IOL Options and Cataract Surgery
Cataracts are extremely common, especially in those aged 65 and older. The clouding caused by cataracts slowly obscures vision until a patient is unable to see out of the affected eye.
Cataract surgery breaks up and removes a lens that has been clouded over by a cataract. Once the natural lens has been removed, it is replaced with an intraocular lens, or IOL.
An IOL is a clear, artificial lens that restores vision. Although vision can be improved just by removing a cataract, an IOL offers features that further enhance the eyesight.
Here, we discuss IOL options that cataract surgery patients at our Chicago, IL practice, Wicker Park Eye Center, can consider when coming in for cataract treatment.
A monofocal IOL, or single vision IOL, improves the vision at one distance. Depending on the IOL that is placed, it may improve near, distant, or intermediate vision.
If a patient has a cataract in each eye, he or she may choose to have the same type of IOL placed in each eye. Or, we can treat each eye for a different distance, in a technique known as monovision.
The greatest benefit of a monofocal IOL is that the cost is typically completely covered by medical insurance. Potential downfalls include the continued need for glasses to improve vision at some distances.
Multifocal or Accommodating IOLs
Multifocal and accommodating IOLs are considered premium IOLs. These devices can improve a patient’s vision at various distances.
Multifocal IOLs contain different levels of magnification at different levels of the IOL so that a patient can see clearer at near, intermediate, and far distances.
An accommodating IOL has flexible supporting legs that actually allow the IOL to move forward slightly when the patient is looking at an object at a close distance, so that the eye can focus the image better.
The benefit of each of these types of IOLs is that they greatly reduce the need for prescription glasses. The potential downside of these types of IOLs is that they do carry an additional expense that may not be covered by insurance.
Aspheric IOLs are another type of premium IOL. Unlike traditional IOLs, which are spherical in shape, these IOLs vary in curvature. They more closely mimic the shape of the natural eye lens.
Although these IOLs cost more than traditional IOLs, they can provide sharper vision. Additionally, aspheric IOLs are less likely to cause optical imperfections, such as glares and halos, particularly in low-light situations, including night driving.
Another premium IOL available to patients is the toric IOL. Toric IOLs have different powers of magnification in different meridians of the lens.
They also have markings on the peripheral part of the lens that line up with temporary markings that are placed on the cornea. When a toric IOL is placed, these markings are lined up to provide optimal vision correction.
Due to these features, a toric IOL can correct nearsightedness and farsightedness, in addition to astigmatism.
If you are suffering from cataracts, the experienced eye doctors at Wicker Park Eye Center can help you achieve your optimal vision. The types of IOLs available for cataract surgery all offer their own unique benefits. To learn more about lens options, and which may be most appropriate for your unique vision needs, contact us at your earliest convenience.