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One of the most common physical side effects of aging is the development of cataracts. Cataracts are an opacification of the eye’s natural lenses. They occur when proteins lump together and block the light that focuses and projects images onto the retina.

Patients undergo cataract surgery to restore their clear vision via artificial lenses implanted by a Cataract Surgeon. The type of lenses used will depend on a person’s current eye condition and daily lifestyle.

Understanding Cataract Surgery

Currently, cataract surgery is the only solution to this vision problem. This procedure can easily be done in approximately half an hour by an eye surgeon. Traditional cataract surgery is performed with standard surgical tools and manual operation. Laser assisted surgery offers more precision. Both methods are safe and produce good visual outcomes for patients.

During the procedure, your cataract surgeon will make a small incision to remove your eye’s natural lens and implant an artificial lens called an Intraocular Lens (IOL). This lens will correct your vision. Preoperatively and in consultation with your surgeon, you will need to think over what kind of IOL you would like implanted. It is important to understand that not every IOL is suitable for every patient.

Types of Intraocular Lens (IOLs)

Intraocular lenses are artificial lenses made of synthetic materials like acrylic, silicone, or other medical grade plastic materials. They are used in cataract surgery to replace damaged natural eye lenses. They help the eye to focus on objects and to sharpen the images on the retina. Depending on the type of IOLs implanted, patients will have varying vision capabilities.

1. Monofocal Lenses

The standard IOLs are monofocals
Monofocal IOLs have one distance setting and are the most common type of lens.

Monofocal lenses are the most common intraocular lenses for cataract surgery patients. They are also the most affordable, and are covered by healthcare insurance.

These types of lenses only have one corrective zone and one focusing distance, hence the name. They are typically adjusted for clear distance vision, which is ideal for daily walking, driving, and seeing people and objects from a few meters away. However, glasses will be needed for reading, working on computers, and other near-sight activities.

2. Trifocal Lenses or “Presbyopia-Correcting Lenses”

Presbyopia-Correcting Lenses
Multifocals provide both near and far distance vision and reduces the need of wearing glasses.

For people who want near, intermediate, distance and far distance vision, trifocal or presbyopia-correcting lenses are a good option. Unlike monofocal lenses, trifocals have different corrective zones that will reduce or eliminate the need for contact lenses or glasses.

One thing to note though is that because of the special optics, trifocal lenses are only suitable for 5-10% of cataract surgery patients. It’s best to consult with an ophthalmologist who is a specialist in cataract and refractive surgery, before committing to these lenses.

3. Extended Depth-of-Field (EDOF) IOLs

EDOF IOLS, cataract surgery lenses
EDOF lenses have one elongated focal range that allows for intermediate and far focusing.

Another option for people who want a greater degree of spectacle independence are Extended Depth-of-Field IOLs. EDOF IOLs allow for intermediate vision and distance vision. The difference lies in the fact that these lenses only have one elongated focal range that produces a greater range of spectacle independence than one would achieve with monofocal IOLs.

4. Toric Lenses

toric lenses, cataract surgery lenses
Toric lenses are designed to be compatible with cataract patients that have astigmatism.

For astigmatism correction, Toric Lenses are the ones ophthalmologists will often recommend. Astigmatism occurs when your eye’s ability in focusing distance varies in different meridia. To correct this, toric lenses are designed to also have different focusing strengths that will complement your eye to balance it out for clear vision moving forward. Importantly, toric IOLs can be monofocal, EDOF or Trifocal lenses. In Australia and within the private health system, toric IOLS are very widely and commonly used.

Choosing the Right Intraocular Lenses

Finding the right IOL requires time, a conversation with your surgeon and some research. It’s best to always consult with your ophthalmologic surgeon before the cataract surgery to get a professional opinion on your lens options. At Vision Clinic Sydney, we are experts in cataract and refractive surgery. Our team of experts can assist in this decision making process.

You may also do your own reading before the consultation so that you may ask relevant questions or address any concerns that will factor into your decision.

Which IOLs fit your budget?

As previously mentioned, monofocals are the most affordable lenses. Other premium lenses like toric IOLS, trifocal IOLs and EDOFs, are more expensive, but also offer different advantages.

What type of IOLs will fit your lifestyle?

Monofocals may be the standard IOLs for patients but if they don’t fit your lifestyle and if you prefer having more postoperative spectacle independence, then premium lens options are better suited to you.

Do you have pre-existing eye conditions?

Glaucoma, macular degeneration, dry eye, cornea conditions, and other eye disorders need to be taken into consideration when choosing lenses. These conditions have specific requirements and need to be satisfied by the corresponding IOLs.

Recovery and Visual Improvement

Cataract surgery is a very common and successful outpatient surgical procedure. You will be able to go home on the same day as your operation. While recovering, you might experience the following symptoms:

These side effects will most likely subside within a few days as your eye adjusts to the new lenses. Full recovery can be expected between 4-6 weeks.

Here are a few reminders while recovering:

If you’re in need of cataract surgery, book an appointment with Dr. Kumar today.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which type of lens is best for cataract surgery?

It depends on your needs. If you’re fine with wearing glasses after cataract surgery, a monofocal lens could be suitable. However, if you aim to reduce dependence on distance glasses post-surgery, especially with astigmatism, a toric lens might be appropriate.

Do you have 20/20 vision after cataract surgery?

While a significant number of individuals will achieve 20/20 vision with their IOL, approximately 30 to 50 percent of those opting for a monofocal IOL may still need corrective lenses post-surgery. Schedule a consultation with Vision Clinic Sydney to see if you qualify for surgery, and whether a premium solution is appropriate for you.

Can you have a second cataract surgery on the same eye?

Cataract surgery is a one-time procedure per eye. Once the cataract is removed, it doesn’t grow back. However, patients might occasionally encounter blurred vision post-surgery due to a condition known as posterior capsule opacification (PCO). This is corrected by performing a minimally invasive, quick, painless in office procedure called a YAG Capsulotomy.

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Through the Lens:
A Patient's Handbook to Cataract Surgery and Visual Restoration

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