The task of choosing which intraocular lens, or IOL, is best for you can be daunting. There are many options, and your eye doctor will help you decide which one will best align with your vision goals. 

Keep reading to learn more about IOLs and what kind of IOL may be best for you!

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What Is an IOL?

Cataracts are natural aging of the eye’s lens. When the lens becomes cloudy, it can block light from passing through, which prevents you from seeing clearly. 

You may be able to use prescription glasses or contacts to correct minor refractive errors in the early stages of cataracts. However, as cataracts advance, they will blur your vision and interfere with your daily activities.

Eventually, your eye doctor will recommend cataract surgery to improve your vision. Cataract surgery is the only effective treatment for advanced cataracts. 

During cataract surgery, your cataract surgeon will remove the cloudy cataract lens and replace it with an artificial intraocular lens, or IOL. IOLs are responsible for the focusing power, like your natural eye lens, and allow you to see clearly once again.

What Kinds of IOLs Are There?

There are many types of IOLs, and each can help you achieve different vision goals. 

Monofocal IOLs

Monofocal intraocular lenses are the standard IOL option for lens replacement during cataract surgery. People who are not bothered by wearing glasses when needed or don’t want to pay much out of pocket often choose this lens type. 

A monofocal lens has one point of focus. It can deliver crystal clear distance vision or improved up-close vision, but not both.

Many patients choose to set standard monofocal IOLs for clear far-away vision. In this case, you will still need over-the-counter readers for near vision or prescription glasses for the computer. 

Fortunately, Medicare and private insurance companies cover the cost of cataract surgery with monofocal IOL, making it a cost-effective option. Another reason you may choose a monofocal IOL is if excellent distance vision is crucial for your job, like if you are a pilot.

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Toric IOLs

A toric lens is specially designed to improve vision in patients with astigmatism. With a standard IOL, patients with astigmatism would still depend on prescription glasses to see clearly at multiple distances after cataract surgery.

Astigmatism is an eye condition caused by an irregularly shaped cornea. Someone with astigmatism has a cornea shaped more like a football rather than spherical like a basketball.

If your cornea is not spherical, it can cause blurry vision. Toric IOLs correct astigmatism and farsightedness or nearsightedness.

During your cataract evaluation, your eye doctor will determine if your eyes have enough astigmatism for you to benefit from a toric lens. Your eye doctor may not recommend a toric lens if you have minimal amounts of astigmatism.

Multifocal IOLs

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Multifocal IOLs can allow you to have sharp vision at multiple distances, like near, far, and in the middle. Many people choose multifocal IOLs to reduce their dependence on glasses or contacts.

With a multifocal IOL, after cataract surgery, you may not need glasses for many activities due to the advanced technology of the IOL. Since it reduces dependency on glasses, it can be ideal for people who lead active lifestyles.

Multifocal IOLs are premium lenses, meaning they are most often not covered under insurance, and there are likely to be out-of-pocket costs. However, most people determine multifocal IOLs to be entirely worth the money to have freedom from glasses dependency. 

Accommodating IOLs

When you were younger, your eye’s natural lens was quite elastic. It could easily move back and forth as you change your visual focus from near to far away objects. 

However, as you grow older, your eye’s lens loses its flexibility and becomes cloudy and hardened. At this point, your natural lens cannot accommodate those changes in your focus. 

Accommodating IOLs mimic the action of your natural lens before a cataract formed. The IOL has flexible haptics that holds it in place inside your eye and an aspheric design. 

These features allow an accommodating lens to expand your range of vision. Accommodating IOLs work with your eye muscles naturally.

The unique technology inside the accommodating IOL enables the lens to adjust your vision when looking at near or far away objects. These lenses improve close-up and distance vision.

Like multifocal IOLs, accommodating IOLs can significantly decrease your dependence on contact lenses or glasses.

How Do I Know Which IOL Is Right For Me?

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Your cataract surgeon will perform various tests on your eyes during your cataract evaluation. They will also take many measurements of your eyes to determine the length of your eye and the shape of your cornea.

Your cataract surgeon will use all of this information to help determine the power of the IOL that will best correct your vision. They will consider your hobbies and lifestyle when helping you decide which IOL is best for you. 

Be sure to discuss your vision goals and expectations with your cataract surgeon. If cataracts have impacted your everyday life, it may be time to have them removed.

Are you ready to improve your vision with cataract surgery? Schedule a cataract evaluation at Joshi Eye Institute in Boynton Beach, FL, today!