An IntraOcular Lens (IOL) is implanted in the eye after the removal of cataracts or when the human lens has degraded or has gotten dark and distorted which indicates that replacement is needed. This is a form of refractive surgery as it does change the eye's optical power or focusing ability. Cataract surgery is used to remove the human lens followed by the insertion of a small plastic lens with plastic side struts, called haptics, to hold the lens in place. The ideal placement for a standard IOL is the bag that previously held the human cataract. A cataract is much like an"Advil" tablet in size and structure. There is an outer coating, the capsular bag, then the whitish interior. The IOL is targeted to be within the capsular bag. IOLs were traditionally made of an inflexible material (PMMA), although this has largely been superseded by the use of flexible materials. There are several options regarding the selection of the appropriate IOLs for each patient. Some IOLs fitted today are fixed monofocal lenses that have one focal plane. They do not correct astigmatism and only approximate improved vision for patients having cataract surgery or refractive procedures. Patients who have standard cataract surgery find that they are more comfortable with bifocals and need them continually. Eighty percent of these patients feel they need bifocals for most activities while only ten percent feel they need them when they opt for multifocal IOL's.
Siepser Laser Eyecare also offers patients ReSTOR, REZoom which are multifocal IOLs. Multifocal IOLs work by providing multiple images for an eye to process and the eye and brain adjust to this new type of image. Additionally there is the Crystalens option, which has some accommodation recovery effect. Eyes seem to be able to use their muscles to once again focus at near.
The use of the Crystalens, allows patients to see at a distance, intermediate and near 90% of the time, much improving their performance after cataract surgery as compared to more traditional implants. ReSTOR and ReZoom help patients to see at intermediate and near and are best for reading performance as opposed to the Crystalens which gives better distance vision. The selection of a particular IOL is best done by the doctor and patient in concert, establishing the patient needs, desires and performance level they are trying to obtain.
The procedure can be done under local anesthesia with the patient awake throughout the operation. The use of a flexible IOL enables the lens to be rolled for insertion into the capsule through a very small incision, thus avoiding the need for stitches, and this procedure usually takes less than 20 minutes. The best-achieved vision is usually in about 2-3 weeks however most patients resume their normal activities the day after surgery.