Intraocular lens implant isolated on whiteCataract surgery removes the cataract-clouded natural lens of the eye and replaces it with an artificial intraocular lens. Up until about 25 years ago, the choice for replacing the cataract was only a single vision IOL. Most people chose distance vision, correcting for near vision with reading glasses. But then multifocal IOLs debuted and they have continued to advance over the 20+ years. Now, these lenses provide excellent vision at all distances, often fully replacing the need even for reading glasses for presbyopia (difficulty with the eyes focusing for near vision due to aging). 

But that didn’t help people with astigmatism, and about one-fourth of cataract patients have astigmatism of 1.25 diopters or more. They still needed glasses to correct for their irregularly shaped cornea and the focusing problems created at various distances. Some small incisions (limbal relaxing incisions) could be made during cataract surgery to reduce astigmatism, but they can only correct for limited amounts of astigmatism. 

Then came toric IOLs. These corrected for astigmatism. They debuted not long after multifocal IOLs, but they have been getting better and better ever since. 

Today, Dr. Maehara is a big fan of Alcon AcrySof IQ Toric Intraocular Lenses. 

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How do Alcon Toric IOLs work?

If you’re familiar with toric soft contact lenses, the principle is the same with toric IOLs. Both of these lenses have different powers in different meridians of the lens to correct the asymmetric power of the eye that is characteristic of astigmatism. 

If you use toric soft contact lenses, you find the vertical mark near the outer rim of the lens and you align this line to the top of your eye. This orients the lens in the right position to correct your astigmatism. 

The same is true of Alcon AcrySof IQ Toric IOLs. They have special markers on the peripheral parts of the lens that enable Dr. Maehara to see the orientation of the astigmatism correction in the lens. Once the toric IOL is implanted in the eye, Dr. Maehara rotates the lens so the astigmatism correction is properly aligned. 

What are the benefits of Alcon AcrySof IQ Toric IOLs?

As mentioned above, with monofocal IOLs or technically advanced multifocal IOLs, astigmatism is not corrected. That’s because these lens types replace the cataract, but they don’t adjust for the uneven curvature of the cornea that causes astigmatism. Patients who had astigmatism still needed to wear eyeglasses or toric soft contact lenses to correct for this with their distance vision. So, one-quarter of those receiving crystal clear vision with cataract replacement surgery couldn’t fully benefit from these new artificial lenses. 

That changes with toric IOLs and the advanced Alcon AcrySof IQ Toric IOL. These lenses now clear the vision of the cataract-clouded lens, plus they reduce or eliminate the blurring and distortion caused by astigmatism. The Alcon AcrySof IQ Toric IOL also has a unique “aspheric” surface that has proven to eliminate much of the night vision distortions and loss of contrast that be experienced with standard IOLs. 

Who is a good candidate for Alcon Toric IOLs?

If you have astigmatism and prefer not to have to wear glasses for up-close work such as reading or working on the computer, Alcon Toric Multifocal IOLs could be a great option for your cataract replacement lenses. These lenses may or may not return you to 20/20 vision, but they will likely deliver accurate enough vision that you will no longer need any eyeglasses. 

How are Alcon Toric Multifocal IOLs implanted?

High qualirt raster illustration of intraocular lensThe process for placing Alcon AcrySof IQ Toric IOLs with Dr. Maehara is basically the same as any cataract surgery, but there are a couple of important differences. 

Prior to surgery, measurements are taken to enable Dr. Maehara to choose the most beneficial toric IOL power and the required orientation of the implant in the eye to successfully correct the patient’s astigmatism. 

Alcon Toric IOLs have special markers on the peripheral parts of the lens that enable Dr. Maehara to see the orientation of the astigmatism correction in the lens. Once the toric IOL is implanted in the eye, he rotates the lens, so the astigmatism correction is properly aligned. 

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What is the recovery process like after having Alcon Toric lens surgery?

As with the surgery, recovery with these toric lenses is no different than regular cataract surgery. You’ll wear an eye patch immediately after your surgery. Dr. Maehara will also have you wear a protective eye shield, particularly when sleeping, for several days. At first, your vision may be blurry, but it will rapidly improve within just a few days. Your eye may itch and be mildly uncomfortable, but you must not rub or place any pressure on it. 

Heavy lifting or exertion that creates pressure in the head area is totally off-limits. Eye drops will help with inflammation and infection, and they help control the pressure in the eye. 

You can resume daily activities in a few days, but full healing can take up to two months. Surgery is done on only one eye at a time. If your other eye also needs surgery, we’ll schedule it for one to two months after this first surgery. 

How long do Alcon Toric IOLs last?

All IOLs, including toric IOLs, are intended to last the remainder of the patient’s life. They will not degrade in any way. They will not cloud as your natural lens did as the proteins built up as the cataract developed. Unlike contact lenses, intraocular lenses never need replacing and they never require any cleaning or other maintenance. You’ll be happy with your astigmatism corrected vision for the rest of your life. 

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If you’re interested in learning more about Alcon Toric IOLs please contact us for a consultation at 808.955.3937 or fill out our contact us form. We will discuss your needs and concerns, and determine your best course of action.