If you are nearing the age for cataract surgery and want a reliable vision correction solution, premium lens implants could be a suitable option. These lens implants are also referred to as “lifestyle lens implants” because they can provide excellent vision, sometimes without the need for glasses. Before determining if these premium lens implants are right for you, it is important to discuss your lens implant options with your cataract surgeon.
What Are Premium Lenses?
Patients needing cataract removal may choose to replace the natural lens of the eye with a traditional intraocular lens (IOL) or with what is called a premium lens. Premium IOLs are made with innovative biomaterial, aspheric (multifocal) design, and refractive properties that can address errors that affect vision.
The First Intraocular Lenses
The first intraocular lenses to be used were made of Polymethylmethacrylate, or PMMA, a type of acrylic. The premium lenses often selected today are made of materials such as silicone, hydrophilic acrylic, hydrophobic acrylic, and PMMA biomaterials. These materials achieve long-term stability and offer biocompatibility that minimizes the chances of a foreign-body reaction. The increase in biocompatibility in today’s IOLs also improves the adhesiveness of the new lens to the epithelial cells in the lens capsule, reducing the risk of rotation or displacement.
What Issues Can Premium Lenses Treat?
Historically, intraocular lenses had been implanted to replace a clouded lens affected by cataracts. The replacement lens provided vision clear of cloudiness but did nothing to reduce a person’s need for eyeglasses. Today’s intraocular lenses are made specifically to improve vision at various distances. Premium intraocular lenses can address refractive errors such as nearsightedness and farsightedness, as well as presbyopia and astigmatism.
Can a multifocal IOL be implanted in just one eye?
All cataract surgeries are done on only a single eye. If the patient has cataracts in both eyes, the second procedure is scheduled a few weeks later to allow the first eye to fully heal.
Most people develop cataracts in both eyes, but they often don’t develop at the same rate. Some patients have one eye with a well-developed cataract and their other eye has a clear natural lens or only an early cataract. In this case, the patient may only need to have cataract surgery on one eye, and a multifocal IOL will be a great way to improve their vision. The premium IOL will act like the other natural lens, providing the ability to focus at all the different sight ranges. Plus, the vision will be crystal clear, which will be a nice change after living with the increasing cloudiness in the eye with the advanced cataract.
Intraocular Lens Candidates
Patients who visit one of our Boston area offices to discuss cataract removal or refractive lens exchange meet with an experienced ophthalmologist who will discuss medical history and individual needs and preferences for future vision. Our team has years of experience serving patients in our local area with a personal touch and the latest technical aspects of cataract and refractive surgeries. We develop a customized approach for each patient to achieve the most satisfactory outcome.
Most people who require cataract removal are good candidates for an intraocular lens. Our comprehensive consultation and examination seek to discover which type of lens will be most appropriate in each case.
Will my vision change later?
Adult vision rarely changes once we move past our 25th birthday. This continues to be true in later life. People mistake presbyopia, the condition where the lens of our eye loses its ability to adjust for up-close vision as easily as it did formerly, for a change in our refractive errors. But this isn’t the case. Presbyopia is a near universal condition that only affects up-close vision, such as for reading, and it occurs after we turn 40. Presbyopia is the reason people over 40 have numerous pairs of reading glasses scattered around their living space.
A change in your vision would typically be a sign of another health condition that could be impacting your vision, or it could be the development of glaucoma or macular degeneration. These are not refractive changes in the quality of the vision.
What Are The Advantages Of Premium Lenses?
The primary reason why patients choose a premium IOL is that they want to retain multifocal vision. Where a standard IOL is referred to as monofocal (attaining single-distance visual quality, such as up close or farther away), a premium IOL is made to focus well at numerous points and distances.
- Can eliminate the need for eyeglasses, even for patients with more complex visual needs.
- Are suitable for patients with presbyopia, the age-related eye condition that can disrupt near vision. A premium IOL can correct near vision while simultaneously preserving distance vision.
- Provide a custom solution for each patient. No two people have the same exact vision needs. The wide selection of premium IOLs adequately meets the needs of patients with various lifestyle habits and preferences.
- Have a high satisfaction rate. Most patients who receive premium IOLs find that their level of visual improvement has a positive effect on daily living.
- Clear vision at all distances means less time spent fumbling with eyeglasses and greater ability to engage in an active lifestyle without the need for special eyewear.
Intraocular Lens Patient Testimonial
“Dr. Evans is a wonderful surgeon. I can’t praise him enough based on my personal experience. Thank you Dr. Evans for taking such good care of me.”
– Partha P.
I Have A High Amount Of Astigmatism. Can I Still Get A Premium IOL?
Yes. Today’s toric premium IOLs are made specifically to correct for astigmatism, even at higher levels of the condition. The companies behind these advanced premium IOLs (Alcon, Starr Surgical, Abbott Medical, and Bausch + Lomb) have online toric calculator tools to help determine the best model and the axis of orientation of the lens. At North Suburban Eye Associates, our surgeons will work with you to find the best toric IOL for your situation.
