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Intraocular Lens Implants (IOLs)

There are two general classes of IOLs (Intraocular Lens Implants) now available. When cataract surgery is performed, the natural lens inside the eye is removed because it is cloudy and interferes with vision. Once this cataract is removed, a new lens implant must be placed inside the eye to restore vision.

For the last 20 years, millions of patients have received Standard or Conventional (single vision) IOLs with great success. These IOLs are typically set to provide distance vision and do not have the ability to change focus. Therefore, patients receiving these types of lenses require glasses for many functions after surgery, particularly reading.

Within the last few years, newer Deluxe IOLs have become available. These IOLs are distinguished by their ability to provide a greater range of vision for some patients. Instead of only having crisp distance vision, many of these patients demonstrate good distance and near vision. This further reduces the need for glasses or contact lenses.

As you might expect, these lenses are more expensive than the conventional IOLs. Private insurance and Medicare do not typically pay for the added cost. Recent rulings by Medicare, however, have made it possible for Medicare recipients to obtain Deluxe IOLs and pay only the additional cost out of pocket. Medicare will still cover the cost of the surgery itself as in the past. Private insurance recipients will be considered on a case by case basis depending on the policy.

Several lenses qualify as Deluxe IOLs. Two such IOLs are the CrystaLens and the Acrysof Restor Lens. Consultation with your doctor is needed to determine if you are a candidate for either of these IOLs.

The CrystaLens is one type of Deluxe intraocular lens (IOL) implanted during cataract surgery. As mentioned above, Standard (single vision) IOLs typically are set to provide distance vision and do not have the ability to provide a full range of vision. Most people who have single vision lens implants MUST wear glasses for middle and near vision. In contrast, the CrystaLens is thought to use the eye’s natural focusing muscles to change focus. This means that the CrystaLens may not only restore distance vision, but may also reduce dependence on reading glasses.

The Acrysof Restor Lens is another type of Deluxe IOL. It also has the ability to reduce dependence on glasses and contact lenses for distance and near viewing. In contrast to the change in position thought to account for the CrystaLens’ action, the Restor Lens is manufactured in such a way as to provide multiple levels of vision. It is not thought to flex or change focus within the eye.                                     

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