One of the most common questions people ask when enquiring about cataract surgery is about eyeglass prescriptions post-surgery. “Will my eyeglass prescription change?” “Will I still need to wear reading glasses for up-close tasks?” If you have these same questions, this blog is for you!
Because cataract surgery involves replacing the eye’s clouded natural lens with an artificial lens known as an intraocular lens (IOL), the answer depends largely on which type of lens you choose. There are several different types of IOLs. Some are designed to correct vision at only one distance (usually far vision), some improve vision at two or more focusing distances, and more technologically advanced IOLs, extended depth of focus IOLs, can provide a full range of vision from near to far, reducing or eliminating the need for reading glasses after cataract surgery.
Let’s look at each type of IOL a little closer to understand how they correct vision and to help answer the question of glasses after cataract surgery.
Traditional or Monofocal IOL
A traditional IOL (also called a monofocal IOL) provides clear vision at a single distance. This IOL can be used for close, medium or far vision, but only one distance will be achieved. Most people who choose a monofocal IOL choose one for far vision, meaning reading glasses will still be needed after cataract surgery.
As its name implies, a multifocal IOL provides a few focal points within the same lens. However, in order to achieve this, there is a trade off in quality of vision. Distance vision may not be as clear with a multifocal IOL as with a monofocal IOL, and while near vision may be improved, most people who choose a multifocal IOL will still need to wear glasses at least some of the time.
Monofocal & Multifocal Toric IOLs
A toric IOL is designed for people with astigmatism, the refractive error caused by an irregularly shaped cornea. While a monofocal toric IOL can correct distance vision (sometimes resulting in even clearer vision than before developing cataracts) and a multifocal toric IOL can correct distance and near vision, toric IOLs are only able to correct vision at one or two distances. Patients who choose a monofocal toric IOL will likely need to rely on reading glasses or contact lenses for near and midrange vision, for example when sending a text message or working on a computer. A patient who chooses a multifocal toric IOL may still need glasses occasionally for reading.
An accommodating IOL provides clear distance vision, similar to that of a monofocal IOL, but this type of IOL flexes forward when looking at near objects. Because of this, it can provide a greater range of vision. Some people find that with this type of IOL their need for reading glasses is reduced after cataract surgery; however, they still need them to see very small print, particularly in dim light.
Extended Depth of Focus (EDOF) IOL
An extended depth of focus (EDOF) IOL is a newer technology that recently emerged. There are a few different EDOF IOLs, each utilizing very different technology to achieve the same goal – providing clear vision at all distances. One such lens, the IC-8 lens, uses small aperture technology, much like that of a camera. It takes a monofocal lens and adds a mini-ring in the center, creating a pinhole effect. This extends the natural range of vision by funneling light through the center of the ring so that only focused light rays enter the eye. With an EDOF IOL, the need for glasses after cataract surgery is greatly reduced.
The Advanced IC-8 Lens Solution
The IC-8 lens offers many advantages over traditional (monofocal) and multifocal IOLs. It is designed to provide a natural range of vision from near to far, including mid-range vision needed to read a computer screen. With the IC-8 lens, continuous and seamless vision is possible at all distances. Learn more about the IC-8 lens.
Each type of IOL offers advantages and disadvantages, and many factors may influence your suitability for a particular type. Talk with your doctor about the best option for you. If you are a candidate for the IC-8 lens, you may find that you could be liberated from the constant need for reading glasses.