Types Of Premium Lens Implants
The Crystalens® uses a unique technology that has undergone many significant changes in the past few years. TheCrystalens® provides:
- Excellent distance vision without prescription glasses.
- Excellent intermediate (computer) range vision.
- The ability for many patients to read without reading glasses.
The Tecnis® Multifocal lens implant offers a new design that can significantly reduce your dependence on spectacles. The Tecnis® Multifocal provides:
- Excellent distance vision without prescription glasses.
- Excellent reading vision without reading glasses in a dimly lit environment.
- The ability for some patients to work at their computer without reading glasses.
Multifocal Lens Implants
Multifocal IOL lens implants enable patients to see at near, far and intermediate distances after surgery. The 2 major brand names in this category are the AcrySof® ReSTOR® IOL by Alcon and the Tecnis® by AMO. With a multifocal IOL, the central portion of the lens has a series of steps that are carved in a very precise arrangement with varying step heights and distances between steps.
Each of the steps of this diffractive optic bends the incoming light differently; creating a near focus that is quite separated from the distance focus formed by the remaining refractive portion of the lens. This large separation between the two images allows for less artifacts or distortion in either of the images, providing good quality of vision at both distance and near.
Accommodating lens implants have garnered a significant amount of positive review and testimonials from thousands of early patient adopters. These special lenses are designed to mimic or accommodate, just like the eyes natural lens would. The hinge design of the lens enables it to move inside the eye just like the original natural lens. The end result is that patients can see better at multiple distances. The only accommodating IOL available is known as the Crystalens® by Bausch & Lomb.
Toric lens implants are a unique type of lens implant that are used to correct astigmatism. A Toric lens implant is NOT the only method of astigmatism correction, so consult a doctor about the current possibilities.
Asymmetric steepening of the cornea or natural lens causes light to be focused unevenly, which is the main optical problem in astigmatism. To individuals with uncorrected astigmatism, images may look blurry or shadowed. Astigmatism can accompany any form of refractive error and is very common. Astigmatism can be corrected with glasses, contact lenses, corneal relaxing incisions, laser vision correction, and special implant lenses.
If a cataract patient has astigmatism and has aspirations to be glasses-free after surgery, the Toric lens implant is a good option. Toric lens implants are NOT a correction option for presbyopia.
The TRULIGN Toric intraocular lens is intended for the visual correction of astigmatism secondary to removal of a cataract in patients with or without presbyopia who desire reduced astigmatism with increased glasses independence and improved uncorrected near, intermediate and distance vision. The TruLign Toric lens is a premium implant and there is an additional fee above Medicare coverage for it.
How To Choose The Right Premium Lens Implant
Premium lens implants can be very exciting for patients that want to have a new level of spectacle freedom after cataract surgery, or with clear lens extraction. Due to the complex nature of each person’s visual system, it is difficult for a patient to make an assessment about the right lens without consulting a medical ophthalmologist. Therefore, we highly suggest a consultation with the North Suburban Eye Associates medical surgeons before making any decision on a lens implant.
Intraocular Lens Procedure
Lens replacement surgery may coincide with cataract removal or occur solely to correct a refractive error. In either situation, the procedure involves one of a few different techniques. The method of lens replacement that will take place is discussed prior to surgery and all patient questions are answered.
Cataract removal and lens replacement are outpatient procedures that are conducted with a local anesthetic. Medicated eye drops work very quickly to numb the nerve endings in the eye. A small device gently holds the eye open while the surgeon makes a tiny incision on the eye’s surface. Microsurgical instruments are used to remove the lens through this incision. The new lens is then inserted into the pocket. Many lens replacement procedures are conducted in less than an hour without any need for stitches to hold the new lens in place. When the lens is properly situated, the eye can close and will be bandaged for a period of approximately 24 hours.
Will I see halos after having a lifestyle lens implanted?
Seeing halos is one of the symptoms of well-developed cataracts. They are also one of the symptoms of other conditions, such as glaucoma, migraine headaches, and even some LASIK surgeries.
They are also a side effect after having your cataract replaced with an intraocular lens. It is not unusual to experience glare and halos around lights during the first few weeks after your cataract surgery. In the vast majority of cases, these effects are mild and gradually disappear over the course of a few days to a few weeks. At roughly three months after your cataract surgery, swelling in the cornea will have settled along with any visual disturbances. Halos can linger in some rare instances.
How long do premium IOLs last?
All intraocular lenses, whether monofocal or these amazing premium lenses, are intended to last for the remainder of the person’s life. These lenses will not degrade or cloud in any way. They do not need to be replaced or cared for. These are single surgeries performed on the eye with the cataract.
Do IOLs Ever Have To Be Replaced?
Intraocular lenses rarely need to be replaced due to complications with the implant itself. Some patients (less than 1 percent) develop complications from cataract surgery, such as increased intraocular pressure or photosensitivity, which may require additional treatment. Even in these instances, the intraocular lens may be kept in place. Usually, if an IOL is replaced, it is to achieve a higher degree of visual acuity than is offered by the existing IOL.