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How Do I Choose An IOL?

Elderly man with glasses considering Cataract surgery

Choosing an IOL is one of the most important decisions to make before cataract surgery. IOL stands for “intraocular lens” and is a synthetic lens used to replace a lens affected by a cataract.

There are actually several different kinds of IOLs that you can choose from and they all have pros and cons. Here are some descriptions of IOL types to help make your choice easier!

Monofocal IOLs

Monofocal IOLs are the most basic kind of IOL. They can correct vision for one distance, either far or near. With monofocal IOLs, you’ll still need to wear glasses after cataract surgery.

These glasses will need to correct for the opposite distance that your IOL can’t. For example, you may need driving glasses or reading glasses after cataract surgery.

Monofocal IOLs are often the least expensive and are usually covered by Medicare. If you don’t mind wearing glasses after cataract surgery, they are a fine choice.

Multifocal IOLs

Multifocal IOLs correct for near distance vision and far distance vision. They operate sort of like bifocal lenses. Different parts of the lens focus the light differently.

These IOLs are more popular than monofocal because they reduce your need for glasses. They may even get rid of your need to wear glasses altogether!

Accommodating IOLs

Accommodating IOLs also correct for both near and far distance vision. The advantage of accommodating IOLs is they mimic the natural lens more.

They actually move inside of the eye to adjust focus. This makes the transition between near and far distance vision much smoother.

Toric IOLs

If you have astigmatism, then you will likely need to get Toric IOLs if you are trying to get rid of your glasses. Toric IOLs are the only IOL designed for astigmatic eyes and are custom made.

Aspheric IOLs

Aspheric IOLs fix a problem with standard shaped IOLs. Typical IOLs are uniformly shaped, but our natural lenses are not.

This can create visual aberrations that can be distracting and annoying. By having a shape that’s closer to a natural lens, aspheric IOLs reduce visual aberrations.

How IOLs are Implanted

Cataract surgery is short and painless. The entire process uses anesthetic, meaning you won’t feel any pain!

At most, you may feel some slight pressure for a few seconds during cataract surgery. This pressure is in no way painful.

First, your cataract surgeon creates a flap in the cornea. This allows the surgeon to break apart the cataract afflicted lens.

This is a process that uses high-frequency sound and called phacoemulsification. The pieces of the lens are first removed with suction and the IOL is then put in its place.

The corneal flap is then placed back down and allowed to heal on its own.

Choosing an IOL is something to discuss with your eye doctor during a cataract screening. They will go over the pros and cons of each IOL and their recommendation for you.

It’s important to take your lifestyle into account when choosing your IOL.

Concerned that you may have cataracts that need removal? Schedule a cataract screening at Bennett & Bloom Eye Centers in Louisville, KY today!