Font Size: Increase | Decrease

Monofocal IOL

Cataracts become more common with increasing age, especially for people with diabetes, taking steroid medications, or simply having the bad luck of developing the condition. The cloudiness of the lens in one or both eyes cannot be reversed. If and when cataracts progress to the point of interfering with ones day-to-day life, cataract surgery becomes a recommended option.

As the most common surgical procedure in the United States and possibly the world, cataract surgery is a highly developed specialty. When having surgery for cataracts, a new, synthetic lens called an intraocular lens (IOL) will be put in place of the old one. The most basic type of IOL available is the monofocal variety. As the name implies, this type of IOL is preset at one average focusing distance. And despite being basic in design, monofocal IOLs have been continually updated in countless ways as new processes are developed.

Monofocal IOLs will give good vision for the distance range chosen, based on what the person most needs. For example, the best vision for driving and other outdoor activities is one chosen by many. Or, if one does a lot of reading, writing, or finely detailed crafts, close vision monofocals will be the choice. For good vision at other ranges, one will need glasses or contact lenses. This is essentially the same situation as someone who is near or far sighted – though the cause of that is not normally in the lens itself, but in the overall shape of the eyes.

The lenses we are born with are connected to muscles that allow the lens to change shape when looking at near or far range, a process called accommodation. Some IOLs have been developed that are capable in their own way of accommodation, but for various technical and medical reasons these may not work for every patient. Eye care professionals will have their own viewpoints based on their experience, and consulting with more than one for such a major decision is not unreasonable!

Intraocular lens consist of more than just the central lens part, called the optic. They typically have two curving side pieces, called haptics, that help stabilize the lens in the eye. They come in various materials such as silicone and acrylic, have varying degrees of water content and degrees of being perfectly spherical. IOL creators have discovered that local small areas of “asphericity” can actually help balance out small distortions that occur ‘naturally’ (inevitably) in the IOL in relation to the retina, where light is perceived at the back of each eye.

There are also now IOLs that come already within a surgical ‘injector’, further reducing already low chances of accidental abrasion or contamination, as well as reducing preparation time and other aspects of the surgery. Ultimately it will be the individual patient’s specific conditions that will lead them and their doctor to a final choice. Monofocal IOLs are the type in existence for the longest time and are thus most likely to be covered in various insurance policies - one must check their policy. There are many options available to doctors and patients now for IOLs, so that both medical and financial considerations can be taken into account for the best final outcome.

Find Cataracts Doctors

Enter your zip code to find cataracts doctors near you.

Ask a Doctor

Answers to Your Medical Questions from Local Doctors

Ask a Doctor
  • It's FREE
  • It's easy
  • It's anonymous