When you have a cataract, it means that your natural lens has become cloudy. When the lens gets too cloudy, it becomes harder and harder to see clearly. This is why you need cataract surgery and lens implants.
A lens implant is an artificial lens, or intraocular lens (IOL). An IOL takes over when your natural lens has been removed from your eye because of cataracts. Without a lens, you would have to wear thick glasses to see at all after cataract surgery. With an IOL, a clear vision is restored! There are many different kinds of IOLs available.
When choosing an IOL, it’s important to consider your lifestyle needs. Are you comfortable needing glasses after cataract surgery or do you prefer to not wear them? You can discuss any questions or concerns you may have about the procedure with your surgeon.
Monofocal IOLs are the standard IOL available during cataract surgery. With monofocal IOLs, you’ll need reading glasses to complete certain tasks. This is because these IOLs only have one focusing distance. Patients with monofocal IOLs usually use reading glasses for up-close tasks like reading. Monofocal IOLs are the most common kind of IOL used with cataract surgery. They are also the only IOL that insurance companies will cover.
Multifocal IOLs are premium lens implants. They are a premium option because they provide both near and distance focus at the same time. They have different zones set at different powers on the lens. Although this sounds difficult, the brain is able to distinguish the differences seamlessly. As a premium IOL, they are more expensive than a monofocal IOL. If they are within your budget, multifocal IOLs allow you to see without needing glasses!
Toric IOLs are another premium IOL, but they are only for patients with astigmatism. Astigmatism occurs when the eye is shaped more like a football, instead of a basketball. The non-spherical shape of the eye causes blurry vision and distortion. With a toric IOL, the shape of the eye is actually corrected, leading to a clear vision.
Accommodative IOLS are also premium IOLs. Like multifocal IOLs, accommodative IOLs mean you’ll no longer need glasses. What makes this IOL different is how it’s designed. The accommodative IOL has a design that mimics how the eye moves naturally. This means that the lens can change and move inside the eye as necessary.
When a patient has cataracts, we know that the natural lens is cloudy. When the lens is cloudy, your vision is blocked and your vision is distorted. During the cataract surgery procedure, our surgeons replace the natural lens with what is referred to as an IOL, or an intraocular lens. This is where the patient has several choices to make on which lens is best for their lifestyle. Our surgeons will help discuss the lens options and what is best for your lifestyle and goals. One option is RxSight, or the Light Adjustable Lens. The cataract removal and IOL implantation procedure is the same as if you selected a non-adjustable IOL. Then, in the weeks that follow, your physician will customize your vision through a series of non-invasive light treatments that take only a few minutes each. You may need 3 to 5 total light treatments over a period of 1 to 2 weeks to reach your vision goals. Once your vision is adjusted, a final light treatment is used to lock in the results.
Monovision or blended vision is a technique, rather than a kind of lens implant. With monovision, you have an IOL inserted into each eye. In one eye (usually your dominant eye), you have an IOL for distance viewing. In the other eye, you have an IOL that lets you see things close up. Many patients find that monovision allows them to see without issues! Others find that trying to focus on distances is too difficult. Before trying monovision, most surgeons have a patient try it with contacts first. If they find they can handle it, then they choose monovision! There are plenty of other IOL options available even if monovision isn’t a good fit for you.
Concerned that you may have a cataract and need cataract surgery? Contact Bowden Eye & Associates in Jacksonville, St. Augustine, St. Johns and surrounding areas to schedule an appointment now!