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Lens Implants

Introduction to Lens Implants

If you are in need of cataract surgery and want reliable vision correction while eliminating the need for glasses, lens implants might be the answer for you. Premium lens implant technology is now available to help you see without glasses at near, far and intermediate distances. Dr. Keith Walter is excited to bring these lens implant options to patients in the Winston-Salem area, and has received additional training and certification, enabling him to use the latest techniques associated with inserting these modern lens implants.

Introduction to Lens Implants

Understanding Your Natural Lens

In order to see clearly at all distances (both up close and far away), your eye must be able to change its focus power. The lens of your eye is responsible for this change by adjusting its shape to bring whatever you're looking at into clear focus.

As we age, the lens hardens and cannot readily change its shape, causing us to lose the ability to see up close, often resulting in the need for bifocals or reading glasses. As we get older still, the lens may become cloudy and this cloudiness in the lens is called a cataract. In cataract surgery, the cloudy lens is removed and a new lens (called an intraocular lens implant, or “IOL”) is inserted.

Previously, patients had only one lens implant option, the monofocal lens, which enabled clear vision at only one distance (either near or far; glasses were needed to correct the distance that was not corrected by the newly inserted lens). Now, patients have access to a variety of implants that offer a wide spectrum of vision correction at near, intermediate and far distances.

Selecting the right implant for your eye is important for your visual outcome. Dr. Walter will determine the proper implant power after taking special measurements of your eye. Then, depending upon your optical history and current medical condition, Dr. Walter may recommend using a standard implant, or he will indicate that you are a candidate for a premium lens.

Types of Premium Lens Implants

    Monofocal IOL

  • This lens is the traditional lens and provides adequate vision at one distance (typically far). With this option, bifocal glasses are typically required after cataract surgery. Medicare and most insurance carriers cover this implant option.
  • Multifocal IOL

  • Multifocal lenses available on the market include Acrysof IQ ®, Restor ® and Tecnis ® IOLs. Multifocal lenses provide good vision for near, far, and intermediate distances. Using multifocal lenses can drastically reduce or even eliminate your need for eyeglasses after cataract surgery.
  • Toric IOL

  • The types of toric IOLs available include Acrysof IQ Toric ® and Tecnis Toric ® IOL. The toric lens corrects astigmatism and sharpens distance vision after cataract surgery; however, reading glasses will still be needed for near correction.

Cataract surgery utilizing both the Multifocal and Toric lenses is partially covered by Medicare and other insurance providers. However, the majority of the cost associated with the upgraded lens is paid out of pocket.

Risks Associated with Lens Implants

Although cataract surgery is one of the safest surgeries performed today, the American Academy of Ophthalmology takes the position that all surgery has risks and therefore it is important to inform patients not only of the benefits of cataract surgery, but the risks as well.

With any lens implant, the patient may experience small flickers of light from the edge of the lens for the first six (6) to eight (8) weeks.

Patients selecting a toric lens may still have a small amount of residual astigmatism, resulting in slightly blurred vision. This can be corrected by rotating the lens into the proper position (typically necessary if the patient rubbed their eye prior to sufficient healing), laser eye surgery or glasses.

Unique risks associated with the multifocal lens include small “halos” around lights when driving at night (experienced in approximately 10% of patients, with most reporting it to be a minor inconvenience that improves in six (6) to twelve (12) months), as well as inadequate intermediate vision.

While there are some additional risks associated with the premium lenses, Dr. Walter has found that the vast majority of his patients find freedom from glasses to far outweigh the potential side effects mentioned above. During your initial exam, Dr. Walter is happy to further discuss these risks with you so that you can make an informed decision regarding your vision needs.

Did You Know?

In 1949 Harold Ridley implanted the first intraocular lens in London, England. (International Intraocular Surgery Club) By 1952, the first intraocular lens was implanted in the United States. It is amazing to think that lens implantation has been evolving for almost 60 years. Source - IIIC.org website information

To learn more about toric lens implants and the Tecnis Multifocal® implant, please click on the links below.

Toric Lens Implants Tecnis Multifocal Implants