Lens Options

When the natural lens is removed during cataract surgery, it must be replaced with an intraocular lens. There are several types of intraocular lenses including Monofocal, Toric, Extended Depth of Focus, and Multifocal Lenses. Patients now have the opportunity to make an informed decision as to which lens and visual outcomes they want.

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Single Focus Intraocular Lenses

A singlefocus, or monofocal intraocular lens, is considered the traditional lens which has been used in cataract surgery for the last 40 years. This lens is one that corrects only distance vision and patients will need to wear reading glasses or bifocal/progressive glasses after surgery depending on their eyes’ prescription.

Toric Intraocular Lenses

Toric intraocular lenses are single focus lenses that will correct for distance and have built in correction for high levels of astigmatism. These lenses will provide a patient with excellent distance vision while reading glasses will still need to be worn for near tasks. There are also toric variety multifocal and extended depth of focus lenses.

Multifocal Intraocular Lenses

As we age, the ability of our eyes to focus weakens, resulting in the need for bifocals and reading glasses. Multifocal Intraocular Lenses are FDA-approved lenses which give patients clear vision at many distances: near, intermediate, and distance. Imagine the freedom of being free of glasses!

Multifocal lenses are implanted during cataract surgery to replace the natural lens. The most recently approved multifocal lens available in the United States includes the Tecnis diffractive multifocal lens (AMO). Both of these lenses strive to provide patients with excellent distance vision as well as freedom from most reading glasses. With all these multifocal lenses, patients will experience glare and haloes after surgery especially during night activities. However, these signs will typically diminish within a few months after surgery as neuroadaptation occurs.

Extended Depth of Focus Lenses

The extended depth of focus (EDOF) lenses use technology based on an elongated focal point in order to give patients freedom from distance and most reading glasses. These lenses are known to give excellent distance vision while still preserving intermediate vision range such as computer and smart phone use. The TECNIS Symfony IOL (Abbott Medical Optics/AMO, Inc. of Santa Ana, California, Now Johnson-Johnson Vision) and the AcrySof™ IQ Vivity™ Extended Vision Intraocular Lens are the most recent EDOF lenses to be approved in the United States.

Should You Choose a Premium IOL?

At Nielsen Eye Center, we pride ourselves on offering our patients the most modern and state-of-the-art premium lenses available.

The Differences Between Premium IOLs and Standard Monofocal IOLs

If you have cataracts, having cataract surgery is usually seen as medically necessary because it restores vision loss and prevents further vision loss from occurring. Most health insurance plans typically cover the cost of cataract surgery.

However, the cost that medical insurance will cover with cataract surgery is usually only the procedure and the price of a standard IOL, known as a monofocal lens. 

Monofocal IOLs

Monofocal lenses are IOLs that are only set to one refractive power. That means that if you choose this lens, you can only see within one focal point.


Some patients choose to combine their monofocal lenses, creating another option that’s known as monovision. Monovision provides more opportunities for seeing than a monofocal lens would. 

Patients can see adequately when they look at things that are at intermediate distances, but if they want clear, up-close vision, they will likely need to use reading glasses or prescription glasses to achieve it.

Monovision works by having one monofocal lens placed in one eye that’s only for looking at things up-close, and then in the other eye, the second monofocal lens is for seeing things that are far away.

If you like the idea of a premium lens, this isn’t something that comes with cataract surgery, so you will have to pay out-of-pocket for them. But if you’re interested in no longer depending on glasses after cataract surgery, it’s an expense that’s well worth it.

You cannot only reduce your dependence on glasses, but you’ll also be able to see clearly at several distances. Compared to the monofocal lens, which only offers the ability to see one focal point, premium lenses begin to look very attractive. 

There are several different varieties of premium lenses to choose from, and they each have unique reasons that make them worth thinking about. 

Premium Lenses Available at Nielsen Eye Center

Because our practice believes in offering our patients the latest and most remarkable technologies, we have several premium lenses to consider. These include:

Diffractive Multifocal Lens

Multifocal lenses have alternating refractive powers instead of a uniform lens. With Multifocal IOLs, there are rings that extend out from the center of the lens. These rings switch between a focal point that’s close-up and one that’s far away.

Patients that choose a multifocal lens train their brain to look through the correct ring. The ring that they should look through changes depending on what they see. 

Having this capability allows you to focus better when you look at objects that are right in front of you and reduces the need for reading glasses, if not eliminating them.

Choosing a multifocal lens can also reduce visual aberrations that are more likely to occur with some intraocular lenses, which leads to fewer vision problems after having cataract surgery.

Trifocal Lens

Patients who choose this IOL have outstanding distance vision, and they can see clearly when they look at things that are at an intermediate distance and things up-close.

The trifocal lens provides sight that is sharp, vibrant, and vividly clear, so you’ll finally see the world as you were meant to see it. In addition, this premium lens corrects your vision and reduces your dependence on glasses after having cataract surgery.


The extended depth of focus (EDOF) IOL uses technology that works around an elongated focal point. Using an extended focal point provides patients with the freedom from reading glasses they’ve been waiting for.

EDOF lenses provide patients with superb distance vision without losing any of their intermediate vision. Intermediate vision is essential if you’re performing tasks like texting on your phone or sending emails on your desktop computer.

Toric Lens

Toric lenses are the only lenses specifically designed to correct astigmatism. Astigmatism is a refractive error that happens when the eye is closer to the shape of a football rather than rounder like a basketball.

If you have astigmatism, your vision will be blurry or distorted. Toric IOLs work because they offset the shape of the eye with how the lens aligns when it’s implanted during cataract surgery. 

Although a toric lens may not correct every kind of astigmatism 100%, they can correct prescriptions that are up to 4 diopters.

How to Choose the IOL that’s Right for You

For some people that need to have cataract surgery, a monofocal lens is a good choice. But if you want to get the most out of having a procedure like cataract surgery and can afford it, a premium IOL is undoubtedly worth considering.

If you’re not sure how to choose the right premium IOL, ask yourself a few questions:

  • What can you afford that will fit in your budget?
  • If you have astigmatism, is it mild or moderate, and do you want to correct it?
  • Do you mind using reading glasses after you’ve had cataract surgery?
  • What are your daily activities?
  • Do these activities need up-close work, or do you need to be able to see well at a distance?

Once you’ve answered these questions, you should have an easier time figuring out which premium IOL is the right choice for you. You should also talk to your eye doctor about what they recommend for you.

They can help you understand some of the more subtle differences between the premium lenses and give you their recommendation based on your personal visual needs and lifestyle goals. No matter what you choose, remember this is an investment in your long-term sight. You need to do what is the most practical for you and your needs.

If you’re concerned about whether or not cataract surgery might be right for you, feel free to take our free cataract self-test today!

Are you wondering which premium IOL could be right for you, but you’re not sure where to start? Schedule a cataract screening with the experts at Nielsen Eye Center in Boston, MA, today!