Cataracts affect millions of people in the United States alone, and this condition accounts for the largest number of eye surgeries performed each year. One of the primary aspects of cataract surgery is the successful replacement of the clouded lens with an artificial intraocular lens, or IOL. Historically, patients treated with cataract surgery have received a monofocual IOL, which facilitates distance vision. What this means is that there continues to be a reliance on reading glasses.
Cataract surgery often works through one of two common approaches:
- The lens in each eye is replaced with a monofocal IOL for distance, and reading glasses are worn for near vision.
- The lens in one eye is replaced with a monofocal IOL for distance, and the other lens is replaced with a monofocal IOL for near vision.
Many patients who have cataracts removed find that one or the other of these approaches meets their needs. However, there are additional options thanks to innovation in the area of IOL technology. In some cases, patients are best served with the placement of a multifocal IOL.
What is a multifocal IOL?
Like your natural lens, the multifocal IOL is intended to focus at both near and far distance. However, the mechanism is slightly different. The healthy natural lens actually moves to accommodate multiple points of vision. As we age, the lens becomes more rigid, which is why many of us notice we need glasses later in life. The multifocal lens does not move with the eye, but has multiple points on which light is reflected in order to allow for better clarity. Because the way a multifocal lens works is different than the natural ocular structure, there is an adjustment period during which the brain learns how to react to this new way of seeing.
Precision Technology in your Eyes
Multifocal lenses are calculated precisely using mathematical formulas to reach the most appropriate power. Certain conditions, such as high astigmatism or even previous LASIK surgery, can pose a challenge to this process. Slight inaccuracies can typically be managed with the help of eyeglasses as needed, such as for reading.
The eyes are complex structures, and we understand how to reach the best outcomes for each of our patients. To learn more about cataracts and IOLs, or to discuss your treatment options, give us a call.