When the lens of the eye is clouded by a cataract or blurry at near distances due to presbyopia, monofocal or multifocal intraocular contact lenses can replace a damaged lens. IOLs are implantable lenses that replace the lens of the eye when it is removed during cataract surgery. A monofocal or multifocal lens implant is a stable, reliable options for improving vision.
Benefits of Intraocular Lenses
Millions of people around the world who have suffered vision loss due to cataracts or presbyopia are now enjoying the benefits of intraocular lenses. Intraocular lenses provide remarkable vision improvement; a multifocal lens implant can alleviate the effects of presbyopia and eliminate or greatly reduce the need for reading glasses or contact lenses.
Intraocular Lens Candidates
If you are in good health and have sufficient corneal thickness, there is a good chance you will be eligible to improve your vision with intraocular lenses.
Cataracts are as inevitable as gray hair. If you live long enough, you have a near certain probability of getting cataracts. Cataracts are not just limited to those who have reached their golden years. Cataracts have also been linked to eye injuries, genetics, overexposure to sunlight, and some medications, and they can afflict young adults and even children. Most surgery for vision correction with intraocular lenses, however, is performed on older individuals.
You may be a candidate for intraocular lenses if you are between the ages of 21 and 80 and cataracts have caused you to experience:
- Blurred vision
- Difficulty driving at night because of glare
- Problems reading
- Overall diminished vision that is not improved by your recent-prescription contact lenses or glasses
Another unavoidable part of growing older is presbyopia. As we reach middle age, we all begin to notice that our vision gradually loses acuity for near-vision tasks such as reading. The problem occurs because as people grow older, the natural crystalline lens in the eyes becomes rigid and loses its ability to focus correctly. If you suffer from presbyopia and prefer not to use reading glasses or bifocals, intraocular lenses offer an effective solution.
General IOL Requirements
Prior to accepting you for intraocular lens surgery, your ophthalmologist will assess your general health and the health of your eyes. You are a likely candidate for intraocular lenses if you:
- Are in good health
- Have healthy eyes free of disease and infection
- Have sufficient corneal thickness
- Are between the ages of 21 and 80
- You may not be eligible for intraocular lenses if you:
- Have diabetes or hepatitis C
- Suffer from persistently dry eyes
- Have excessive corneal scarring
- Are taking certain drugs
- Use a pacemaker
- Are pregnant
- Are HIV positive
Types of IOLs
If you are considering cataract surgery to replace the lens in your eye, you should discuss with your doctor which of the different types of IOL may work best for you. There are two main types of IOL to consider: monofocal and multifocal intraocular lenses.
Originally, IOLs were monofocal, or corrective of vision at one distance only, whether near, intermediate, or far. Since they correct vision at just one distance, glasses are still needed, especially if the patient suffers from presbyopia (or age-related farsightedness). Newer, multifocal intraocular lenses will correct vision at multiple ranges, without the use of glasses or regular contact lenses.
A multifocal lens implant is designed for the correction of both near and far vision. Your brain must learn to select the visual information it needs to form an image of either near or distant objects, so multifocal lenses may require a period of adjustment. A person may adjust better to multifocal intraocular lenses if they are placed in both eyes.
AcrySof® ReSTOR® multifocal intraocular lenses are uniquely designed to improve vision at all distances, giving cataract patients the opportunity to experience life without glasses. ReSTOR® is modeled after microscope and telescope technology and focuses at both near and far distances, decreasing your dependency on glasses. Learn more about the AcrySof® ReSTOR® intraocular lens.
The ReZoom™ intraocular lens is a next-generation refractive multifocal lens implant that provides hyperopic cataract patients with greater independence from glasses than monofocal IOLs. Learn more about the ReZoom™ IOL.
Crystalens® is the first intraocular lens for cataracts that also provides accommodation, the ability to adjust focus between near, far, and midrange vision. Crystalens® is designed to mimic the eye’s natural process of accommodation. Other monofocal IOLs are fixed and stationary within the eye. Learn more about Crystalens® IOLs.
TECNIS™ intraocular lenses minimize glare and have been shown to allow significantly greater detail and contrast than traditional IOLs. TECNIS™ lenses have shown particular effectiveness in patients with reduced contrast sensitivity in low-light situations. Learn more about the TECNIS™ IOL.
