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What Is The Difference Between A Standard Intraocular Lens Implant (IOL) And A High Tech IOL?
It used to be over the past six decades that the only choice for a cataract surgery implant was the standard ‘monofocal’ IOLs. They still offer good functional ‘distance’ vision, but reading glasses are almost always needed for near vision.
If you want to be less dependent on eyeglasses or contact lenses, or if you have astigmatism, then the FDA approved High Tech Lens Implants (IOLs) are a better choice. Because of the advanced technology utilized in these High Tech IOLs, your vision may be better than it would be if the standard IOL was used.
Why is it important to decide which IOL you want before your cataract surgery?
Once you have cataract surgery, you cannot change your mind to upgrade to a High Tech IOL. That is why it is so important to really think about this decision ahead of time. At The Eye Associates, we strive to answer all your questions and help you through this decision process. We understand that your lifetime of good vision depends on it.
Categories of High Tech IOLs
High tech IOLs come in several categories: multifocal, multifocal toric, accommodating, and accommodating toric.
Multifocal IOLs, such as the AcrySof IQ ReSTOR® Multifocal, the TECNIS® Multifocal, and the TECNIS Symfony, work somewhat like a progressive or bifocal eyeglass lens by offering you an expanded range of vision, distance and near.
Accommodating IOLs, such as the Crystalens and the Trulign Toric, have a design that allows the lens to flex slightly when your eye’s natural focusing muscles move, thereby mimicking your own eye’s natural ability to see at multiple distances, much like before you became presbyopic and needed reading glasses. The Trulign Toric is an accommodating toric IOL that corrects astigmatism as well as offering a full range of vision – distance to near.
Multifocal Toric IOLs, like the AcrySof IQ ReSTOR Toric also corrects astigmatism and offers a full range of vision.
“Monofocal” Toric IOLs, like the AcrySof IQ Toric and Tecnis Toric, correct astigmatism, giving good distance vision but you will still require reading glasses.
The good news is that there are many choices, and together you and your surgeon will be able to decide which option is best for you.
5 Frequently Asked Questions About High Tech IOLs
1. Is the cost of high tech lenses covered by Medicare and/or other insurances?
If you have vision loss due to cataracts, the good news is that the cost of these high tech lenses and the associated services are partially covered by Medicare and private medical insurance. The patient is responsible for payment of that portion which exceeds the charge of the standard “monofocal” single focus IOL, as well as any copayments and deductibles.
If you do not have a cataract, most insurance companies will not provide any coverage. They usually consider this a cosmetic rather than a medical necessity. The patient then would be responsible for the full payment of the surgery, lens implant and surgery center fees. Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover can be used, and we also offer several affordable financing plans, including an interest-free option, for those wanting to finance the procedure.
2. Am I required to have cataract surgery in both eyes in order to get the High Tech IOLs?
Yes, the patient selection criteria requires that both eyes be done, generally within several weeks of each other, in order to achieve optimum results.
3. What if I’ve already had cataract surgery? Can I get these IOLs?
Presently, if you have already had cataract surgery, you are not a candidate for these high tech lenses. However, we are hoping that in the future, we will have high tech lenses that will be approved for patients who have already had cataract surgery. Then we will be able to surgically insert a second IOL, known as a “piggy-back” lens, in front of your existing fixed-focus IOL in order to give you vision both near and far.
Another option on the horizon for people that have already had cataract surgery with a standard IOL and want to get out of reading glasses is the new Raindrop Near Vision Inlay. Presently the Raindrop is only FDA approved for people that have great distance vision, have poor near vision and have not had cataract surgery. But The Eye Associates is a Principle Investigator for a Raindrop Clinical Research Study for people that have had cataract surgery with a standard monofocal IOL. Think you might be interested in joining the study? Click here for more information.
4. What if I’ve already had LASIK or another eye surgery? Can I get these lenses?
If you’ve had LASIK or some other type of vision correction procedures, you still may be a candidate as long as your eyes are in good health.
