Lens implants, or IOL’s (Intra-Ocular Lens), are devices that replace the natural lens in the human eye. Technology has improved drastically in recent years, and the possibility for achieving optimal visual outcomes has never been greater.
There are lenses and techniques available that can correct vision at near, intermediate, and far distances. Correction of astigmatism is also possible at the time of cataract surgery. The intraocular lens chosen, and technique used by your surgeon will vary depending on the type of visual outcome you are targeting.
Many choose the standard single-focus lens implant. It gives excellent vision and does not involve any extra costs with most insurances. But if you are highly motivated to be less dependent on glasses and are willing to pay extra for additional care and services, other options are available for optimal vision correction.
During your visit at Eye Physicians of Northampton, your surgeon will discuss the most appropriate IOL and treatment plan for your eye, and make you aware of the risks, benefits and realistic expectations for your improved eyesight.
Cataract Correction Options
Basic Cataract Removal
- Good vision with glasses
- Removes cloudy lens and replaces with new, clearer one, reducing visual haze
- Typically requires the use of glasses or contacts for distance, intermediate and near vision
Upgraded Cataract Removal – Reading Glasses Only
- Corrects astigmatism during cataract surgery with Toric lens or cornea relaxing incisions
- Provides excellent distance vision
- Reading glasses are still required
Single Focus Lens Implants – For Cataract Free Vision
The single-focus lens implant provides excellent vision at one just one distance. The potential drawback is that glasses are usually required to achieve the full range of vision after surgery. For example, if good distance vision is targeted with a single focus lens implant, glasses will likely be needed to read, sew and use a computer. One advantage of the standard monofocal lens is that it is covered by insurance plans.
Lens Implants for Astigmatism – For Distance Vision
Astigmatism, a cause of blurred vision, is the result of the eye’s cornea having an irregular shape. A normal eye’s cornea and lens have a circular shape, while an eye with an astigmatism has a longer oval shape. Toric lens implants are designed to correct astigmatism in cataract patients. For cataract patients with astigmatism, a Toric IOL implant can eliminate the need for prescription glasses after surgery, because a Toric IOL has the ability to correct both the cataracts and the astigmatism, however reading glasses will still be required.
Some patients with astigmatism might also require glasses for distance vision. Eye Physicians of Northampton offers Limbal Relaxing Incisions (LRI) and Toric lenses that can help correct astigmatism. Patients who receive astigmatism correction can see well in the distance, but still will require glasses for reading and intermediate distances.
Multifocal Lens Implants – For Near, Intermediate and Distance Vision
When a patient undergoes standard cataract surgery, they will receive an implant that will allow them to see clearly, but will still require reading glasses or bifocals to see up close or at arm’s length. Now, patients have the option to upgrade their lens to an accomodative, multifocal lens implant, which can allow them to see in the distance, arm-length and up close with little to no dependence on reading glasses or bifocals.
If you are motivated to reduce your dependence on glasses, multifocal lens implants may be for you. Multifocal IOLs are designed to allow you to see more clearly at near, intermediate and far distances. These lenses provide the best results when used in both eyes. Multifocal IOLs are associated with higher out-of-pocket costs than single-focus implants because Medicare and private insurers will not pay the costs of the lens and associated services that exceed the charges for a standard single focus IOL.
However, these lenses can provide freedom to enjoy an active lifestyle by reducing or eliminating the need for glasses.
Are there fees associated with premium lens implants?
The biggest costs of cataract surgery are covered by insurance, including fees for anesthesia, surgery center, nursing, supplies and the surgeon’s fee. Premium Implants add some out-of-pocket expenses that are not covered by Medicare or any other insurance. Your surgical coordinator will answer all of your questions during your appointment, including all out-of-pocket surgical fees.