During cataract surgery, the eye's natural lens is removed and replaced with an Intraocular lens, or IOL. Since being approved by the FDA in 1981, IOLs have offered an effective alternative for cataract patients. Prior to the use of IOLs, cataract patients had to wear very thick eyeglasses or special contact lenses in order to see after the natural lenses were removed during surgery.
Types of Intraocular Lenses (IOLs)
Conventional IOLs are only monofocal, offering patients vision at only one distance (far, intermediate or near), and still requiring them to use corrective lenses to compensate for other distances. Now, there are new multifocal IOLs available, which provide patients the ability to see well at more than one distance without the use of glasses or contacts. Some examples of multifocal IOLs include:
Other types of IOLs available are: Toric IOLs for people with astigmatisms and Blue Light-Filtering IOLs, which help to filter UV light rays.
How much do IOLs cost?
While cataract surgery and conventional IOLs are covered by insurance because it is considered medically necessary, newer lenses such as, ReStor, ReZoom and Crystalens procedures are not covered and tend to cost more because of their special features. You should discuss the portion of the procedure you will be responsible for with your ophthalmologist prior to the procedure.