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What is an IOL?

The human eye is complex. Similar to a camera, it focuses light on to the retina to record an image. Each portion of the eye plays an important role in your vision. The lens is a flexible tissue that allows the eye to focus and refract light so the image appears on the retina. Positioned behind the cornea and iris, the lens can change shape based on the distance of the object. The lens becomes stretched to focus on distant objects and rounded to focus on close objects.

When the lens becomes cloudy, usually from a protein buildup that occurs overtime, it develops cataracts. Cataracts impair the ability for the lens to transmit the light properly and can affect vision.

Symptoms of cataracts include:

  • Blurry or cloudy vision
  • Difficulty with light glare
  • Decrease in vision when driving at night
  • Double vision

After a cataracts diagnosis, treatment may simply involve a change in prescription eyewear. If the vision issues cannot be corrected, surgery with IOL may be necessary.

An IOL (intraocular lens) is an implanted lens used to treat cataracts. They replace the cloudy lens and function similarly to the eye’s natural lens. IOLs are made up of a flexible material and have a prescription to help your vision.

There are several different types of IOLs; they include monofocal, multifocal or accommodative, and toric. Determining the one that is right for you will depend largely on your personal preferences. IOLs dictate how you will see when you are not wearing prescription eyeglasses. Some patients may still require the use of glasses in certain situations, such as reading or other activities. The success of IOLs can be largely dependent on the individual and their eye health.


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Some patients may still require corrective surgery such as LASIK after receiving IOLs in order to achieve the best possible vision. If you have had LASIK in the past, it is important to discuss it with your surgeon in order to determine the correct IOL prescription.

If blurry or foggy vision is starting to affect your daily life, now is the time to talk to your doctor about cataracts surgery and the different IOLs available.


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