Traditional intraocular lenses have a spherical optical design, meaning the front surface is uniformly curved from the center of the lens to its periphery. This design does not mimic the shape of the natural lens inside the eye, which varies in curvature from center to periphery. In other words, the eye’s natural lens is aspheric (“not spherical").
A spherical intraocular lens can induce minor optical imperfections called higher-order aberrations (HOAs), which can affect quality of vision, particularly in low-light conditions such as driving at night.
Premium aspheric IOLs, on the other hand, match more closely the shape and optical quality of the eye’s natural lens, and thereby can provide sharper vision — especially in low light conditions and for people with large pupils.
Toric IOLs can correct astigmatism because they have different powers in different meridians of the lens. They also have alignment markings on the peripheral part of the lens that enable the surgeon to adjust the orientation of the IOL inside the eye for optimal astigmatism correction.
In some cases — even when a toric IOL is used — limbal relaxing incisions may be needed after cataract surgery to fully correct astigmatism. But typically in such cases, the amount of astigmatism remaining after implantation of a toric IOL is far less, making a better LRI outcome more likely.
Toric IOLs decrease the likelihood of needing additional surgical procedures to reduce residual astigmatism.
Multifocal IOLs are another category of presbyopia-correcting IOLs that can decrease your need for reading glasses or computer glasses after cataract surgery.
Like multifocal contact lenses, these premium IOLs contain added magnification in different parts of the lens to expand your range of vision so you can see objects clearly at all distances without glasses or contact lenses.
Your cataract surgeon can help you decide if you are a good candidate for multifocal IOLs at your preoperative exam and consultation. Laser cataract surgery often is recommended if you are interested in multifocal IOLs, because precise alignment of these lenses is very important to give you the best visual outcome at all distances.
Conventional spherical IOLs are monofocal lenses, meaning they are designed to provide clear vision at a single focal point (usually far away for good driving vision, for example). With conventional IOLs, typically you must wear eyeglasses or contact lenses in order to use a computer, read or perform other close-up tasks within arm’s length.
Accommodating IOLs are premium intraocular lenses that expand the range of clear vision with both an aspheric design and flexible “haptics" — the supporting legs that hold the IOL in place inside the eye. These flexible legs allow the accommodating IOL to move forward slightly when you look at near objects, which increases the focusing power of the eye enough to provide better near vision than a conventional monofocal lens.
Accommodating IOLs may not provide the same level of magnification for near vision that a multifocal IOL does. But many people find these premium IOLs greatly reduce their need for reading glasses or computer glasses after cataract surgery, while providing exceptionally clear distance vision similar to that offered by a monofocal IOL.
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