Cataracts are one of the leading causes of preventable blindness in the world. The condition occurs when the proteins found in the natural lens of the eye begin to clump together, preventing light from passing through the lens and focusing onto the retina properly. This causes obscured vision which many patients compare to trying to look through frosted glass. Cataracts most often occur in later life, but they can start to develop earlier on. Sadly, there’s no cure and the only effective treatment is to remove the natural lens of the eye and replace it.
Intraocular lenses, or IOLs for short, are artificial lenses that are used in cataract surgery. Their purpose is to replace the natural, clouded lens with a variety that cannot be affected by cataracts in the future. However, since every patient is different, it’s simply not possible to provide a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to intraocular lens choices. Instead, it is essential that patients have their natural lens replaced with an IOL that best meets their specific needs.
Standard IOLs are normally covered by most insurance policies. They refer to monofocal lenses that enable the best vision at a single, specific distance. You can choose between distance or near vision, although typically most patients choose to have distance vision in both eyes when their lenses are implanted, and then rely on reading glasses to enable them to see nearby objects such as a book or digital screen clearly. However, if you are looking to enjoy greater freedom and flexibility to live without glasses or contact lenses, you may be better suited to choosing a brand of premium IOL.
Premium IOLs refer to intraocular lenses that are much more advanced in their design and as such, have significantly improved the visual outcome for the patient. Today, there are a wide range of premium IOLs to choose between. Some of our most popular include the following:
TECNIS multifocal toric IOLs – Multifocal toric lenses have different focusing strengths that allow for near, medium and far distances. This significantly reduces the patient’s need for glasses. However, they also have special markers on the peripheral parts of the lens that enable your cataract surgeon to see which way the IOL should be orientated onto the surface of the eye to also correct the patient’s astigmatism.
Light adjustable RX sight IOLs – These premium IOLs are the first and only lens that can be customized after cataract surgery. They are designed from a special material that enables your surgeon to adjust your vision using a series of office-based treatments, which help ensure that you achieve the very best visual outcome from your surgery.
PanOptix trifocal lens IOLs – As you may have guessed from their name, trifocal IOLs are designed to allow for three ranges for vision – near, intermediate, and far distances. This makes them some of the most versatile premium IOLs currently available since those patients who choose them can benefit from vision that is just as clear when looking at road signs as it is when reading or using a computer.
Crystalens accommodative IOLs – This premium IOL is the only brand of FDA-approved presbyopia-correcting IOLs currently available in the U.S. Accommodative lenses allow some of the lens movement to be returned so the patient can see distance and intermediate. This can often be achieved without the glare and halos and works well in many post-refractive (LASIK and PRK) corneas. These lenses are very good at correct astigmatism too.
If you will be having cataract surgery and would like more information about the various intraocular lenses that we can offer, please don’t hesitate to contact the Santa Barbara Eyecare expert eyecare team today.