Intraocular Lens FAQs | IOL St. Louis, MO | Pepose Vision Institute

Intraocular Lens FAQs

Until recently, a monofocal intraocular lens, which cannot change shape, has been the standard implant for cataract surgery. Its power is usually calculated to maximize a patient’s distance vision to see well enough to do most things without glasses. Reading glasses must still be worn to see up close up. In most cases, patients notice rapid and significant improvements in vision as a result of the IOL.

In 2005, the FDA approved the first significant innovation in IOL technology in decades, the multifocal IOL. This deluxe implant, which replaces the natural lens in the same fashion as the monofocal lens, gives reasonable “walk-around” distance and near vision, thereby lessening dependence on glasses. The FDA has several multifocal lens designs, each optimized for a slightly different vision zone. Pepose Vision Institute is the only cataract surgery practice in the region that has been certified to offer all three of these IOLs – Crystalens, Symfony, and Restor. This gives us a unique opportunity to “mix and match” the IOLs used in each of your eyes and to personalize your vision outcome for your needs and lifestyle.

Cataract surgery must be customized for each patient. Once it’s determined that your natural lens should be replaced, an extensive pre-operative evaluation is required to ensure that the optimal synthetic lens is implanted.

Like contact lenses and prescription eyewear, intraocular lenses differ in terms of refractive power. The length of your eye must be carefully measured and the curvature of the cornea evaluated. Calculation of the implant power is based on this information. Because your cornea plays a central role in determining the appropriate IOL, we strongly recommend you consult a cornea subspecialist for your cataract surgery. At Pepose Vision, our cornea subspecialty trained surgeons have the skill and experience required to ensure the very best vision result possible. This is particularly important if you have had previous cornea surgery, such as laser vision correction. In such a situation, calculating the appropriate IOL requires unique expertise to incorporate the corneal changes resulting from this earlier procedure.

There are three materials presently used for intraocular lenses: polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA), silicone, and acrylic, with other materials currently under development. Each has advantages and disadvantages. 

  • PMMA must be implanted through a larger incision than the other materials. 
  • Silicone and acrylic can each be placed through a smaller incision than PMMA. 
  • Silicone lenses are usually avoided in diabetic patients and patients with severe retinal problems. 
  • Acrylic affords a very controlled unfolding of the lens.

Today’s intraocular lenses are very safe and effective. We use the most advanced lens material available, and we tailor the choice of lens material to the needs of each patient.

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