What are Interocular Lens Implants (IOLs)?

IOLs (Intraocular Lenses) are artificial lenses implanted in the eye of patients following cataract surgery. West Michigan Eye & Laser offers three types of IOLs. A consultation with our doctors can help us determine which IOL will best serve your needs.

Monofocal Lens
The first type of IOL that came available was known as a monofocal or “standard” lens. This type of lens corrects the cataract and can reduce your nearsightedness or farsightedness. If you have astigmatism and you elect for a monofocal lens implant, then you should expect to need glasses to achieve the best clarity for all distances of vision. If you have your astigmatism corrected at the time of surgery (such as with Laser Cataract Surgery) or if you have very little astigmatism and you elect for a monofocal lens implant, then you can expect relatively good distance vision but to rely on reading glasses for most near and some intermediate activities.

Toric IOL
This lens is not multifocal in nature but is designed to correct a wide range of astigmatism. If you have astigmatism, then this lens may help to reduce your need for glasses for distance vision but it will not eliminate the need for some eyeglass use.

Multifocal and Accommodating Lenses

If you would like to have greater independence from eyeglasses or contacts, then a multifocal or accommodating lens implant may be right for you. These lens implants offer a wider range of vision than monofocal lens implants. In FDA studies of these lenses, four out of five patients who chose multifocal or accommodating lenses reported never wearing glasses for distance, intermediate, or near tasks after surgery. Each of these has its own advantages and should be considered along with your unique visual needs, work, and hobbies.

While everyone may be a potential candidate for these advanced technology IOLs, certain criteria allow for the best possible outcomes with any of these lenses:

Good Candidates

Poor Candidates

Minimal Astigmatism

Large Amounts of Astigmatism

Relatively Healthy Eyes Other Than Cataracts

Advanced Glaucoma

A Desire to Decrease Dependence on Glasses

Macular Degeneration

Other Significant Eye Disease

Frequent Night Driving Demands

These lens implants are designed to provide a dual focus with part of the lens set for distance and part set for near. The design is different from bifocal eyeglasses where the distance of focus depends on your direction of gaze (looking through the top portion for distance focus and the bottom portion for near focus). With a multifocal lens, the brain learns to automatically find the correct focus.

Not everyone with a multifocal lens implant can read equally well without glasses. Many different factors can cause this individual variability. The ability to read without glasses tends to be better if both eyes have a multifocal lens. The younger and healthier that the eye is, the better the reading ability will be. The ability to read without glasses seems to improve over time for most patients. This is believed to be due to the brains tendency to learn to perform better with practice with the multifocal lens system. While there is no guarantee that you will read as well without glasses as you desire, multifocal lenses give you much better odds of doing so, compared to monofocal lens implants.

Each of these IOLs has its own advantages and should be considered along with your unique visual needs, work, and hobbies. If you have questions or want to schedule a consultation please contact us for an examination.