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Understanding Intraocular Lenses (IOLs) and Cataract Surgery

Intraocular lenses, also known as IOLs, are used to replace the natural lens of the eye which has been removed during cataract surgery. Although they have been around since the middle of the 1960s, the first FDA approved version appeared during 1981.

Before intraocular lenses were perfected, people had to wear special contact lenses or thick glasses to be able to see after cataract surgery, but now, IOL implants offered by Nevada Eye Physicians are available in a variety of different forms, to help people enjoy improved vision.

Just like the natural lens of your eye, an IOL will focus the light that enters your eye through the cornea and pupil, on the retina, where the sensitive tissue at the back of the eye will relay images through the optic nerve to the brain. Most of the time, IOLs are constructed out of highly flexible material, about one third of the size of a dime. Like the lenses within a pair of prescription glasses, an IOL will usually contain the prescription appropriate to your specific needs, focusing on giving you the best vision possible.

How to know which Lens option is right for you

Typically, before you have cataract surgery, your Nevada Eye Physicians doctor will carefully measure your eyes and test them to determine what kind of IOL prescription you are going to need. After that, both you and your eye doctor will discuss the options that are available to you, so that you can make an informed decision about your choice of lens.

Your decision may depend on how you feel about wearing glasses for near vision and reading, and if you have astigmatism, your doctor may suggest using toric IOLs or other, related treatment options with you.

The type of IOL that you choose will affect your vision when you are not wearing eyeglasses. In some cases, glasses will still be needed for some activities, even after your surgery. In some circumstances, you may find that the cost of the IOL has an impact on the choice you make, if you are trying to decide between premium IOLs that will reduce your need for glasses, and other options.

Premium Multifocal and Accommodating IOLs

Most traditional IOLs are monofocal, which means that they offer vision which has been perfected for only one distance: far, near, or intermediate. Although traditional IOLs are a significant improvement over the cataract lens that a Nevada Eye Physicians surgeon will remove during surgery, they may mean that you have to continue wearing glasses in order to view distant objects, use the computer, or read.

On the other hand, premium multifocal or accommodating lenses will offer patients the ability to possess better vision at several distances without the assistance of glasses.

Toric IOLs

Toric IOLs have been designed to correct astigmatism, and they are also generally classed as ‘premium’ lenses. Like accommodating and multifocal lenses, they may cost you extra because of the additional benefits that they can offer over traditional, conventional IOLs.


* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.