Intraocular Lens implants (IOL implants) are an increasingly attractive alternative to more conventional laser eye corrective surgery. Under the hands of an experienced ophthalmologist, the procedure, also known as implantable contact lenses, involves making one very small incision in the eye into which a rolled lens of flexible material can be inserted. All this in as few as thirty minutes. Developments in lens material have eliminated the need for sutures as the lens can be implanted and then made to unfurl. Recovery time is as low as two to three weeks, and patients are advised simply to avoid strenuous activity that would increase blood pressure.
More and Better Intraocular Lens Options
Traditional IOL implants are monofocal implants, meaning they are designed to increase the optical power of a patient’s eyes for either distance or proximity. They are not accommodating, meaning they cannot eliminate the need for glasses or additional correction because they can only positively impact one area of concern. Cutting edge IOL implants are pseudoaccommodating, and there currently exist lenses that would approach a fully accommodating implant. Both of these technologies, however, are designated premium by insurers and Medicare, and as a result their market presence is limited. Toric IOL implants represent an accessible development. Not designated premium, these can be used to effectively treat astigmatism and correct for distance. Dr. Elizabeth Yeu of the American Academy of Ophthalmology has stated, however that expanding the range of correction will be crucial for the continued success of Toric IOL implants. Continued research and development of adaptive lenses, IOL implants that come close to mimicking the capabilities of the human eye, are essential and are the future of lens implant technology.
Multifocal IOL implants are the primary pseudoaccommodating lenses on the market. Bifocal and now trifocal lenses are fast becoming widespread. One significant recent innovation has made it virtually automatic to increase a lens from a bifocal to a trifocal with no additional glare or halo. Additionally, there is no longer a difference in IOL power calculation between bifocals and trifocals, and with modern dependence on an intermediate range of vision, namely, from between 50 and 70 centimeters, the optimal viewing of computer screens, trifocals at a minimum have become indispensable for the modern corrective lens.
Polyfocality is Increasingly Common
Polyfocality is emerging as a distinct possibility on the IOL market and with it, the potential to craft a truly responsive, accommodating lens. In a polyfocal or “varifocal” lens, optic power continuously changes from the center to the periphery, generating a large depth of focus. Many polyfocal lenses are appearing on the market, but only one has yet to be approved in the US (Crystalens from Bausch and Lomb). Extended depth of focus (EDOF) IOL implants are themselves emerging as a new category and some believes that these will lead to majorly disrupt the market in the coming years. To date, the Tecnis Symfony, a cutting edge EDOF lens, has been approved in Europe, but has yet to be certified in the US.
To learn more about IOL technology, schedule a screening with the experts at Vision Care Specialists. Call us at 303/991-9600 or schedule online at one of our four convenient Denver area locations.