Intraocular Lens (IOL) Procedure
Intraocular lens surgery takes a short time to complete, but its benefits last a lifetime. Replacing the eye's natural crystalline lens with an advanced biocompatible substitute gives those suffering from cataracts or presbyopia a level of vision correction unattainable with glasses or contact lenses alone.
IOL Eye Surgery
In most cases, intraocular lens surgery can be performed in less than an hour. During the outpatient procedure, the ophthalmologist will remove the eye’s natural lens that was affected by a cataract or presbyopia. The methods for removing the damaged lens may vary based on the type of cataract surgery performed.
Once the eye’s natural lens is removed, the surgeon will continue the intraocular lens surgery by implanting the IOL. While there may be some variation to the procedure due to the different types of IOLs used, most intraocular lens surgery involves the ophthalmologist placing the intraocular lens implant in the eye through a small, self-healing incision. The surgeon will typically fold the intraocular lens implant to properly fit it through the incision. Once in the eye, the IOL opens to its permanent position. Although not used as often, a non-foldable IOL may be inserted during intraocular lens surgery, resulting in a slightly larger incision. Your ophthalmologist can discuss the various types of IOLs available and which IOL will be most effectivefor your surgery.
Most patients are very happy with the results of their intraocular lens surgery, and manufacturers cite the benefits of their intraocular lenses with success rates that are truly impressive. Among the noteworthy are:
- Makers of ReSTOR® intraocular lenses report that after cataract surgery 80 percent of patients never had to wear glasses, and nearly 94 percent of patients were very satisfied with their results.
- A study by the American Academy of Ophthalmology showed that after receiving ReZoom™ intraocular lenses, 100 percent of patients could see well at far distances, 95 percent had good middle vision, and 71 percent had functional near vision. The study also found that 67 percent of participants did not use glasses at all in six months following the procedure.
- Eyeonics, Inc., reports that more than 98 percent of patients who had Crystalens® intraocular lenses implanted in both eyes could pass a driver's test without the aid of glasses. One hundred percent of patients had intermediate vision improvement adequate for most everyday tasks, and more than 98 percent could read a newspaper or telephone book without glasses.
- According to the manufacturer of the TECNIS™ IOL, because this lens was designed with Wavefront™ technology, it provides superior vision-correction benefits over other intraocular lenses, including 31 percent better contrast sensitivity in normal light and a 51 percent improvement in contrast sensitivity in low light in comparison to traditional IOLs.
IOL Eye Surgery Recovery
The recovery time for intraocular lens surgery is relatively short. In most circumstances, you should return for a follow-up visit within 24 hours of receiving the intraocular lens implant. You should be able to resume some normal activities, including light work, watching television, and reading within a day of your intraocular lens surgery, but you should not undertake any activity that may cause your blood pressure to rise or that may put pressure on your eye. In addition, you must also be sure to not rub your eyes. Some surgeons will give patients a clear shield to wear over the eye after intraocular lens surgery.
It may take several weeks to realize the full extent of vision correction achieved with the IOL. Most ophthalmologists will encourage you to wait four to six weeks before obtaining new glasses. If you choose multifocal IOLs for your intraocular lens implants, you may eliminate or greatly reduce the need for corrective eyewear.
Risks of Intraocular Lenses
Although complications are rare, there are certain risks associated with intraocular lens surgery. Your ophthalmologist will perform a thorough examination of your eyes and will research your medical history to determine any factor or factors that may increase your susceptibility to IOL risks. Statistics show complications occur in less than 5 percent of cases. Lean more about IOL risks.
Cost of Intraocular Lenses
The cost of a monofocal or multifocal intraocular lens is determined by several factors, including the surgeon you choose and the area of the country where the surgery is performed. Typically, the cost of a lens implant is $1,500 to $3,000 per eye. Learn more about the cost of a lens implant.
How Do I Choose an IOL Surgeon?
The outcome of your intraocular lens surgery depends greatly on the skill and qualifications of the ophthalmologist you choose. DocShop’s online directory can help you locate a skilled IOL specialist in your area.
Find a Doctor through DocShop
If your vision has been impaired by cataracts and you are interested in monofocal or multifocal intraocular lenses, DocShop can help you find an ophthalmologist in your area. Find out how a monofocal or multifocal lens implant can correct the effects of cataracts or presbyopia.