Types of Cataract Lenses
Cataract surgery involves removing a clouded lens and replacing it with an artificial intraocular lens to improve your vision. It is important to understand that not all cataract lenses are the same. Some can help you see near or far even better. Choosing the right cataract lens for you can be confusing. Understanding the various lens options is essential before making your cataract lens choice. Your eye health, prescription, and the amount of corneal astigmatism plays a big part in determining which lenses will give you the best results.
Cataract Lens Options
One of the critical decisions patients face is choosing the type of lens that will be implanted during surgery. There are several cataract lens options available, each offering unique features and benefits tailored to individual needs.
Monofocal Cataract Lenses
Monofocal lenses are the most traditional type of cataract lenses. They provide clear vision at one fixed distance—either for near, intermediate, or distance vision. Patients often choose monofocal lenses set for distance vision and then use reading glasses for near activities.
These lenses often provide predictable and stable results and are typically covered by insurance as a standard option. Individuals who have a clear preference for either near or distance vision often find this type of lense the best fit for them.
Multifocal Cataract Lenses
Multifocal lenses are designed to provide clear vision at multiple distances, reducing the dependence on glasses for near and intermediate activities. These lenses use a combination of focal points to enhance vision across a range of distances.
Some patients may experience halos or glare, especially in low-light conditions and this lense option may not be suitable for individuals with certain eye conditions.
Toric Cataract Lenses
Toric lenses are a premium lense option and are specifically designed to correct astigmatism, a common condition where the cornea is shaped irregularly, leading to blurred vision. These lenses can address both cataracts and astigmatism simultaneously.
Since these lenses correct astigmatism they help to reduce the patients dependence on glasses improving overall visual clarity. It is important to note that they may not eliminate the need for glasses entirely, especially for reading. Toric lenses typically have a higher cost compared to standard monofocal lenses.
You have a one-time opportunity to select the lens that’s going to give you the best possible vision and improve your quality of life. It’s important for your doctor to explain all the options so the best choice can be made
Accommodating lenses are designed to mimic the natural flexibility of the eye’s crystalline lens. They adjust focus dynamically, allowing patients to see clearly at different distances without relying on glasses.
With the use of this type of lense patients often experience fewer visual disturbances compared to multifocal lenses and have an enhanced depth of focus. Cost may be higher for accommodating lenses compared to monofocal lenses and results often vary among each individual.
You have a one-time opportunity to select the lens that’s going to give you the best possible vision and improve your quality of life. It’s important for your doctor to explain all the options so the best choice can be made.
Choosing a Cataract Surgery Lens
The primary decision is the type of vision you want to have after surgery:
- Good Distance Vision – but wear reading glasses
- Good Reading Vision – but wear distance glasses
- Good Distance Vision plus Computer Vision
- Good Distance, Computer, and Reading Vision
- Monovision – distance vision in one eye and reading vision in the other eye. Many patients cannot tolerate monovision since it limits depth perception resulting in an increase in the risk of falling.
Cost of Cataract Lenses
The cost of different cataract lenses will vary based on the type of lens chosen. The cost for Toric Lenses for cataract surgery can cost on average is more expensive than the cost of multifocal cataract lenses on average. Monofocal Cataract Lenses are relatively low-cost lenses, while toric and multifocal cataract lenses are on the more expensive side of the spectrum.
Insurance does not cover all Cataract Lenses. Medicare and most insurance companies do cover the cost of the monofocal lens. These lenses have been in use for decades and are the most popular type.
Other options such as multifocal, EDOF and accommodative cataract lenses can also reduce the need for glasses or contact lenses. The ability to read and perform other tasks without glasses varies from person to person. These cataract lenses are often called “premium” lenses because they provide more extended vision than monofocals. They are also often not covered by insurance.
How to pick a Cataract Lens
Cataract surgery involves removing a clouded lens and replacing it with an artificial intraocular lens to improve your vision. However, not all cataract lenses are the same. Choosing the right cataract lenses can be difficult. Our doctors will help guide you to an informed decision that best fits your budget and your lifestyle.
- Does your lifestyle rely on near vision? – One option is to set the monofocal cataract lenses for near vision and use glasses for distance vision tasks, like watching TV and driving. If you spend a lot of time looking at digital devices or you’re nearsighted and love to read without glasses this may be the best option for you. Alternatively, you may find eyeglasses inconvenient and want to avoid them altogether. If so, you could opt for monofocal lenses but set one lens for distance vision and the other lens for near vision. This choice is not for everyone. For many people, the brain adapts and can synthesize the information from both eyes to provide adequate vision at all distances. Before cataract surgery you can try this option out by wearing monovision contact lenses for a period of time. This will help you figure out if monovision works for you.
- Do you frequently drive at night? – If night driving is important, you might want to steer clear of multifocal or EDOF lenses. Side effects such as glare, halos around lights or loss of contrast (resulting in dull vision) may occur with these lenses, most commoningly at night or in dimly lit places. Most people adapt to these effects, but those who drive at night a lot may be happier with monofocal cataract lenses.
- Do you have moderate to high astigmatism? – With astigmatism, the cornea is not curved like a basketball but shaped more like a football. One curve is longer than the other. This distorts both near and distant objects. People with moderate to high astigmatism are usually happier with toric cataract lenses. Another procedure that your doctor might recommend is called limbal relaxing incisions (LRIs). This procedure is common to help reduce astigmatism. They perform this at the time of cataract surgery or separately. Insurance may not fully cover toric lenses or LRIs.
- Do you have other eye conditions? – Multifocal and EDOF lenses are generally not recommended for people with vision loss from glaucoma, macular degeneration or other eye diseases. These cataract lenses allow less light into the eye so they can make things worse for people with vision loss. If avoiding glasses is important and you have eye damage, monovision may be a better option.
Choose the Right Cataract Lenses
During your initial consultation with the doctors at SightMD, they will go through the options you have regarding intraocular lenses. Choosing the right cataract lens involves considering individual preferences, lifestyle, and the unique characteristics of one’s eyes. Patients should engage in thorough discussions with their eye care professionals to determine the most suitable option based on their specific needs and expectations. If you have cataracts and are considering getting surgery, contact our office today to set up your consultation!