Written by John Kim and edited by Michael Abendroth, MD, MBA
A cataract is an age-related clouding of the lens in the eye. This cloudy lens blocks light from entering the eye, resulting in blurry vision, glare, and haloes. The only treatment is cataract surgery, where the cataract is replaced with a clear, plastic lens called an intraocular lens implant (IOL). The IOL also corrects some or all of the glasses prescription, thereby decreasing the need for glasses after surgery.
There are several options for the IOL. The standard IOL is covered by insurance but does not correct astigmatism or vision at every distance, so people still need glasses after surgery. Advanced-technology IOLs can correct astigmatism and vision at every distance, so most people do not need glasses after surgery. However, these IOLs are not covered by insurance and are not a great match for every eye and lifestyle. Therefore, this decision often requires careful consideration and discussion with your surgeon.
Below are the IOL options and factors to consider when choosing the best IOL for you:
There are two categories of multifocal IOLs:
Multifocal lenses offer the best vision in healthy eyes, but they might not work well if there are conditions such as macular degeneration, macular pucker, glaucoma, or sometimes prior LASIK. Therefore monofocal IOLs often are a better option for people with these conditions.
Importantly, there currently is no perfect IOL that will restore your childhood vision. Each option has advantages and drawbacks. Our goal is help you understand the options and choose the best IOL for your budget and lifestyle. We look forward to discussing with you!