make the selection, be prepared to discuss:

Do you focus on near or far objects more often?
How important is color and contrast sensitivity to you?
Do you often drive at night?

You should also be prepared to discuss vision changes over your lifetime. After considering all these factors, your doctor will recommend an IOL, or perhaps a combination of IOLs to give you the visual freedom you desire after cataract surgery.

To discuss advanced IOLs and which one is right for you, please contact us to talk to an ophthalmologist in your area today.