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Which IOL Should I Get for Cataract Surgery?in Boston, MA

When you get cataract surgery, your clouded crystalline lens will be replaced with an artificial intraocular lens, or IOL. IOLs come in different varieties — some are considered standard while others are considered “premium.” How do you choose which kind of IOL to get? Let’s first look at what the options are.


A multifocal lens is a lens that allows you to see at a range of distances. This is achieved by the technology in the lens. The result is the ability to see up-close and far away once your eye adjusts. Your brain learns how to select the right focus through the lens on its own. The majority of the time, patients will be free of eyeglasses after receiving a multifocal lens implant.


An accommodative lens also allows you to see at multiple distances, but works by changing shape in your eye depending on where you are looking. The lens can change shape or move around your eye to automatically focus when looking up-close or far away.


A toric lens is a lens specifically used to correct astigmatism. It works like an accommodative lens and changes shape in order to allow you to focus at different distances by correcting the refractive error made by your irregular eye shape.


A monofocal IOL is considered the most basic IOL. This lens has only one focusing distance, so you will be able to see either close up or far away. Many people opt for a different monofocal lens in each eye, one that allows you to see at a distance and one that allows you to see up close. This kind of vision, called monovision, means you will still need to wear reading glasses at times. If you wore glasses or contacts full-time before surgery, you will likely have to continue to do so after your procedure.

What Makes an IOL “Premium”?

All IOLs besides the monofocal lens are considered “premium.” Premium IOLs are usually not covered by insurance like monofocal lenses are, so you may have to pay out of pocket to cover the extra cost. Depending on your situation, however, this may be well worth it, as these results will last a lifetime.

Choosing the Right Kind  of IOL for You

The kind of IOL you get depends on what you want out of cataract surgery. Maybe you just want your cataracts removed and you’re fine with using glasses or contact lenses to correct visual problems. Maybe you have astigmatism and want that to be corrected. Or maybe you just want the best possible vision after surgery.

If you want to see the best with unassisted vision, go with a premium lens or a toric if you have astigmatism. If you don’t want to spend the money and you’re okay with less than perfect vision, opt for the standard monofocal lens.

Want to learn more about cataract surgery and the different kinds of IOLs available? Contact Nielsen Eye Center today to schedule an appointment.

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