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 Intraocular Lens Options

Simply removing the blurry cataract and placing any kind of lens implant in the eye helps patients see better.  But cataract surgery with today’s high-tech lens implants offers us even more exciting options for vision improvement.  The intraocular lenses which are available today can correct almost any optical deficiency.  We could almost compare having cataract surgery today to having Laser Vision Correction surgery.  Since you only have cataract surgery once, it is important to consider the following lens implant options:

Standard Monofocal Lenses

Monofocal IOLs
AcrySof, Tecnis
These basic, single-focus IOLs are the traditional lenses that we have used for years.  They can correct your near vision or distance vision but cannot do both.  They also cannot correct astigmatism.  Patients who choose these lenses see well but depend on reading glasses, distance glasses, or bifocals to achieve a range of vision.  The cost of these lenses is covered by your health insurance.

Monovision with Monofocal IOLs
Using the standard lenses discussed above, we correct one eye for distance and the other eye for near.  This technique typically works best for patients who have tried it with contact lenses in the past.  In these situations we can achieve good distance and near vision for patients without glasses.  The potential disadvantages of this technique are that some patients may not be able to adapt to this way of seeing and depth perception may be affected because the two eyes do not have the same focal point.  In addition, this will not correct astigmatism.

Advanced Technology Lenses

Toric IOLs
AcrySof Toric, Tecnis Toric
These lenses are a good option for patients who have astigmatism.  Astigmatism means the cornea is irregularly curved and this causes blurred and distorted vision.  We normally correct this with glasses but now with toric lens implants we can correct the astigmatism internally.  These implants correct the blurring that astigmatism causes for both far and near vision.  Most patients who chose toric lenses just use cheap drugstore readers after surgery to help them with small print.

Monovision with Toric IOLs
Toric IOLs will correct astigmatism, but cannot correct both distance and near vision. Like Monofocal IOLs, Toric IOLs can be used to correct one eye for distance and the other eye for near.  This situation can give the advantages of monovision to patients with significant amounts of astigmatism.

Multifocal IOLs
ReStor, ReStor Toric, PanOptix, PanOptiX Toric, Symfony, Symfony Toric
These lens implants enable patients to see both far and near without the need for glasses.  They are optically designed to create a distance and near focal point on the retina.  The brain then adjusts to this new way of seeing by learning to select the appropriate focal point for each task.  Multifocal lenses can work very well and open a whole new world of glasses-free living.  These lenses do have a small risk of glare with nighttime driving and it may be necessary to remove the lens implant and exchange it for a different type of lens if your brain cannot adapt to this expanded vision (these risks are approximately 3-5%).  Multifocal lenses are not appropriate for patients who have retina problems such as macular degeneration or diabetic retinopathy OR certain corneal diseases – your surgeon will discuss this in more detail with you if applicable.  These lenses are available in Toric versions to correct astigmatism.

Accommodating IOLs
Crystalens AO, Trulign Toric
This lens implant gives patients a range of vision from distance to intermediate to near with much less need for glasses.  The lens produces only one focal point and then moves that focal point in and out by flexing within the eye.  The internal muscles of the eye which contract to help us focus up close make this lens flex.  The benefit of this lens is that it gives a range of vision which is more like what we were able to see when young.  The only real disadvantage of this lens is that the amount of focus adjustment depends on each patient’s eye muscles. As a result, we cannot predict before surgery how wide a focusing range each patient will get.  Using a light pair of glasses in occasional situations will remedy any of those limitations of focusing if they occur (the implant would not need to be removed).  These lenses are available in Toric versions to correct astigmatism.

As you can tell, we have many exciting options in cataract surgery to help you see better than ever before!   Unfortunately, much like LASIK surgery, insurance companies do not feel that achieving the best possible vision for our patients is medically necessary!  Therefore they do not cover all costs involved with the advanced lenses.  Please take the time to consider all aspects of this choice.  Cataract surgery is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to improve your vision.  Your doctor will take the time to answer all your questions and make sure you understand how these options might apply to your situation.










Acrysof IQ® Monofocal





Acrysof IQ Toric®

PanOptix®          PanOptix Toric®
Symfony®                  Symfony Toric®


Crystalens AO®         Trulign Toric®