5. After receiving these high tech IOLs, will I still need glasses at times?
The goal of these IOLs is to maximize convenience through minimizing, not necessarily totally eliminating, your need for glasses. Most patients can conduct the majority of their daily activities without glasses after surgery, but results do vary depending upon your vision, lifestyle, and the anatomy of your eyes. Various studies show that 80 percent to 92 percent of those receiving this technology “never” or only “occasionally” need to wear glasses. Circumstances where glasses were sometimes needed included night driving, long periods of reading, and reading very fine print.
6. Is there an adjustment period or side effects after surgery?
Yes, patients receiving these high tech IOLs usually experience an “adjustment period.” It generally takes 6 to 12 weeks for the brain to learn to “see” up close and distance with the new lenses. Also, some people report halos or glare around lights while getting used to them. For most, this issue diminishes over time. However, for some it never completely goes away. More people report that the ability to see near and far greatly outweighs any visual side effects associated with these IOLs.
The TECNIS Multifocal Lens IOL by Abbott Medical Optics (AMO) is designed to provide you with high quality vision at all distances, under all lighting conditions – day or night. The TECNIS does not work with the muscles in the eye so it does not depend on the mechanical process of movement to give clear vision. It has a patented multifocal optic design that works much like a bifocal in the eye.
TECNIS Symfony Multifocal IOL
The TECNIS Symfony Multifocal IOL is the first and only Extended Depth of Focus IOL, designed to provide continuous high quality vision as any distance. This IOL also corrects chromatic aberration (color distortion) to provide sharp vision in all lighting conditions.
Acrysof IQ ReSTOR Multifocal IOL
The AcrySof IQ ReSTOR IOL is another multifocal lens implant made by industry leader Alcon. It uses a patented optical technology called apodization that is designed to improve image quality at near and distance and in different lighting conditions. This lens has a proven record with more than 70 million AcrySof IOL implants used worldwide.
Acrysof IQ ReSTOR Multifocal Toric IOL
The AcrySof IQ ReSTOR Multifocal Toric IOL combines the proven qualities of the ReSTOR Multifocal with the benefits of astigmatism correction. This Toric IOL is designed to provide good vision at all ranges; thereby reducing the cost of reoccurring glasses and contact lenses over a lifetime. Back to Top
The Crystalens was the first FDA approved accommodating lens implant and works differently than multifocal High Tech IOLs. The term ‘accommodating’ refers to the natural way a young eye is able to focus from near to far by actually changing the shape of the lens in the eye. The Crystalens uses that same principle. It uses your own eye muscles to flex, moving the lens to adjust the focus of objects at all distances. This IOL produces a single image so patients do not need to neuroadapt to viewing multiple images. It should be noted, though, that even though all these High Tech IOLs can improve vision immensely, we cannot completely duplicate the natural accommodation that we experienced in our youth.
TECNIS Symfony Multifocal Toric IOL
The TECNIS Symfony Multifocal Toric IOL offers the Extended Depth of Focus while also offering correction for those with astigmatism. Without the toric correction for astigmatism, both distance vision and near vision would be blurry unless glasses is worn.
AcrySof IQ Toric IOL
If you have astigmatism and a cataract, the AcrySof IQ Toric Lens Implant by Alcon may be a good choice for you. This IOL takes astigmatism correction to a new level by adding the enhanced image quality for distance vision of an aspheric lens to its unique toric design. This offers increased contrast sensitivity to improve vision in even the most challenging environment. It should be noted, though, that reading glasses will likely be needed with this IOL choice. Back to Top
Trulign Toric IOL
The Trulign Toric IOL by Bausch+Lomb offers patients the combined benefit of astigmatism correction as well as a wide range of vision from near to far. It has a uniform power, center to edge, that produces predictable results for patients’ active lifestyle. It also gives good acuity and contrast for driving at night.
TECNIS Toric IOL
The TECNIS Toric IOL is another Abbot Medical Optics (AMO) product; one that is used for the correction of astigmatism during cataract surgery. It exceeds the national ANSI criteria for toric lens rotational stability by using a unique Tri-Fix 3-point fixation system. What that means to you, the patient, is that secure rotation stability delivers more precise visual results. Combine that with their Optical Synergy, an exclusive combination of optics, material and design that promotes excellent patient outcomes, you have a superior lens implant for all your needs.