INTRAOCULAR LENSES EXPLAINED

Recently, ophthalmologists have been able to offer more and more options for specialized kinds of intraocular lens (IOL) replacements, giving you some control over how well you will see up close or far away, and if you will need to supplement with glasses. Intraocular lens replacements are most commonly used in cataract surgery.

If you have cataracts, you’re not alone. More than 25 million Americans have cataracts with approximately 4 million having cataract corrective surgery yearly. At Colorado Ophthalmology Associates, we’re here to take the mystery out of IOLs and to help you choose the one that’s right for you.

An intraocular lens can be used as a replacement for a cloudy lens that has caused diminished vision. However, it can go beyond just being a replacement, it can also correct certain kinds of vision problems. For example, if you’ve been experiencing natural vision loss due to aging (presbyopia) and have been using reading glasses, a special IOL can help with that condition.

There are different choices of materials within each of the five kinds of IOLs. Your ophthalmologist will discuss the best choice for your unique eye needs.

Here are 5 kinds of intraocular lenses and what they can do for vision problems:

Monofocal Lenses

The basic lens available for cataract surgery is the monofocal lens. This offers the best night vision with less glare, dull vision and halo problems for those who drive at night. Monofocal lenses can be designed for near vision or for far vision, depending on your choice. If you work on the computer a lot, you may desire near vision and then supplement with glasses for driving. Or, if you prefer to see well at a distance and don’t mind wearing glasses for up-close work, you can choose far vision IOLs.

Multifocal Lenses

These lenses offer the greatest range of vision correction with different zones on the lens that allows you to see up close and far away. Intermediate vision is also an optional lens zone. Your brain helps you adapt to these zones in the same way as using bifocal or trifocal glasses.

Extended Depth-of-Focus Lenses

These lenses have one corrective zone, like the monofocal lenses, requiring you to supplement with glasses. But this zone is designed to stretch to include both intermediate and far away vision.

Accommodative Lenses

Like multifocal lenses, accommodative lenses allow the patient to see near, far and even intermediate but not because of zones on the lens. Instead, the lens flexes, allowing the focus power of the eye to be increased to see the object more clearly.

Toric Lenses

These lenses are designed to correct astigmatism. They have different zones in different areas of the lens, allowing the best correction for astigmatism when expertly placed by your ophthalmological surgeon.

Is there a price difference between the IOLs?

Yes, IOLs range in price from the lowest, monofocal lenses, to the highest, premium lenses. Premium lenses are not considered as necessities and are not fully covered by Medicare and other insurance companies, though they will often cover basic, monofocal lenses. Premium lenses can range from $1,500 to $3,000 per eye, above what insurance will cover. Additional costs may include laser procedures or limbal relaxing incisions needed to correct vision and to adapt to the IOL.

What is monovision?

One final option for your IOLs includes monovision, which results from having two different kinds of lenses implanted – one in either eye. This can be done to offer you a greater choice in vision, such as having one eye that can see close and one eye that can see far. Or, this procedure can be done to compensate for different levels of astigmatism in each eye. Your brain adapts to the two different visions and, for some patients, this is a good option.

Get an appointment for an eye exam today

To get more information on the variety of IOLs available, call us today. If cataract surgery is in your future, we can provide expert care from start to finish. Come to one of our two Colorado locations for an exam by one of our board-certified, experienced ophthalmologists and let’s discuss the right intraocular lens that can help you see beautifully again.

            Denver: 303-320-1777

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