Over the past six decades, the only choice for a cataract surgery lens implant was a standard monofocal intraocular lens. While these lenses still offer good functional distance vision, reading glasses are almost always necessary for near vision. If you would like to free yourself of eyeglasses or contacts, or if you have astigmatism, premium IOLs are an ideal solution.
To learn more about all of your IOL options, please contact either of Kirk Eye Center’s two locations. To reach our facility in River Forest, call 708-771-3334. For our Gurnee office, please call 847-249-4660. You can also simply complete the form on this page. We proudly serve patients from Cicero and other Chicago communities.
Once you have cataract surgery, you can’t change your mind and upgrade to a premium IOL later. That’s why it is so important to make the right choice the first time. Our doctors will help you make the right decision for your needs, budget and lifestyle. To help you prepare for your initial consultation with our experienced ophthalmologist, we have provided important IOL information on this page:
- What are premium IOLs?
- How does an IOL work?
- Different types of IOLs
- TECNIS Multifocal IOLs
- TECNIS Symfony IOLs
- ReSTOR IOLs
- Crystalens IOLs
- Which IOL is right for me?
- Premium lens cost
- Contact Kirk Eye Center today to discuss your premium IOL options
An intraocular lens (IOL) is an artificial lens that is placed during surgery to replace the natural lens of your eye. In the past, IOLs were primarily used in cataract surgery to improve vision. However, modern IOLs utilize recent advancements in medical technology to correct a more comprehensive array of vision problems.
Historically, monofocal IOLs were patients’ only options. They only allowed people to see clearly at a particular distance. You were able to see objects at a distance, but if you wanted to read or work on something closely, you still needed glasses.
A premium IOL is significantly more advanced. They provide a crisp field of vision at varying distances without the necessity of glasses or contacts.
Compared to conventional IOLs, premium intraocular lenses provide a number of advantages such as:
- Improved vision range
- Improved vision in different lighting conditions
- The ability to easily and comfortably read
IOLs work like the natural lens of your eye. They focus on the light entering your eyes through the corneas and pupils onto the retinas. The majority of IOLs are made of highly flexible materials and they are about a third of a dime’s size. Like prescription glasses, IOLs have specific prescriptions that give you the best possible vision.
IOLs are most commonly used in cataract surgeries, significantly improving refractive disorders such as severe hyperopia, presbyopia and astigmatism in the process.
Traditionally, the majority of IOLs were monofocal, meaning they were only designed to correct vision at a single distance, far, intermediate or near. This meant that following cataract surgery, most patients still needed glasses to see clearly at all distances.
While monofocal lenses are still a good option if you can’t afford a premium IOL or don’t mind wearing reading glasses, modern advances in lens technology have made it possible to see clearly at a wide range of distances without the need for glasses or contacts.
There are a variety of premium intraocular lenses which can drastically improve the quality of your vision compared with traditional monofocal IOLs, including:
- Toric IOLs: Although Toric IOLs are monofocal, they are considered premium because they can also correct for astigmatism. Until recently, if you had astigmatism and underwent cataract surgery, you had no IOL options that could address your astigmatism. Toric IOLs are monofocal lenses that are convex on both sides. This double-convex design allows them to correct astigmatism, nearsightedness or farsightedness as well as eliminating the cloudy vision caused by cataracts.
- Multifocal IOLs: Premium multifocal IOLs expand your range of vision by providing magnification in various areas of the lens. By diffracting light through multiple focal zones, multifocal IOLs allow you to see clearly at a variety of distances without needing glasses or contacts.
- Accommodating IOLs: Accommodation is the process by which your eyes focus themselves, utilizing small muscles to alter the shape of your lenses to change their optical abilities. Accommodating IOLs use the same muscles to mimic this effect and allow you to focus on different distances.
The TECNIS Multifocal IOL is approved by the FDA to improve functional vision in all light situations, including low-light, such as night driving. While traditional lens implants can replace the cloudy natural lens of your eye during cataract surgery, they may not restore your functional vision.
