During the Cataract Extraction with Lens Implantation, the eye’s natural lens is removed and replaced by a manufactured lens implant selected to compensate for the eye’s refractive errors. In effect, the lens implant acts like a permanent contact lens within the eye.
At the beginning of these procedures, a small incision is made either in the sclera or on the periphery of the cornea. A delicate instrument is inserted through the incision. The tip of this instrument vibrates at ultrasonic frequency and the lens material is emulsified and aspirated. The lens implant is inserted through the incision and placed into the capsular bag. Antibiotic solutions are used around the new implant lens to reduce any risk of infection and, usually, the surgery is completed without stitches since the incisions are designed to be self-sealing.
When undergoing cataract surgery or refractive lens exchange, you have options when it comes to intraocular lenses (IOL). Taking into consideration that all patients will eventually experience presbyopia, the lens type you select will help determine how you will experience the effects of that age-related condition. Below are the different types of IOLs that can be implanted during your surgery. Patients can choose the standard IOL or select from several “Premium Lens” options.
Standard, Single Focus Lens
With basic cataract surgery, the cataract is removed and replaced with a standard, single focus IOL. This lens can correct for the impairment caused by the cataract and prevent cataracts from forming again in the future, but it will not affect the patient’s dependence on prescription glasses for other vision problems.
With a toric IOL, patients are able to achieve the same results of basic cataract surgery, but will have the added benefit of vision correction. This specialized IOL has the ability to correct nearsightedness or farsightedness, as well as astigmatism (a condition in which the shape of the cornea is irregular, causing vision to degrade without the help of corrective eyewear). A toric lens can help to adjust the focus of light appropriately for individuals who have astigmatism.
This type of premium lens corrects the patient’s ability to see at a distance, and can provide an improved ability to adjust focus at near or intermediate distances. A multifocal IOL can virtually eliminate a dependence on glasses for most patients. Some patients may still use glasses to see very fine details up close. Due to the unique capabilities of this IOL, the patient may need to go through an adjustment period, similar to adjusting to a new pair of bifocals or progressive lenses.
Multifocal Toric Lens
A multifocal toric lens provides all the same benefits of a multifocal lens, but also corrects for astigmatism. Light entering the eye is focused to adjust for an oblong-shaped cornea, and vision at varying distances can also be improved.
How much do IOLs cost?
While cataract surgery and conventional IOLs are covered by insurance because it is considered medically necessary, newer lenses such as, Tecnis and Restor are not covered and tend to cost more because of their special features. You should discuss the portion of the procedure you will be responsible for with your Ophthalmologist prior to the procedure.