As we age, our eyesight tends to get worse. A common problem in patients above the age of forty is presbyopia — the inability to focus on close-up objects. Another common age-related vision problem is cataracts.
When combined with presbyopia, cataracts can make it nearly impossible to see up-close — even with reading glasses. Vision can be improved by removing cataracts during cataract surgery, but can presbyopia be treated as well? The answer is yes — there are several intraocular lenses, or IOLs, that can treat presbyopia during cataract surgery.
During cataract surgery, the clouded crystalline lens is broken up and removed. Since we need a lens in our eye to see, an artificial one is inserted as a replacement. These lenses are called IOLs, or intraocular lenses. IOLs come in different varieties, the most common one being the monofocal. Monofocals are usually covered by insurance but they don’t offer much in the way of correcting your vision. However, there are a few types of premium IOLs that can treat presbyopia.
A multifocal IOL is a lens that has different zones with various refractive powers. Some zones are focused to help with seeing up-close, and others for seeing at a distance. The end result is basically training your brain to look through a certain zone depending on what you’re focusing on.
Like a multifocal IOL, an accommodative IOL also can help you see up-close and at a distance. It works by actually changing shape based on what you’re looking at. When you focus on something up-close, the lens thickens to allow you to see clearly. When you’re relaxed and viewing at a distance, the lens flattens, which allows you to see objects far away.
Extended Depth of Focus IOL
The Extended Depth of Focus IOL is a new kind of IOL. It’s shaped to create a single, extended focal point that allows you to focus at a range of different distances. Essentially, it allows you to focus on objects that aren’t necessarily very close. This type of IOL is not yet widely offered but may be available depending on your surgeon.
Whatever kind of presbyopia-correcting IOL you choose, you should be able to see better up-close and likely won’t need reading glasses. These IOLs are considered premium, so they may cost a little more out of pocket as most insurances won’t cover them. Remember, a standard monofocal lens won’t allow you to focus on objects up-close —you’ll likely need reading glasses after cataract surgery. For the best vision, you should definitely choose one of these premium IOLs.
To learn more about cataract surgery and the variety of IOLs that are available, contact Nielsen Eye Center today to schedule an appointment at one of our three locations in Quincy, Norwell, or Weymouth, Massachusetts.