If you are diagnosed with cataracts and are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you may be a candidate for the TECNIS Multifocal lens:
- Need bifocals
- Changing eyeglass prescriptions
- Difficulty seeing to drive, particularly at night
- Difficulty seeing close objects
- Difficulty reading
The TECNIS Symfony IOL is a premium intraocular lens that is approved to correct both the farsightedness of presbyopia and the blurry vision of cataracts. By using a combination of achromatic technology and a unique diffractive pattern, TECNIS Symfony IOLs provide a wide-range field of vision while maintaining contrast.
Some benefits of TECNIS Symfony IOLs include:
- Clear, continuous vision for patients with or without astigmatism
- Minimal recovery time; many patients can return to normal activities within 24 hours
- Very few reports of lens-related negative effects
- Majority of patients no longer require glasses for distance and many no longer need glasses for close-up vision
- No halos or glare on lens
- No compromise in distance vision compared to Monofocal lenses
- A continuous range of high-quality vision for near, intermediate and far distances
ReSTOR lenses are the only IOLs with a patented process that allows for apodization, the gradual blending of diffractive step heights. Each side of ReSTOR lenses have a convex surface and an arm which secures the lens within your eye. The ReSTOR lens scatters the light that enters your eye and sends it to different focal points on the retina.
ReSTOR lenses can be used for cataract patients with or without presbyopia, a condition that occurs when the lens of your eye loses its ability to change shape.
Studies show that 80 percent of patients who received ReSTOR IOLs in both eyes reported that they no longer needed glasses following surgery.
Crystalens® is an accommodative IOL. When the natural lens of the eye is removed, accommodative ability is removed with it. Accommodative ability refers to your eye’s ability to automatically change focus when adjusting to different distances. For example, if you are reading these words on a computer screen and then look out the window.
Accommodative ability is accomplished by tiny muscles on the lens contracting and relaxing to change the curvature of the lens, making it flatter for distant vision and more convex for close vision.
Crystalens is controlled by the same eye muscles that controlled your natural lens before surgery. It does not change its curvature like a natural lens, but it does mimic those effects. The Crystalens IOL moves slightly forward and back as the eye muscles contract and relax, offering clear vision at different distances.
With so many IOL options, it can be confusing when trying to choose the best artificial lens for your specific needs, budget and lifestyle. Unlike glasses, you can’t simply try on an IOL and see which one you like best. Our experienced ophthalmologists will take the time to carefully examine the state of your ocular health, listen to your goals, answer your questions and carefully explain all of your options. Our goal is to help guide you toward an IOL choice that will meet your needs and provide you with clear vision for years to come.
Choosing an intraocular lens depends on a variety of personal factors, such as:
- Which distances are most important for you to be able to see more clearly without glasses: far (driving), intermediate (computer screen) or near (reading)?
- Are you able to afford the additional cost of a lens that offers more capabilities than the monofocal lens paid for by your insurer?
- What activities do you engage in throughout the day and which ones would you like to do without glasses, if possible?
- In addition to cataracts, what other eye conditions do you have, such as eye disease, presbyopia or astigmatism?
Fortunately, you don’t have to make this important decision alone. The knowledgeable eye doctors at Kirk Eye Center will help you every step of the way.
There are a variety of premium IOL options, and prices vary from lens to lens and patient to patient, depending on your unique needs. During your consultation, you will be provided with an estimate on what you can expect to pay based on the lens and procedure you choose.
Although insurance will usually cover the cost of cataract surgery itself, premium lenses are not covered because they are not considered a medical necessity. Any upgrade to a premium lens or advanced laser cataract surgery is the responsibility of the patient. The staff at Kirk Eye Center will review all billing information and financing options with you prior to your surgery.
No amount of independent research can replace the value of a medical evaluation and personal consultation with our experienced cataract surgeons. To begin your journey toward crisp, clear vision, please contact Kirk Eye Center today to schedule your IOL consultation. To schedule a visit to our River Forest location, please call 708-771-3334. To contact our Gurnee office, call 847-249-4660. We happily serve patients from throughout Chicago, including Cicero.