Modern cataract surgery is a quick and common procedure during which the natural cloudy lens in the eye is replaced with a clear artificial implant to restore vision. There are different lens replacement options, and your consultant will discuss them with you in detail prior to the treatment. Here is a quick overview to get you started.
What is an intraocular lens implant?
An intraocular lens implant, also called an IOL, is a clear artificial lens made of a plastic-like material that replaces the natural cataract-affected lens inside the eye during the cataract surgery. It lasts a lifetime and can’t be seen or felt after the surgery. Some of the IOLs also help to correct astigmatism and reduce reliance on glasses for certain types of tasks after the surgery.
What are the main types of intraocular replacement lenses available?
- Standard Monofocal implants: these are widely available lenses. They provide good distance vision, but glasses are needed for seeing at arm’s length and closer.
- Premium Monofocal-Plus implants: a premium lens, similar to the above but provide a better range of distance vision.
- Extended Depth of Focus (EDOF) implants: premium lenses that provide good distance and intermediate (at arm’s length) vision sufficient for most daily visual activities including shopping, cooking and desktop computer work, although reading glasses may still be needed for close work and reading small print.
- Trifocal (also called multifocal) implants: premium lenses that can help to achieve a full range of glasses-free distance, middle and near vision without the need for glasses.
- Toric implants: premium lenses which help to correct astigmatism at the time of surgery and can be combined with any of the lenses mentioned above.
In some cases, other combinations of different lens implants are required to address specific eye health and lifestyle needs, this is usually discussed with the consultant at initial consultation.
What do I need to consider when choosing a replacement lens for my cataract surgery?
Your consultant will provide individual advice based on your eye health, lifestyle and any specific needs. One of the key considerations is whether you would be comfortable wearing glasses for some activities or aim to be completely glasses-free after your cataract surgery. It may be helpful to start thinking about this before your consultation, so you can be offered the best solution for you.