How Can I Choose a Lens Implant for Cataract Surgery?
Understanding the role of the natural crystalline lens
The natural crystalline lens of your eye is a very important part of your visual system. As you might be experiencing cloudiness in vision as a result of cataracts you are probably starting to realize the importance of this structure. If you want to see clearly at all distances your eye must be able to change focusing power. This is precisely the role of the natural crystalline lens.
This lens actually changes shape to assist with bringing images into focus. It is normal that in your early forties you may lose your ability to see up close and may require reading glasses. This happens as we begin to age and the lens hardens and loses its ability to change shape. If you were previously nearsighted you will now need bifocals and will not be able to focus at multiple distances.
Selecting the right implant for your eye is very important for your vision after surgery. Your doctor will take measurements before your surgery to determine how strong your lens is, so an implant with the same strength can be put in during the surgery. If you wear glasses, the implant strength can be adjusted to replace both your lens and your glasses.
Until recently cataract patients received monofocal lens implants that had only a single power and could not correct astigmatism. This meant you had a choice of correction for either far or near vision and you would still need glasses for either reading or for distance vision or for both.
The FDA has now approved several lens implants for use by certified ophthalmologists. These lenses can increase your chances for a life free of dependence on glasses or contacts after cataract surgery for near, far, and intermediate vision. If you have worn glasses for 30 years this might be an opportunity for you to eliminate this hassle from your life.
The implantation procedure is the same for most types of IOLs. The main point of differentiation between the IOLs is in the type of vision they provide.
Multifocal VS. Monofocal
- Provides good vision at one distance (typically far vision)
- Requires at least reading glasses after surgery, may require glasses for all distances.
- Covered by Medicare
- Reduces or eliminates preexisting astigmatism
- May require reading glasses after surgery
- Partial coverage by Medicare (consult with staff)
Intraocular Lens Options
Intraocular lenses come in a variety of materials and designs. Your cataract surgeon generally chooses a lens made of a material that is best suited to your individual situation. Some intraocular lenses used in our practice are coated with UV filters. Some lenses are yellow in color. These lenses are theoretically better at blocking the light rays in the blue spectrum, these UV light rays are related to the development of macular degeneration in some patients.
Some intraocular lenses are designed to be multi-focal in certain lighting circumstances, which may enable patients to see both at distance and near without the aid of spectacles. We offer different options for intraocular lens implants. Our cataract surgeons will advise or our staff can advise you regarding the best lens for your personal vision.
Vision result: Improved vision, glasses likely needed
Astigmatism correction: None
Vision result: Enhanced distance vision, glasses needed for reading
Astigmatism correction: Included
Vision result: Corrects distance and near vision, glasses rarely needed
Astigmatism correction: Included