An intraocular lens, or IOL, is the artificial lens often used to replace the eye’s natural lens when it has been damaged by a cataract. With the advancement of IOLs, Emory Eye Center patients undergoing cataract surgery have many more options and the potential to see without glasses after surgery.
There are two basic types of IOLs: the monofocal lens and the multifocal lens. Monofocal lenses may provide spectacle-free vision at a single focal length, either distance, intermediate, or near, while multifocal lenses have multiple focal lengths and therefore may enable you to see near and distance without the dependence on spectacles. Patients with a significant degree of astigmatism may benefit from toric lenses, which are monofocal IOLs that help correct astigmatism.
Before you have eye surgery, your surgeon will take measurements to help determine the best lens for you. IOL insertion usually takes less than 30 minutes and can be performed while you are under local anesthesia. Recovery time generally takes two to three weeks.
If you’re having cataract surgery, you should remember that the goal of cataract surgery is not to get rid of glasses—it’s to get rid of the cataract. However, for the right patient, it can be an opportunity to reduce dependency on glasses.
The Emory Eye Center is one of the top 15 NIH-funded eye research institutions in the U.S. and is consistently ranked by U.S. News & World Report. Our researchers are continually pioneering new developments in vision care. Schedule an appointment with the Emory Eye Center, and we’ll help you see your world in a whole new light.
Do you have IOLs? Would you like to share your experience with people who are considering getting them? We welcome your questions and feedback in the comments section below.
Maria Aaron, MD, specializes in cataract surgery, eye trauma, and laser surgery and is board certified in ophthalmology. Dr. Aaron started practicing at Emory in 1999 and is associate professor of ophthalmology.