Premium IOLs, or intraocular lenses, are lenses placed in the eye during cataract surgery. The lens placement is designed to restore the eye’s natural lens shape. These lenses can also be placed as a vision correction device called refractive lens exchange. Premium IOLs offer advanced features beyond those available with single-vision IOLs. These features include aspheric, toric, accommodating, and multifocal IOLs.
These lenses closely match the natural curve of the eye. Typical lenses were uniformly curved, making them easier to manufacture but at the same time increasing the chance of uncorrected imperfections in vision. Aspheric lenses help to reduce imperfections and improve clarity, especially at nighttime.
These lenses are specifically designed to help correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.
Accommodating IOLs can tilt slightly forward when you look at objects that are close to the eye. This helps to improve visibility when performing actions like reading a book. While vision with these lenses is not necessarily as sharp as with bifocals, patients experience a reduced need to use reading glasses while still maintaining excellent distance vision.
If you require a bifocal or trifocal lens in your glasses, this may be a likely choice for you. Different portions of the lens allow for better vision at different ranges. However, there are some overall sacrifices with vision clarity at a distance.
Premium IOLs have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) since the 1980s. Prior to FDA approval of premium IOLs, patients who underwent cataract surgery were required to wear thick eyeglasses or specialized contact lenses to correct their vision. New technologies in the optical world have allowed for a wide variety of available premium IOLs. Which specific type suits you best will depend on some different factors
Patients with certain medical histories, including these, may be poor candidates for premium IOL surgery:
Advanced macular degeneration
Anterior basement membrane dystrophy
Post-refractive surgery patients
This list is not comprehensive. If you are considering premium IOL surgery, please consult your physician and bring a detailed medical history for their review.
Premium IOP lenses may also not be ideal for senior patients. The eyes of those in the geriatric population are often rapidly deteriorating, requiring a lens replacement more quickly than would otherwise be recommended.
Surgeons will also have an eye toward the patient’s desire not to wear eyeglasses. If the patient does not mind wearing corrective lenses without the need for surgery, doing so may be the best option.
Finally, patients may also want to consider their careers when weighing the value of this surgery. Patients who are required to read on computer screens for extended periods (such as those in office jobs) may be ideal candidates. By contrast, those whose jobs require long-distance acuity, like truck drivers, pilots, or even photographers, may find that some of the issues with these lenses are not suited to their needs. Individuals often complain of “halos” during the night when looking toward a light, glare, or general acuity issues at longer distances.
After recovering from cataract surgery, many patients expect their vision to be completely restored to its peak performance. For this reason, surgeons are likely to have some initial concerns to ensure that the patient’s hopes are grounded. Physicians are therefore careful to discuss the realities of the surgery and its potential outcomes with their patients.
While premium IOLs have some limitations, they offer an excellent choice for many individuals. Meet with your eye care professional to discuss all of the available options to find your best fit and to make sure that you understand all of the potential risks, restrictions, and rewards that this operation poses.