Intraocular Lens Options
The goal of surgery is to replace the cloudy lens with a permanent, transparent, intraocular lens, made of a specialized plastic. These lenses are sometimes referred to as cataract implants. Once the cataract is removed, it cannot return. In addition to restoring clarity to the patient’s vision, the surgeon has the ability to choose any strength intraocular lens for any underlying refractive error the patient may have had throughout life.
Types of Intraocular Lenses
There are three major groups of lenses that surgeons can offer patients including monofocal, toric, and multifocal lenses.
The first type of intraocular lens is the monofocal lens, a lens which lets the patient focus clearly at a single distance, albeit at distance or near. The patient will need a pair of glasses to see clearly at near (if clear, uncorrected distance vision is the desired post-surgical result) or at distance (if clear, uncorrected near distance vision is desired post-surgical result). The monofocal lens does not correct for underlying corneal astigmatism which may necessitate astigmatic spectacle correction after surgery.
The second type of intraocular lens is the toric lens, which corrects for corneal astigmatism from within the eye. This lens is ideal for patients who rely on specials due to an underlying corneal astigmatism. The “normal” shape of the corneal is perfectly spherical, like a soccer ball. People who have a corneal astigmatism have an irregularly sloped cornea, slimmer to the shape of a football. The toric intraocular lens corrects for the irregularly shaped corneal from inside to the eye to let the patients see clearly post-operative without glasses (at a single distance).
The third lens group is the multifocal intraocular lens, a lens that can free the patients from glasses correction at both distance and near. This lens uses the principles of diffraction and refraction to focus light though different sections of the lens based of the visual demand.
Only the standard, monofocal intraocular lens is covered by insurance. Your surgeon can discuss with you the cost and payment plans associated with the toric and multifocal lenses.
Eye Care Following Cataract Implants
Surgery is performed on one eye at a time to make recovery easier. Depending on the type of intraocular lens that is used some patients may require reading glasses after cataract surgery. The type of glasses you need will vary based on your vision before the surgery and what type of intraocular lens is implanted. Your ophthalmologist will be able to tell you what type of glasses, if any, you might need following surgery.