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Cataract Surgery and IOL's: A Breakdown

Cataract surgery can also be thought of as a lens replacement surgery. Everyone is born with an anatomical lens located behind the iris (colored portion of the eye). Over time, that lens grows thicker and changes shape and color. This is a natural part of aging, and everyone will develop one cataract in each eye if he or she lives long enough.

As the cataract becomes significant, vision begins to deteriorate. Most often, night vision is affected first. Patients will complain of difficulty driving at night secondary to glare and halos. Also, patients will have difficulty reading and seeing in low light conditions. When these symptoms start to occur, it may be time to consider cataract surgery.

Cataract surgery has evolved significantly in the past decade, and now patients have options on which type of lens can be implanted at the time of surgery. Once the cataract is removed, it does not regrow, so whichever lens is selected, the patient will keep for the remainder of his life.

Extended Range of Focus Lenses: Extended range of focus lenses can be used to correct distance and intermediate vision as well as astigmatism. These lenses offer the greatest depth of focus of any lens on the market. Most patients also have an added benefit of obtain some near vision. For small print, cheaters will be required.

Multifocal Lenses: Multifocal lenses correct vision at two separate distances, usually distance, intermediate or near vision. They correct both presbyopia and cataracts. Occasionally, patients will have to wear glasses for intermediate or near.

Toric Lenses: Toric lenses are for patients with astigmatism. Patients who choose toric lenses most likely will not need glasses or contacts for distance after surgery, but will still need reading glasses.

Monofocal Lenses: Monofocal lenses correct for a single distance only and do not correct any astigmatism. Patients can choose near or distance vision & will likely need to wear glasses or contacts for certain activities.

When scheduling your cataract surgery, consult your ophthalmologist to help you pick out an IOL to meet your individual needs.