Lens Replacement Options for Cataracts

Cataracts, a clouding of the lenses of the eyes, is a common condition, especially among those over age 60. Their care is an important part of our services at Central Valley Eye Medical Group. And that care keeps getting better as new replacement lenses come on the market. In a blog a couple months back, we talked about how new intraocular lenses are now correcting for astigmatism, the condition where your cornea is more oblong shaped than round. This month, let’s just get into your overall choices for your IOL to replace your clouded lens.

There are many factors that can cause a patient to develop cataracts, where the lens, found behind the iris and the pupil, becomes clouded: aging, eye trauma, excessive sun exposure, disease inside the eye, family history, smoking, diabetes, and poor nutrition. No matter the underlying cause, it is important to have the team at Central Valley remove the clouded natural lenses and replace them with new implanted artificial lenses.

What are the symptoms of cataracts?

Most patients who are developing cataracts don’t really realize the increasing cloudiness caused by protein building in the lens. The changes are very gradual. Cataracts will continue to progress, without pain, but there will be other symptoms:

  • Blurred or hazy vision
  • Double vision
  • Poor vision in bright light
  • Seeing halos around lights
  • Poor night vision
  • Yellowish tinged vision
  • Need for frequent prescription changes in eyeglasses or contact lenses

Lens choices for cataract replacement

Surgery is the only way to remove a cataract. The clouded lens will be replaced with an artificial lens called an intraocular lens implant (IOL).

  • Monofocal lens implants– This was the only original replacement lens option. These lenses only offer vision at one distance — far, intermediate, or near — so the wearer will need glasses either for up close or distance vision. The focal distance can be set to the distance chosen by the patient. It may be set for both eyes to either see at a distance, such as for driving or maybe watching TV; or for near vision, such as reading and using a computer. Or, one eye can receive an IOL that provides near vision and the other eye an IOL that provides distance vision. Most people can adjust to this seemingly disjointed arrangement, as the brain adjusts and filters the incoming stimuli according to the vision needed.
  • Multifocal lens implants– These newer lenses allow the patient to see well at more than one distance, without glasses. They are considered to be “premium” lenses because of the extra benefits that are unavailable in monovision IOLs.
  • Accommodating lens implants– Accommodating implants shift with the action of the eye muscles to increase focusing ability. These lenses offer excellent vision at all distances.
  • Toric lens implants– These lenses not only replace cataract-clouded lenses, but also correct astigmatism. There are various options depending on the amount of astigmatism to be corrected. Plus, in 2013 the first accommodating toric IOL was approved by the FDA.

Is your vision starting to become cloudy? Are you noticing increasing difficulty when driving at night? Call the team at Central Valley Eye Medical Group, (800) 244-9907, and let’s check it out. No one should live with cloudy eyesight.

Posted in: Cataracts


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