What Happens During Surgery To Give Me Clearer Vision?
During cataract surgery, the eye surgeon first removes the eye’s cloudy natural lens that impairs vision. The eye then needs a new lens to focus light onto the retina, which sends an image to the brain. Years ago, post-cataract surgery patients were required to wear glasses with thick frames in order to see. Today, the ophthalmologist implants an artificial lens directly into the eye. The intraocular lens implant, or IOL, is what the eye uses to achieve clear vision after surgery.
What are my options for lens implants?
There are a few different lens options available to patients planning to undergo cataract surgery. Each lens addresses a specific need, and a healthcare professional will weigh the pros and cons of each prior to the procedure.
These lenses are designed to provide correction for either near or distance vision. Because of this, most patients choose to have clear distance vision and rely on glasses for reading or seeing objects up close. On the other hand, the lens can be set see up close, which would allow for reading without glasses. Glasses would then be needed to see at a distance. Another option to consider with monofocal lenses is monovision, which means choosing a lens in one eye for distance vision and a lens in the other eye for near vision. Not every brain can accommodate the difference in vision between the two eyes, and the eye doctor may request a test with contact lenses before surgery.
Multifocal IOLs are similar to bifocals or progressive lenses in glasses and are designed to focus light from near, intermediate, and distance vision without the need for further correction. The brain and eye work together to determine which part of the lens is best to use at any given time. Multifocal IOLs typically provide the best results when implanted in both eyes. The lenses are usually considered premium lenses by insurance companies and are not covered.
A monofocal or multifocal lens is typically not enough for patients with astigmatism, also known as an irregular curvature in the shape of the eye. Eyes with astigmatism need additional correction, and a Toric IOL may be a solution. A physician can align a Toric IOL with the eye’s irregular shape to remove the effects of astigmatism. Like the multifocal IOL, Toric IOLs are considered premium lenses and are not typically covered by insurance.