What is an intraocular lens (IOL)?
During cataract surgery, the cloudy natural lens of the eye is removed and is replaced with a new artificial lens, or IOL, to help restore vision. Without an IOL, patients would need to wear extremely thick eyeglasses. Therefore, IOLs are now the standard of care. However, even with an IOL, glasses may be necessary.
Types of IOLs
Cataract surgeons now have the ability to customize surgery to match the health and visual needs of their patients by matching them with the best model of IOL for their needs.
IOLs can be grouped into two main categories:
Traditional or Basic IOLs The traditional IOL is a monofocal lens which gives clear vision at one fixed distance. Patients who have a traditional IOL implanted usually see well at distance without corrective lenses but need reading glasses to see clearly up close.
Advanced or Premium IOLs and advanced technology.
Advantage: Able to correct astigmatism and presbyopia (the need for reading glasses). The result is patients with a premium IOL have much greater freedom from glasses and/or contact lenses than a patient with a traditional IOL.
What is astigmatism, and how will it affect my cataract operation?
Astigmatism is an additional factor is some patients’ vision that causes scattering of light and blurred vision. It often comes from a different curve of the eye.
Eye without astigmatism: Curved like a baseball.
Eye with astigmatism: Curved like a football.
How do I get the best vision after cataract surgery if I have astigmatism?
In order to achieve the best possible vision after cataract surgery, it is recommended to treat the astigmatism with either a special IOL (Toric IOL), LASIK®, or micro-incisions on the surface of the eye.
Does having a premium IOL implanted mean I will never need any glasses or contact lenses?
No; with “never” being the key word. As discussed above, patients with a toric IOL for astigmatism will still need glasses for reading. A patient with a presbyopia correcting IOL is expected to see most things at all distances clearly, but may still need glasses or contact lenses depending on the specific task or lighting conditions.
Is cataract surgery with a premium IOL covered by insurance?
Partially. Patients who choose to have a premium IOL implanted receive the same amount of insurance coverage for the surgical portion of the cataract operation as a patient selecting a traditional IOL.
However, the advanced technology and vision correction of a premium IOL is considered elective, and therefore, there is an out of pocket charge. This fee is for the lens itself, and the additional testing and counseling involved with premium IOLs.
Spinak Medical Eye Center offers interest-free financing thru CareCredit to make your choice easier.