Until recently, most cataract patients had their vision improved with a monofocal IOL which provides clear distance vision, but requires most patients to use bifocals or reading glasses to see near objects. Today, due to revolutionary lens technology, premium lens options are available that allows patients to see clearly at all distances without the aid of bifocals or reading glasses.
AcrySof ReSTOR uses apodized diffractive technology - a design that responds to how wide or small the eye's pupil might be - to provide near, intermediate, and distance vision. Clinical studies used to support the March 2005 FDA approval showed that 80 percent of people who received the lens didn't use glasses for any activities after their cataract surgery; 84 percent who received the lens in both eyes had distance vision of 20/25 or better, with near vision of 20/32 or better.
ReZoom is a multifocal refractive IOL that distributes light over five optical zones to provide near, intermediate, and distance vision. Its manufacturer, Advanced Medical Optics, brought the first multifocal IOL to the U.S. market in the late 1990s; the ReZoom is its second-generation multifocal and was FDA-approved in March 2005. In a European study of 215 patients, 93 percent of ReZoom recipients reported never or only occasionally needing glasses.
Since the IOLs mentioned above are all relatively new, not all cataract surgeons are trained to implant them. Several of our surgeons at Montgomery Eye Physicians have been credentialed. Ask a lot of questions. You want to be sure that the surgeon you choose has a lot of experience with the lenses and is prepared to deal with any problems that could arise with your particular vision situation and eye health status.
Statistically, cataract removal/IOL implantation has one of the highest success rates among all surgeries, but it's important to know the risks beforehand. Ask your surgeon to explain any potential problems that your new IOLs could cause. For example, some IOLs have been associated with a higher rate of posterior capsule opacification - that is, development of a membrane that is purposely left in the eye at the time of the cataract removal, which would require opening later with a YAG laser. Other issues include the incision sizes required for various IOLs, as well as the method of insertion.
You'll also need to think about cost. Cataract surgery is covered by Medicaid, Medicare, and virtually all health insurance plans. The traditional IOL implants are fully covered as well, since insurers view these implants as medically necessary. But the newer implants are not currently covered (even if the procedure itself is), because they cost more and because their special features tend to be viewed by insurers as "nice to have" but not absolutely necessary. Medicare will reimburse the surgical facility for the cost of a traditional IOL, and the patient will be responsible for the difference which is dependent upon on the surgeon and the IOL.
As more and more people choose the new IOLs, they may become fully covered by insurance some day. Check the terms of your health insurance to be sure.
When figuring cost, also take into account the eyeglasses or contact lenses that you would need if you opt for single-vision IOLs or if for some reason your multifocal IOLs don't satisfy your need for crisp vision at all distances.