What is an IOL?
An intraocular lens (or IOL) is a tiny, artificial lens for the eye. It replaces the eye’s natural lens that is removed during cataract surgery. The lens bends (refracts) light rays that enter the eye, helping you to see. Your lens should be clear. But if you have a cataract, your lens has become cloudy. Things look blurry, hazy or less colorful with a cataract. Cataract surgery removes this cloudy lens and replaces it with a clear IOL to improve your vision.
IOLs come in different focusing powers, just like prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses. Your ophthalmologist will measure the length of your eye and the curve of your cornea. These measurements are used to set your IOLs focusing power.
Will I ever have to wear glasses again?
Possibly. Although cataract surgery with a premium lens is your best option to not have to wear glasses most of the time, it can not be guaranteed that glasses will never be needed again.
Will I need to move my head around and point it in order to see something, like I do with my glasses with progressive lenses?
No. The implant takes up a much smaller space than a pair of glasses and although it may take a little while for you to adjust to using it, your brain will automatically find the right spot by just moving the eye.
If I don’t have to wear glasses right after surgery, will that last forever?
Not necessarily. As we age, our eyes may change due to unforeseen ocular and some systemic diseases, as well.
IOL’s for Astigmatism
Astigmatism is when the lens or cornea is not perfectly round. It causes a distortion to your vision. Astigmatism in the lens (or lenticular astigmatism), is automatically eliminated or reduced at the time of cataract surgery just by removing the lens.
Corneal astigmatism remains after cataract surgery and if not surgically corrected, will require you to have to wear glasses for distance, intermediate and near after surgery. If the astigmatism is corrected with either a Toric lens or Refractive Limbal Relaxing Incisions, then you will be less dependent on wearing glasses all the time.
What is the difference between the toric lens and the incisions to correct astigmatism?
The Toric lens corrects astigmatism inside the eye whereas astigmatic incisions are on the surface of the eye rounding out the cornea. The Toric lens is more accurate and does not require any additional incisions other than the incision for the cataract surgery. Therefore the patient is usually more comfortable and notes that vision is more clear after the procedure. If you have a large amount of astigmatism, you may require a combination of a Toric lens with astigmatic incisions. For smaller amounts of astigmatism and with patients who heal at a normal rate, astigmatic incisions should work just fine.
Will either procedure correct all my astigmatism?
We use state-of-the-art equipment, but each patient is a little different. That is why the doctor aims for a slight under correction so that, although there may be a small amount of astigmatism present after surgery, it will be greatly reduced.
Will I ever have to wear glasses after the astigmatism is fixed?
Possibly. We cannot control changes a patient may have in vision after the surgery, but the need to wear glasses should be greatly reduced.