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Due to advancements in ophthalmic surgery techniques and the technology of the intraocular lens (IOL), you can now have your cataract removed and replaced with a lens that improves your vision. When thinking about which lens to choose, consider what activities you do during your day and what type of vision you need to do those activities. This will give you an idea of what vision correction will suit your lifestyle best.  You can then discuss this with your surgeon and choose the best lens possible for you.

During cataract surgery the natural clouded lens of the eye is removed and replaced with an artificial lens called an intraocular lens (IOL).  This lens replacement is permanent which means you only need to have surgery once. Before the use of intraocular lenses, once the cataract was removed, you had to wear very thick glasses or special contact lenses in order to see as no lens was implanted in the eye to replace the focusing power of the natural lens.

Due to advancements in ophthalmic surgery techniques and the technology of the IOL you can now have your cataract removed and replaced with a lens that improves your vision.

There are many different types of IOL’s available and your surgeon can help you choose which one best suits your lifestyle and will correct your vision needs.

Before you visit your surgeon it is helpful to have an idea of what options there are and how you’d like your vision to be after your surgery.

Monofocal lens

This type of lens is the standard and will let you see very clearly but only at one distance. There are three different distances and the lens that you choose will allow you to see clearly at the chosen distance but you will still require glasses for the other distances.  Choosing which distance will depend upon your lifestyle and what you do during your day.

Long distance – if you do a lot of driving, watch television or are a keen golf player then improving your long distance vision could help. You will still require glasses for reading and up close activities.

Middle distance – this is the distance for working on a computer or reading music.

Short distance – if you do a lot of reading then improving your short distance vision could be a good option for you. You will still require glasses for distance activities such as driving or watching TV or a movie.

Most people choose a monofocal IOL that allows them to focus on things at a distance and then they use reading glasses when needed.

Toric lens

If you have astigmatism this type of lens replacement will reduce your blurred vision but like monodical IOLs it is set for one specific distance. Toric IOLs are usually recommended for people with moderate to high corneal astigmatism. They best used for the treatment of regular astigmatism and are not as effective treating irregular astigmatism. This type of IOL can correct both the astigmatism as well as nearsightedness or farsightedness.

Multifocal lens

A multifocal lens splits the light in each eye to give a near and distance focus. This decreases the contrast of each eye. Multifocal lenses are usually only used if they can be implanted into both eyes and are best for people who don’t have any other eye disease. Some people who choose multifocal lenses may notice glare or halos at night, so it’s not recommended if you do a lot of night driving.

Monovision

Some people don’t like the idea of multifocal lens and prefer to choose monovision. This is when a monofocal lens set for distance vision is inserted into one eye (the dominant eye) and the other eye (non-dominant) has a monofocal lens inserted for near vision. The brain adapts and blends the information from both eyes to provide overall vision. The result is a blended vision giving you the ability to see both near and far without having using glasses. Monovision decreases your need for reading glasses and computer glasses after surgery.

 

When thinking about which lens to choose, make a note of what activities you do during your day, what type of vision you need to do those activities and how often you change or put your glasses on and off. This will give you an idea of what vision correction will suit your lifestyle best.  You can then discuss this with your surgeon at your assessment to determine the best lens possible for you.

 

Unfortunately most insurance companies only cover the cost of the cataract surgery and the standard monofocal intraocular lens as they do not consider these additional features as medical necessities. Therefore if you choose a premium IOL such as a Toric IOL or Multifocal IOL you will incur an out of pocket expense. To understand your cataract surgery costs, check the terms of your insurance policy and discuss the cost of the lens options with your surgeon.

Cataract surgery with an IOL replacement is life changing. The operation is quick and pain free and the results are almost immediate.