Intraocular lenses are an essential part of treating cataracts. While cataracts can be treated for years without surgery, they may eventually require removal. In that case, an intraocular lens will be implanted to replace your old, clouded lens. We interviewed Dr. Darin Smith to learn more about intraocular lenses and how they help your vision.
In this blog we’ll answer:
- What are intraocular lenses?
- Are there different types of intraocular lenses?
- When would I need an intraocular lens?
- How do I know if I need cataract surgery?
We’ll also explore the different causes of cataracts and why comprehensive eye exams are so important for your eye health. You can watch our interview with Dr. Smith about intraocular lenses below!
What Are Intraocular Lenses?
Dr. Darin Smith has been with us since 1998 working primarily as a comprehensive ophthalmologist. As a surgeon, he specializes in cataract surgery and LASIK surgery. According to Dr. Smith, intraocular lenses are necessary for the surgical treatment of cataracts, which cause the lens of the eye to become cloudy.
To explain the process, he says:
What we do with cataract surgery is we remove the natural cloudy lens and replace that with a clear, plastic lens implant. A lens implant is just a silicone or acrylic lens implant that goes inside the eye after cataract surgery.
Are There Different Types of Intraocular Lenses?
Lens implants come in different powers and types. The power of the lens is individualized for each patient’s needs. The type, on the other hand, is chosen by the patient. According to Dr. Smith:
There are three different types of intraocular lenses. The first one is considered a standard lens, which is usually covered by insurance. That will help for distance or up-close vision but not both. It also doesn’t help with astigmatism, which has to do with the curvature of the cornea. The second type is known as a toric lens that is for correcting astigmatism so people can get out of glasses for either distance or up-close vision, but not both. The third type is multifocal lenses, which can fix everything — distance, up-close, and treating astigmatism. The idea there is to try to get out of glasses for everything.
When Would I Need an Intraocular Lens?
By seeing your ophthalmologist on a regular basis, they will be able to more easily advise you when it’s time for an intraocular lens. As Dr. Smith explains:
Symptoms of cataracts can cause blurry vision, hazy vision, trouble driving at night, and trouble reading. So there’s a lot of different ways that cataracts can cause problems. When it’s really bad it’s pretty obvious that you might need cataract surgery. But cataracts grow very slowly over years, so it’s very common that cataracts get so bad but it’s happened so subtly that people don’t really recognize that until they’ve gotten worse. So it’s important to be seen with an annual exam for routine eye care.
Are Intraocular Lenses Covered By Insurance?
Most people will be covered by insurance or Medicare for their cataract surgery and standard lens. However, premium toric and multifocal lenses are not. This means that you will have to cover the distance in order to receive premium intraocular lenses for cataract surgery.
How Do I Know If I Need Cataract Surgery?
Like with intraocular lenses, knowing if you need cataract surgery or not depends on seeing your ophthalmologist. For Dr. Smith, this only emphasizes the need for comprehensive eye exams. As he explains:
It comes down to being seen. That’s the most important thing. Now there’s a lot of information on the internet for learning about the different kinds of implants, and you need to be careful about what you read, but it can be a decent source of help. The main thing is talking to your ophthalmologist.
To learn more about cataracts, their causes, and their treatment, click here!
What Causes Cataracts?
Intraocular lenses are used to treat cataracts, which is when the lens becomes clouded and obscured. But what causes cataracts to form in the first place?
The lens of your eye works a lot like the lens of a camera. When clear, light passes through the lens to focus on the retina, creating the images you see. However, the lens can become obstructed over time, causing your vision to become blurry.
This is due to the deterioration of proteins in the lens. Over time, these proteins begin to break down and clump together making it more difficult to see. They also cause the lens to become thicker and less flexible than it once was.
This is usually a natural result of aging, but it can also be due to:
- A medical condition
- Previous eye surgeries
- Long-term steroid use
The best way to be diagnosed with cataracts and get treatment is with regular comprehensive eye exams.
Click here to learn more about the surprising causes of cataracts!
Comprehensive Eye Exams
With comprehensive eye exams, your ophthalmologist is able to view the inner structures of your eyes with much greater detail. Not only does this help them to update your prescription, but they can also diagnose major eye diseases as well. This helps them put you on a treatment plan to protect your eye health and retain your sight for years to come.
Do you need a comprehensive eye exam? Contact us today to schedule your appointment!
Intraocular lenses are designed to replace your natural eye lens that has been damaged by cataracts. They come in three different types — standard, toric, and multifocal. They become necessary when cataracts have affected your vision to the point that no other treatment will help. Your ophthalmologist will be able to advise you when you are ready for cataract surgery and an intraocular lens.