Whilst coming to terms with cataracts, presbyopia or other visual impairments can be daunting at first, there are a range of intraocular lenses available for you to discuss with your eye care professional.
As part of cataract surgery or refractive lens exchange, your natural lens or lenses which have a cataract will be replaced with an intraocular lens (IOL). Intraocular simply means ‘inside the eye’ – and like your eye’s natural lens, the IOL focuses light that comes into your eye through the cornea and pupil onto the retina.
There are different lenses available to you and it is important you spend time discussing which lens would be right for you with your eye care professional.
You may wish to ask your eye care professional about both NHS and private options to understand if you would rather be treated privately.
A monofocal IOL is an intraocular lens with a fixed focus for one distance (either near, intermediate or far distance).Generally, monofocal lenses are used to improve far vision. This means you will need additional corrective lenses such as glasses to support you with intermediate and near distance objects. Generally, this is the only lens option available to patients treated by NHS services.
Toric lenses are designed to manage astigmatism by correcting the undesirable visual distortion caused by the irregular shape of the eye. Monofocal and trifocal lenses are all available with astigmatism correction. Toric lenses may be a good option for you if you have an astigmatism and would like to be less dependent on corrective lenses such as glasses.
A trifocal intraocular lens enables the wearer to focus on near, intermediate and far distance objects. For many people who select a trifocal lens, this can mean there is no need to wear glasses to support vision at any distance.
Many find this liberating, being able to complete day-to-day tasks without relying on multiple pairs of glasses and having concerns that arise from a lack of clear vision.
PanOptix® is a trifocal IOL designed to correct presbyopia, and PanOptix® Toric is designed to correct both presbyopia and astigmatism. Read more on PanOptix®IOL
As trifocal and toric intraocular lenses manage the common eye conditions of both presbyopia and astigmatism, some people will pre-empt the fact they are highly likely to develop a cataract and choose to undergo lens replacement surgery before a cataract fully develops. This is called clear lens exchange or refractive lens exchange.