Premium IOLs Could Be Great for You
Surgery to remove the cataract-clouded lens of a person’s eye is nothing new — the first cataract surgery was documented in the fifth century BC. Yeah, but even though the person’s cloudy natural lens was removed, the patient had to wear thick hyperopic glasses afterwards to make up for their removed lens. This was the case all the way into the 1950s where the first foldable intraocular lenses made from hydrogel were introduced, allowing for small incisions and faster healing times. Then in 1978, the first foldable intraocular lens made of silicone was invented and it became the industry standard.
But these lenses were monofocal, meaning they were only focused on one range of vision. Patients would usually choose to have them set for distance vision, and they would then require reading glasses for up close vision, such as reading or watching TV. Those lenses are still used today, but recent advances in lens technology have created various “premium IOLs,” and they really change what can be done with cataract surgery replacement lenses.
What are the types of premium IOLs?
- Multifocal IOLs
Multifocal IOLs have focal zones, or rings, that allow you to see clearly at both near and far distances. While these IOLs may not completely remove your need for glasses at all times (such as extended periods reading), they will dramatically reduce the need. Some studies have shown that multifocal IOLs provide better near vision than accommodating IOLs, but they are also more likely to cause glare or mildly blurred distance vision as a tradeoff.
- Accommodating IOLs
Like multifocal IOLs, accommodating IOLs expand the range of focus to both near and far, but they do this is a different fashion. Accommodating IOLs have what are called “haptics” on the ends. These supporting legs hold the IOL in place inside the eye. These haptics are flexible and they allow the accommodating IOL to move forward slightly when you look at near objects, which increases the focusing power of the eye enough to provide good near vision.
- Toric IOLs
Toric IOLs help those with astigmatism. These are the most recent addition to premium IOLs. They correct for astigmatism as well as nearsightedness or farsightedness. They do this through different powers in different meridians of the lens. These IOLs have alignment markings on the peripheral part of the lens that enable the surgeon to adjust the orientation of the IOL inside the eye for optimal astigmatism correction.
The development of toric IOLs has basically removed the need for what is called limbal relaxing incisions. These were formerly the way astigmatism could be reduced during cataract surgery. These small incisions were made at opposite ends of the cornea. When they healed, the cornea would become more spherical in shape compared to the more oval shape of a cornea with astigmatism.
We offer these premium IOLs at Millennium Park Eye Center as part of our cataract surgeries. Medicare does not cover most of these, so you’ll need to ask us about your cost during your consultation. However, since these lenses eliminate the need for glasses much or all of the time, most patients feel they are well worth the extra cost.
Do you have questions about cataract surgery and your IOL choices? Call us at Millennium Park Eye Center, (312) 996-2020.