In San Diego, CA
What Makes An IOL "Premium"?
A standard IOL is designed to restore vision at a single fixed distance because they have the same power throughout the entire lens. For example, the lens may be fixed to restore clear distance vision, thereby requiring patients to wear reading glasses to see clearly at close and intermediate distances. Medicare and other health insurance companies typically cover the cost of cataract surgery with a standard or “single vision” IOL.
Premium IOLs have special features beyond what a standard lens offers and generally offer a greater range of vision after cataract surgery.
At American Eye Associates and California Retina Associates, we offer a wide range of cutting-edge treatments, expert surgical techniques, and the latest diagnostic services that will help you live your most healthy and comfortable life. We are happy to offer ophthalmology services to men and women in San Diego, Chula Vista, and the surrounding areas of Imperial County, California. Contact us to schedule your one-on-one consultation with one of our expert ophthalmologists today.
What Are The Different Types of IOL's?
Frequently Asked Questions
Am I A Good Candidate For Premium IOLs?
We can only say, “That depends on you.” Most people would be happy to ditch their supply of reading glasses, situated strategically at all corners of the home. Premium IOLs allow you to do that, especially the newer accommodating IOLs that correct for presbyopia. Toric IOLs can even correct for astigmatism, as well! These amazing lenses allow you to see clearly at all distances. For many patients, this is the first time in their lives they have not required corrective eyewear.
If cost is an issue, then you may not want to spend the extra money for premium IOLs, but most of our San Diego patients feel the extra cost of these technologically advanced premium IOLs is more than worth it once they experience their great vision. What’s clear vision worth to you?
What Are The Different Types of Premium IOLs?
“Premium” intraocular lenses have advanced features beyond those found in basic single vision IOLs. While the increased cost of a premium IOL is not covered by Medicare and other types of insurance, their increased benefits may be worth the cost for our patients.
The three types of premium IOL options are multifocal, accommodating, and toric. Each has different characteristics for different eye conditions, such as astigmatism (toric).
Multifocal IOLs »
Multifocal IOLs have added magnification in different portions of the lens to restore vision at multiple distances. Many people with multifocal IOLs are able to forego reading glasses after surgery because the lenses allow them to see clearly at nearly all distances.
Accommodating IOLs »
Accommodating IOLs also offer a full range of clear vision at all distances through a focusing process called accommodation. In a normal eye, the accommodation process alters the focusing power of the eye as needed by varying the thickness of the lens. For clear near vision, the lens thickens and becomes more curved for added magnification; for clear distance vision, the lens flattens.
Accommodating IOLs have special supporting “legs” that work with the eye’s muscles to move slightly forward when focusing on a near object. Often this level of magnification is good enough to reduce or eliminate the need for reading glasses after cataract surgery.
Toric IOLs »
Our San Diego premium IOL providers also offer lenses with special features to correct for co-existing vision problems. Toric lenses are designed specifically for astigmatism, or an uneven curvature of the cornea or lens. The lenses have different powers in different meridians and must be specially oriented inside the eye to adequately correct astigmatism.
What Is The Difference Between Monofocal IOLs and Multifocal IOLs?
Monofocal IOLs are also known as standard intraocular lenses. This is because these were the original replacement lenses for cataracts surgery, and they remain the only type of lens fully covered by Medicare. Monofocal lenses, as their name implies, deliver one point of focus: close, mid-range, or distance. You can choose the distance you will see clearly and use glasses for other distances. Most people choose distance vision with monofocal lenses, and then wear reading glasses for up close and intermediate distance.
Multifocal IOLs are similar to glasses with progressive lenses. Different areas of the lens have different focusing strengths, allowing for near, medium, and far vision. With multifocal IOLs, both near and far objects are in focus at the same time, so the wearer has a little bit of an adjustment period. But the brain quickly learns to select the visual information needed to form the proper image, whether near or far. Some patients feel that multifocal IOLs provide somewhat better up-close vision than accommodating IOLs.
You could also consider accommodating IOLs and toric IOLs as multifocal, although they are not technically called that. Both of these premium IOLs also allow for accurate vision at all distances. Rather than breaking this into monofocal vs. multifocal, a better distinction would be standard IOLs vs. premium IOLs.
What Are The Benefits of Premium IOLs?
Technology has really changed the landscape of options when it comes to replacing your cataract-clouded lens with an intraocular lens. The first IOL was monovision, meaning it corrected for one type of vision, either up close or distance. The patient had to wear eyeglasses to correct for the other. With single vision IOLs, most people choose to correct for distance vision, wearing reading glasses for up-close work.
Premium IOLs now offer vision correction at different distances with both accommodating and multifocal IOLs. This means they correct for near- and farsightedness. They also correct for astigmatism with toric IOLs. Recently, toric function was added to multifocal and accommodating IOLs. A premium IOL also corrects for presbyopia, the condition that is almost universal after the age of 40 where the eye has more difficulty focusing for near vision.
What are the benefits of these premium IOLs? Well, it depends on how much you adore your current readers. If you’d love to not have 14 pairs of reading glasses strategically placed throughout your world, having premium IOLs can remove the need for them. This is quite freeing for most people. The ability to correct for astigmatism also removes the need for eyeglasses to correct the areas that were formerly a problem.
Are There Risks With Cataract Surgery And Placement Of IOLs?
Cataract surgery is so common that eventually over half of the population will likely have it. Complications are very rare, and if any of these happen they can usually be successfully treated. These are the risks:
- Drooping eyelid
- Dislocation of the IOL
- Retinal detachment
- Loss of vision
What Type Of Results Can I Expect With Premium IOLs?
Premium IOLs will dramatically reduce, if not completely eliminate, your need for reading glasses. Your vision will be clear at all distances, like your natural eye lens provided if you had approximately 20/20 vision. Patients with significant astigmatism or who really don’t want to deal with reading glasses any longer are perfect candidates to opt for premium IOLs for their cataract surgery.
Are Premium IOLs Painful?
No. There is no pain during the procedure, which takes just 5 to 10 minutes, and there is little discomfort during your brief recovery. While your vision will be blurry at first, it quickly improves in the first couple of days. Full healing of your eyes can take up to two months, but you can get back to your normal activities in just a few days. From there, you cannot feel these IOLs in your eyes.
How Long Does It Take To Recover After Having Premium IOLs Placed?
Cataract surgery and IOL placement are one in the same, as you cannot remove the clouded natural lens and not replace it with an IOL. The same is true with standard or premium IOLs.
You’ll wear an eye patch immediately after your surgery. We’ll 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 exert 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.