IOLs are intraocular lenses that can be used to replace the natural lens of the eye. They are most often placed in patients that have developed cataracts or age-related farsightedness, or presbyopia. Presbyopia is an eye condition that affects all adults, usually by the time men and women reach their early 40s. The weakening of the ciliary muscle, the muscle that switches between near and far vision, causes it. As the muscle weakens, it becomes more difficult for men and women to focus on near objects. In order to see these objects more clearly, patients must wear eyeglasses to see clearly when reading, looking at photos, and working on the computer.
Men and women that want to eliminate their need for eyeglasses can visit an eye doctor to lean more about their treatment options. The placement of intraocular lenses can allow patients to see clearly at all distances, without the need for visual aids. There are several types of premium IOLs that are currently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, including ReSTOR, ReZoom, Tecnis, and crystalens. ReSTOR, ReZoom, and Tecnis are multifocal IOLs that rely on the design of the lens to direct light onto the retina. Crystalens is an accommodating, monofocal IOL that relies on the natural focusing ability of the eye to shift its position in the eye.
Premium IOLs can be implanted into the eye in patients that have hyperopia and those that are undergoing cataract surgery. During the cataract surgery procedure, the clouded lens of the eye is removed. The patient can then elect to have a standard or a premium IOL implanted. Standard IOLs only offer clear vision at one distance and are typically covered by health insurance; premium IOLs produce clear vision at all distances, but patients generally have to pay the additional cost out of pocket.