What is an Intraocular Lens (IOL)?
Intraocular lenses (IOLs) replace your cataract, or cloudy lens. If you have certain eye diseases or problems which prevent safe placement of an IOL, you will need either contact lenses or cataract glasses in order to see clearly after surgery. IOLs are the most popular choice for replacing lenses with cataracts. Unlike contact lenses, these lenses are implanted inside the eye and are meant to be permanent. They do not require replacement or cleaning.
Monofocal Intraocular Lens
The standard monofocal lens has the same curvature over the entire lens surface and provides clear vision at a single, fixed focal point. Dr. Brame can calculate the lens power needed to help improve your vision at either distance or near. Distance correction is preferred, especially if you enjoy activities requiring good far away vision, such as driving, watching television or sports. Reading glasses are needed with this option. You may to have the IOL power calculated to help you with near activities such as reading, or using the computer. In such cases, glasses for distance activities will be required. These lenses have been used in various designs for over 40 years and have been the “standard” for cataract surgery throughout the world.
The HD Lens
The Softec® HD lens has a patented aspheric design on both the front and back surfaces, which is designed to provide crisper and sharper vision. This lens can help improve the quality of vision in all lighting conditions. Unlike a spherical monofocal lens, the Softec® HD lens has micro-prescription optics of 0.25 diopter increments. A comparison would be if your shoes came in ¼ opposed to only ½ sizes, your shoes would fit better. The same is true for your intraocular lens implant—the fit is better. Dr. Brame will be able to closely match a lens with your intraocular lens prescription, which gives you the best visual outcome. This type of lens is particularly helpful for athletes that play golf or tennis where the ability to see a target moving in space is enhanced by the enhanced optical properties. The detail and sharpness they provide is similar to the picture on an HDTV versus a standard TV.
Accommodating Intraocular Lens
The Crystalens® is the only accommodative lens approved by the FDA and is intended to provide a continuous range of vision including distance, intermediate, and near. It is designed to mimic the eye’s natural process of accommodation and helps to lessen the dependence on corrective lenses. The Crystalens is engineered with a hinge that allows the optic to move within the eye and thus change the focal point. The ciliary muscle is located within the eye and will work to move the Crystalens optic forward to adjust for mid-range and near vision. When this muscle relaxes, the lens moves backward to focus on distant objects. The Crystalens requires a visual rehabilitation program that patients must perform to help the ciliary muscle regain the far-to-near focusing power. While your distance vision is usually good shortly after surgery, the intermediate and near vision will require this visual training. This program will begin after the first week of surgery and continue for up to six months. Near vision often continues to improve up to a year after surgery. There is also a new version called the Trulign™ Toric that can treat patients with astigmatism who also want a greater range of vision after cataract surgery. It is important to note that an enhancement may be necessary to fine-tune distance vision and that this lens doesn’t always correct vision at all distances. Reading glasses may still be needed for some tasks.
Multifocal Intra-Ocular Lens
A multifocal intra-ocular lens (IOL) is designed to provide quality near, intermediate and distance vision by combining the strengths of optical principals used in microscopes and telescopes. The multifocal IOL operates through a series of tiny rings working together to focus light for both near and distance vision. For most patients, a multifocal IOL delivers excellent near and distance vision with good intermediate vision thus reducing the need for glasses. Clinical trials have shown there is also a chance of halos or rings around light that may occur. Over time, most patients grow accustomed to this and cease to notice them, while a small percentage can continue to see them long after surgery.
Toric Intraocular Lens for Astigmatism
Astigmatism is a common optical condition that occurs when the shape of the cornea is more oval than round. This causes blurred or distorted vision, glare and ocular fatigue. The oval shape causes light rays to focus on two points in the back of your eye, rather than just one. For patients with existing corneal astigmatism, a toric intraocular lens implant can give patients quality vision with less dependence on their glasses. This IOL is placed in the eye at a precise location in order to reduce or eliminate corneal astigmatism, significantly improve distance vision, and lessen the dependence on glasses. Patients with a toric IOL usually wear glasses for tasks such as reading or working on the computer.