An intraocular lens (IOL) is an artificial replacement lens implanted when a patient's natural lens has been surgically removed during cataract surgery. A wide variety of replacement lenses is available to cataract patients. Each type of lens has its own advantage for post-surgery vision, The most effective lens to use depends on the patient's preferences and particular vision goals, which can differ according to individual occupations and lifestyles. IOLs often eliminate the need for glasses or contacts after cataract surgery, conveniently providing most patients with clear vision.
Toric IOLs / Astigmatic IOL Implants
Intraocular lenses are used to correct vision problems during cataract surgery by replacing the old, damaged lens with an artificial lens that clears up and corrects vision, often leaving patients with little to no dependence on glasses. While cataract surgery corrects cloudy lenses, it still leaves patients with astigmatism with distorted vision. Toric IOLs are specially designed to correct astigmatism along with overall vision during cataract surgery, offering complete vision correction.
Before Toric IOLs, people with astigmatism would need to undergo corneal refractive surgery after their lenses were implanted, or would remain dependent on glasses or contact lenses. The advanced Toric IOLs correct the imbalance caused by an irregular cornea shape in patients with astigmatism. There are several different types of FDA approved Toric IOLs, including AcrySof® Toric Lenses, which can correct up to 3 diopters of astigmatism.
The risks of a Toric IOL include poor vision as a result of the lens rotating out of position, although this risk exists with any type of intraocular lens. Toric IOLs are considered safe for most patients with astigmatism and are the only solution to correct vision problems associated with both cataracts and astigmatism. Talk to your doctor to learn more about these lenses and find out if you can enjoy the benefits of Toric IOLs.
Multifocal IOLs allow for full vision correction at near, intermediate and far distances, completely eliminating the need for eyeglasses or contact lenses for most patients. Some IOLs can also correct astigmatism. The procedure to implant a multifocal IOL is performed at the conclusion of cataract surgery.
These choices were not always available for cataract patients. In the past, cataract surgery only involved monofocal lenses, which could only focus on objects near or far, but could not adjust to accommodate varying distances. These patients still had to rely on glasses or contact lenses after surgery in order to see clearly at all distances, especially for those older patients suffering from presbyopia.
Multifocal IOLs such as ReSTOR®, ReZoom® and Tecnis® preserve distance vision and correct presbyopia so cataract surgery patients -- and patients seeking treatment for presbyopia alone -- can enjoy clear sight without relying on glasses.