Brooklyn Eye Surgeon Answers Frequently Asked Questions about Intraocular Lenses.
- Posted on: Feb 19 2020
2019 was a rousing year that saw many innovations come into the world of ophthalmic technology. Some of these exciting innovations in surgical technology included the unveiling of new intraocular implantable lenses. Intraocular lenses (IOLs) are artificial lens implants that are used to replace the natural, clouded lens in the eye at the time of cataract surgery. The lenses can also be used in lens replacement surgery for people wishing to get rid of their dependence on glasses or contact lenses and improve their overall vision. Lens replacement surgery is even a viable option for restoring clear vision in people with age-related vision changes. Below, Dr. Giyaur, M.D., answers some questions commonly asked by our patients:
What are IOLs?
IOLs (intraocular lens implants) are tiny lenses made out of acrylic, or occasionally, silicone material. When the natural lens is no longer functional, these tiny lenses get implanted into the eye in place of the natural lens.
What types of vision problems can be fixed with intraocular lens implants?
– Myopia (nearsightedness)
– Hyperopia (farsightedness)
– Reading vision problems over age 40 (presbyopia)
– Foggy vision due to cataracts
Are there different kinds of IOLs?
There is now a wide variety of IOLs that are FDA approved in the United States and many more that are on the horizon. The decision of which lens to implant is usually made by you and your ophthalmologist. The decision is made by taking into consideration your age, state of any eye disorders, and any desires to be free from glasses/contact lenses.
The main types of IOLs are:
Monofocal – correct vision only at one distance (usually far vision). You will require glasses to see at other distances.
Multifocal – correct to have good distance vision and excellent vision up close or with small print without the need for glasses.
Extended range of focus – excellent distance and computer distance vision. May need glasses for small prints.
Trifocal – the newest lens type, first of its kind in the United States. Gives the best correction for distance vision, computer, and small print.
How do I decide which lens implant is best for me?
Consultation with your ophthalmologist is essential for deciding on the type of lens to use. Your ophthalmologist will tell you whether you are a good candidate for any of the premium vision correcting lenses. Some people may not qualify for premium lenses if they have other conditions such as advanced glaucoma or macular degeneration.
Is lens implantation painful?
The lens implantation is a 10-15 minute procedure that takes place in the operating room with only some mild sedation (less than required for a colonoscopy) and a tiny amount of local anesthetic necessary for the comfort of the patient.
Will I feel the lens?
With successful lens replacement and implantation, the IOL sits within the protected area of the eye, replacing the natural lens of the eye. You will not be able to feel the new lens in the same way you are not able to feel your natural lens. These lens implants are not like the contact lenses that sit on the surface of the eye and are frequently felt by the patient.
How long will the lens last? Will it need to be replaced?
In the majority of cases, when the original implantation is proper and successful, these lenses sit in the eye for many decades and never need to be replaced or repositioned. Occasionally, they need to be cleaned with a laser if a fine film forms over the lens. This laser procedure is called a laser capsulotomy. It is a painless and effective procedure that can be performed in-office within 2-3 minutes.
Is lens implantation covered by insurance?
Cataract surgery followed by monofocal lens implantation is considered a medically necessary procedure and is fully covered by insurance. This coverage includes the costs of anesthesia and surgical center fees. You may still be responsible for any costs stemming from deductibles or coinsurance.
If you choose a laser-assisted cataract surgery option, a premium lens implant, or a clear lens exchange procedure that is done for vision correction without having a cataract, the procedures are no longer covered by insurance and are considered an out-of-pocket expense.
It is essential to select a surgeon who is experienced with lens surgery, premium lens implants, various options for vision correction, laser vision correction, and management of all refractive errors. Being informed of all your options is the best way to make the right choice for you and receiving the best possible quality of sight.