Each patient that undergoes one of the millions of cataract surgeries performed in the USA every year must choose between the cataract surgery lens options available to them. The types of lenses available for cataract surgery has expanded over the past few decades so that patients who previously may not have an ideal lens solution after cataract surgery may now have multiple cataract surgery lens options from which to choose.
What are the different types of lenses for cataract surgery?
Cataracts occur when proteins break down and leave cloudy “patches” on your lens, leading to blurry vision and, in severe and/or untreated cases, blindness. The only way to get rid of cataracts is to remove and replace the clouded lens (cataracts cannot go away naturally). Since you need a lens to see properly, the removed lens must then be replaced. These replacement lenses are called intraocular lenses (IOLs) and they come in three main forms.
1. Monofocal lenses
Monofocal intraocular lenses are designed to provide optimized vision for one distance. Patients choose what distance — near, far, or intermediate — they want their new lens to accommodate. For example, many patients choose lenses set to help with far vision and use reading glasses to help them see objects that are close at hand.
If patients havecataract surgery in both eyes at once, they have additional cataract surgery lens options when it comes to monofocal lenses. Specifically, they can choose to have both IOLs set for the same distance, or they can choose to have one lens accommodate near vision and one to accommodate far vision. This latter option has been termed “monovision.”
It can take time for your brain to adjust to monovision, and some people never get used to it. If you’re interested in monovision, your ophthalmologist may recommend trying out monovision with contacts before your cataract surgery.
2. Multifocal lenses
Multifocal intraocular lenses are often likened to bifocal or trifocal glasses; they are constructed to house separate “zones” that correct for different distances. Due to their flexibility, these lenses can greatly reduce a patient’s dependence on glasses, making them an increasingly popular cataract surgery lens option.
A small percentage of patients do struggle to adjust to these lenses and for that reason may struggle with slightly blurred vision. Patients with multifocal lenses are also more likely to experience trouble with glare and light halos while driving at night.
3. Toric lenses
The Toric intraocular lens for astigmatism is used to help correct for astigmatism as well as replace your lens after cataract surgery. Cataract surgery lens options for astigmatism are relatively new and are often applied in combination with limbal relaxing incisions (incisions that help correct abnormalities in the curvature of the eye). Toric lenses are typically monofocal lenses, although multifocal versions are available.
For more information on astigmatism correction, check out our short instructional video.
Which lens is better, monofocal or multifocal?
There is no straight answer to this question. When weighing intraocular lens implant pros and cons, you will need to consider your particular vision needs and desires. For example, if you really want to increase your chances of being able to live independently of glasses, you may want to pursue multifocal lenses. But if you frequently drive at night, you may wish to avoid multifocal lenses.
In the end, everyone’s eyes’ ability to focus using multifocal lenses or monovision is different, which is why it’s best to discuss your cataract surgery lens options with your doctor and, if possible, even try them out before your surgery.
Cataract surgery lens options and costs
Some lens types are more likely to be covered by insurance than others. If the type of lens you desire is not covered, Eye Center of Texas may be able to help facilitate monthly payments via Care Credit to help you manage the cost of your cataract surgery.
Can you change your lenses after cataract surgery?
Yes, you can change your cataract lenses after cataract surgery, although the need to do so is exceedingly rare. The vast majority of patients adjust to their new lenses easily and are happy with their performance for the rest of their lives. For more information on the longevity of cataract lenses and cataract surgery, check out our articles How Long Do Cataract Lenses Lastand Can Cataracts Come Back After Surgery?
Discuss your cataract surgery lens options with a top ophthalmologist at Eye Center of Texas
Eye Center of Texas offers the latest in cataract surgery lens options. Our cataract surgeons, Dr. Mark Mayo and Dr. Edward Wade, have performed thousands of successful cataract procedures and specialize in bladeless cataract surgery.
If you are in need of cataract surgery in Houston (or the Greater Houston area) and wish to explore your cataract surgery lens options, don’t hesitate to reach out to the professionals at Eye Center of Texas. With six locations and hundreds of thousands of successful cataract surgeries to our name, we are fully equipped to make your journey to restored, clear vision as simple and safe as possible.