Intraocular Lens Options
An intraocular lens (IOL) works by replacing the focusing power of your eye’s natural lens. Today’s IOL technology can give you better vision – often without glasses – than before cataract surgery. Dr. Legare thoroughly evaluates your eyes before recommending a particular IOL. We’ll talk about your work, hobbies and other activities to make sure your IOL choice fits your lifestyle.
Standard IOLs (Single-focus)
For those with mild to no astigmatism, standard IOLs will give you sharp, clear focusing power at a single distance, either close up (near vision) or far away (distance vision). They are also called single-focus or monofocal IOLs.
You might choose one IOL for near vision and one for distance. This is called monovision. Dr. Legare will help you select the best option specific to your needs.
Does insurance cover standard IOLs?
Yes. When cataracts are advanced enough that surgery is considered medically necessary, health insurance (including Medicare) covers cataract surgery and standard IOLs.
Toric IOLs offer patients with moderate astigmatism better vision without glasses. Astigmatism, a common eye condition caused by an irregularly shaped cornea or lens, causes distorted or blurred vision. Other IOLs don’t correct astigmatism, so you might need glasses to correct it after cataract surgery. If your goal is to optimize your probability of being glasses free for distance vision, a toric IOL could be for you.
With a toric IOL, you usually only wear glasses for reading, computer work, and other close-up activities. Monovision, one eye corrected for near vision and the other eye corrected for distance vision, is an option as well with toric IOLs. If you only have astigmatism in one only eye, you only need one toric lens.
Does insurance cover the upgrade to a toric IOL?
No. Health insurance (including Medicare) covers cataract surgery with standard IOLs when your cataracts are advanced enough that surgery is considered medically necessary. Toric IOLs offer the convenience of improving your vision without glasses after surgery. Insurance companies don’t consider this benefit a medical necessity, so they do not cover the upgrade. They do cover the cost of surgery if cataract removal is medically necessary.
If you choose a toric IOL, we ask that you pay for your premium IOL in advance. This is because the implant must be ordered before surgery in your chosen focusing range. Your advance payment covers this cost.
Multifocal IOLs are designed to eliminate or reduce your dependence on glasses after cataract surgery compared to standard IOLs. In contrast to standard IOLs, multifocal IOLs eliminate or reduce your dependence on reading glasses. They are designed to provide both distance (far away) and near (close up) focus.
Multifocal IOLs work differently from bifocal eyeglasses. With bifocals, you look through the top part of the lens for distance and the bottom part for near vision. A multifocal IOL has concentric rings that help your brain select the right focus automatically. Like wearing bifocals, this can take time. Your vision without glasses usually improves gradually over the first year.
The rings of multifocal IOLs can create halos – a glow around lights at night. This depends partly on the size of your pupils, the area where light enters your eye. The amount of light affects halo size. With time, your brain generally gradually adapts, and most people with multifocal IOLs feel this effect is minor.
Does insurance cover the upgrade to a multifocal IOL?
No. Health insurance (including Medicare) covers cataract surgery with standard IOLs when your cataracts are advanced enough that surgery is considered medically necessary.
Multifocal IOLs offer the added convenience of reduced dependence on glasses after surgery. Insurance companies don’t consider this benefit a medical necessity, so they do not cover the upgrade to a premium IOL. They do cover the cost of surgery if cataract removal is medically necessary.
If you choose a multifocal implant, we request that you pay for your premium IOL in advance. This is because the implant must be ordered before surgery in your specific focusing power. Your advance payment covers this cost.
The Right Lens for You
Because your eyes are so important for everything you do, selecting an IOL is a very personal decision. At Mt. Pleasant Eye Surgeons, we will spend the needed time with you to help you consider all your options.