If you are diagnosed with cataracts, which is when your eye’s natural lens slowly becomes cloudy over time, then you may be recommended for IOL implants, also known as intraocular lenses. These are tiny, artificial lenses that replace your eye’s natural lens during cataract surgery. The purpose of IOL implants is to provide your eye with the necessary focusing power needed to restore your vision. If you’ve been recommended for these, you may be wondering about the different types of IOL implants, which is what we’ll cover below.

What Materials Are IOL Implants Made From?

While IOL implants can be manufactured using a wide variety of materials, there are certain options that are more biostable than others. The most common materials used in IOL implant manufacturing today, include silicone, hydrophobic acrylics, hydrophilic acrylics, and polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA). The IOL implant that you receive will be made from a material that specifically benefits your vision needs.

What Are The Different Types Of IOL Implants?

IOL implants are classified based on their design and function. There are four primary types of IOL implants, which include:

  1. Monofocal IOL Implants: these are the most common type of IOL implant used in cataract surgery. These IOL implants provide a single point of focus, which is set up for close, medium, or distance vision. They are normally used in individuals that need clear, distance vision, which means that prescription eyeglasses are needed for up close work or reading.
  2. Multifocal IOL Implants: these IOL implants provide you with multiple points of focus, which allows you to see both near and far clearly. This is done by giving the lens different zones of focus with different set power levels. Multifocal IOL implants are great for individuals who have difficulty switching between near and far distances, and would rather take the time to adapt their vision to both.
  3. Accommodative IOLs: an accommodative IOL implant is designed to move, flex, and change shape like your eye’s natural lens, so that you have clear vision at all distances. These types of lenses have flexible “arms” called haptics that use the eye’s muscle movements to change the focus of the eye from distant objects to near objects. As a result, these implants are ideal for people with presbyopia, a condition that causes age-related farsightedness. You’ll still need reading glasses with accommodative IOL implants.
  4. Toric IOL Implants: the toric IOL implants are designed for individuals who have astigmatism, which simply means that your cornea is football-shaped rather than round. This uneven shape makes both near and far vision blurry, and as such a specific lens type is needed to correct the refractive error.

Cataracts, Lens Replacement, and the Need for Eyeglasses

While a lot of individuals come away with no need for prescription eyeglasses after their cataract surgery and IOL lens replacement, it isn’t a guarantee. In some cases, certain types of IOL implants may still require you to wear prescription eyeglasses after surgery. An example of this is with monofocal IOL implants, as these only provide clear vision at a distance, requiring you to wear eyeglasses for up close sight. Those who get accommodative IOL implants may find that they no longer require reading glasses for up close sight, but may want prescription eyeglasses for specific activities.

Wrapping It Up

If you are recommended for cataract surgery and IOL implants, take some time to go over all the implant types with your eye doctor, so that you are well-informed on how these implants will improve your vision, and know what to expect post-surgery. The IOL implant that best suits you will be determined by taking an overall assessment of your eye health and your vision needs.