Cataract Surgery

  • Medical Author:
    J. Bradley Randleman, MD

    Dr. Randleman received his BA degree from Columbia University in New York City. He earned his MD degree from Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, where he was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society. He completed his residency training at Emory University, serving as Chief Resident in his final year. He then completed a fellowship in Cornea/External disease and refractive surgery at Emory University.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

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Quick GuideCataracts Causes, Symptoms, Vision Tests and Surgery

Cataracts Causes, Symptoms, Vision Tests and Surgery

What are the different types of intraocular lenses implanted after cataract surgery?

As the natural lens plays a vital role in focusing light for clear vision, artificial lens implantation at the time of cataract surgery is necessary as a replacement for the natural lens to yield the best visual results. Because the implant is placed in or near the original position of the removed natural lens, vision is restored, and peripheral vision, depth perception, and image size are not affected. Artificial lenses usually remain permanently in place, require no maintenance or handling, and are neither felt by the patient nor noticed by others.

There are a variety of intraocular lens styles available for implantation, including monofocal, toric, and multifocal intraocular lenses.

  1. Monofocal lens: These lenses are the most commonly implanted lenses today. They have equal power in all regions of the lens and can provide high-quality distance vision, usually with only a light pair of spectacles. Monofocal lenses are in sharpest focus at only one distance. They do not correct pre-existing astigmatism, a result of irregular corneal shape that can distort vision at all distances. Your surgeon may correct the astigmatism at the time of cataract surgery by making one or two additional incisions in the periphery of the cornea. This does not make the surgery more dangerous. People with significant astigmatism require corrective lenses for sharpest vision at all distances. Patients who have had monofocal intraocular lenses implanted usually require reading glasses.
  2. Toric lens: Toric lenses have more power in one specific region in the lens to correct astigmatism as well as distance vision. Due to the difference in lens power in different areas, the correction of astigmatism with a toric lens requires that the lens be positioned in a very specific configuration. While toric lenses can improve distance vision and astigmatism, the patient still will require corrective lenses for all near tasks, such as reading or writing.
  3. Multifocal lens: Multifocal intraocular lenses are one of the latest advancements in lens technology. These lenses have a variety of regions with different power that allows some individuals to see at a variety of distances, including distance, intermediate, and near. While promising, multifocal lenses are not for everyone. They can cause significantly more glare than monofocal or toric lenses. Multifocal lenses cannot correct astigmatism, and some patients still require spectacles or contact lenses for clearest vision.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/7/2015

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