Can I Avoid Bifocal Eyeglasses After Cataract Surgery?

Reviewed by: Jason Jacobs, M.D. and Leslie Doctor, M.D.

Question: My eyes are bothering me enough that I finally told my eye surgeon that I was ready to have Cataract Surgery. At my examination he had me meet with a woman in his office to talk about the kind of lens implant I wanted to have. She said that because I wear bifocal glasses I should have a “premium” lens so I don’t have to wear bifocals after my Cataract operation. I don’t know what this is and she wasn’t very helpful. Can you give me any information about this?

Answer: For many years the choice of the type of intraocular lens implant (IOL) to use in Cataract Surgery was left entirely to the Cataract Surgeon. This was because until 2005 there was really was only a “technical” choice to be made regarding the “style” and power of lens implant. Today, there are a number of types of lens implants used for vision correction after Cataract Surgery that can help patients become much less dependent and sometimes completely free of the need for eyeglasses after Cataract Surgery. Selecting the best type of lens implant for each patient really depends on his or her individual vision correction goals and lifestyle. If there are tasks in your daily routine that you would not like to have to wear eyeglasses for, it is possible to select a lens implant that might correct your vision in way that helps you achieve that. For example, let’s say it’s important for you to be able to go to church and read the Bible and see the minister, and go back and forth without having to wear to remove glasses. This can possibly be accomplished by implanting an intraocular lens that corrects both far and near vision-this type of lens can be a multifocal lens implant or an accommodating lens implant. This type of lens can help you comfortably see the dashboard on your car and street signs without eyeglasses after Cataract Surgery. Maybe you want to be able to watch television and read the newspaper-without relying on eyeglasses. Again this might be possible with a multifocal lens implant or an accommodating lens implant. These types of intraocular lens implants (IOL) that correct both distance and near vision-and sometimes arms length vision too-are called “premium lenses” because most insurance companies and Medicare only pay for the implantation of a “basic lens implant”-one the only corrects distance vision-and ask the Cataract Surgeon or the Cataract Surgery center to bill the incremental cost of these IOLs directly to the patient. If this is something that might be meaningful to you, you should ask your eye doctor’s staff member or your eye surgeon to fully explain all of the risks, benefits and costs of advanced technology premium lenses and answer all of your questions. If they are unwilling or unable to do so, then seek a second opinion with a Cataract Surgeon who will do so.

The information that has been provided here is intended to give patients a basic understanding of near vision correcting lens implants and vision correction after Cataract Surgery. It is possible that your individual experience might be different. None of the information provided here is meant to be a substitute for or replace your eye doctor's consultation nor does it replace the need for you to consult with your Cataract Surgeon about specific details of Cataract Surgery and Intraocular Lens (IOL) Implantation.

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