A cataract is a clouding, or haziness, of the lens of the eye. In cataract surgery, a doctor replaces the cloudy lens with an artificial lens called an “intraocular lens” or “IOL” for short.
How does an IOL work?
An IOL is the lens implant (artificial lens) placed in the eye after a cataract is removed. It replaces the focusing power of your eye’s natural lens. Today’s technology means that IOLs can give you better vision than before cataract surgery. Advanced or “premium” IOLs offer additional features which are not available in standard IOLs, but these lenses are not appropriate for everyone.
What is a standard or single-focus IOL?
Standard IOLs are also called “single focus” IOLs because they are designed to focus well at a single distance – either close up (near vision) or far away (distance vision).
If you choose an IOL for near vision, you will need glasses to drive or see objects at a distance. If you choose a distance-vision IOL, you will need glasses for reading and other close-up activities. Some people get a near-vision IOL in one eye and a distance IOL in the other.
Health insurance (including Medicare) will pay for cataract surgery and standard IOLs when your cataracts are advanced enough for surgery to be medically necessary. Learn more about when to have cataract surgery.
Are there other types of IOLs?
Yes. Multifocal and accommodating IOLs are called “premium IOLs” because they offer the possibility of seeing close up and far away without glasses. However, they do not work for everyone. Your doctor can tell you if you are a good candidate for a premium IOL.
Toric IOLs are a type of IOL that corrects astigmatism and are also considered premium IOLs. A standard IOL does not correct astigmatism. If you only have astigmatism in one eye, you can get a toric lens for just that eye.
Does Oregon Eye Specialists offer premium IOLs?
Oregon Eye Specialists offers the latest multifocal lens options, including the Alcon AcrySof ReSTOR IQ® premium lens implant and the latest Abbott TECNIS® multifocal lens.
The Crystalens® from Bausch & Lomb is the only accommodating IOL approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Oregon Eye Specialists offers the Crystalens AO, the latest generation of this premium lens.
For people with astigmatism, Oregon Eye Specialists offers the Alcon AcrySof Toric lens implant.
Does insurance cover premium IOLs?
Insurance (including Medicare) does not cover the pre-operative testing and additional care which are necessary for premium IOLs. Insurance companies don’t consider this medically necessary, so they do not cover the upgrade. Insurance does cover cataract surgery with standard IOLs when the surgery is medically necessary.
If you choose a premium IOL, payment of the additional charges needs to be made prior to surgery. Ask our office staff any questions you have about insurance and payments.
I want to see without glasses. Is a premium IOL the right choice?
Choosing an IOL is a very personal decision. The doctors at Oregon Eye Specialists can tell you if you are a candidate for a premium IOL and answer any other questions about cataract surgery and vision care. Make an appointment at Oregon Eye Specialists.