Ask an Eye M.D. Answer Archive

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I'm going to have cataract surgery soon, and I have to make a decision about what type of lenses to have implanted. What do I need to know to make the right decision?

Intraocular lenses (IOLs) are plastic lenses that are surgically implanted in the eye to replace the eye's natural lens that has become cloudy as a result of the cataract. They are designed to help your eye regain focusing and refractive ability.

Currently, there are three kinds of IOL available:

  • Monofocal, or fixed focus lenses, are the most common type of IOL. This type of lens offers clear vision at one distance only and will require the use of glasses or contact lenses to see clearly at all ranges.
  • Multifocal lenses are made with several rings that have different powers built into the lens. The part of the lens you look through determines whether you see clearly at a far, near or intermediate distance.
  • Accommodative IOLS do just that – accommodate your eye movements. They are hinged and work in coordination with the eye muscles. This type of IOL enables the lens to move forward as the eye focuses on close objects and backward as it focuses on distant objects.

Multifocal and accommodative lenses can also be used to treat myopia, hyperopia and presbyopia. In addition, they enable a person to rely less on glasses and/or contact lenses to see clearly at both near and far distances.

You should discuss your options with your ophthalmologist so that you can decide together what type of lens is suitable for you.

Answered by: Wayne Bizer, DO Dr. Wayne Bizer

Categories: Cataracts, Eye Conditions, Eye Surgery, Vision Correction

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Answered: Nov 29, 2010

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