Advantages and problems of presbyopia-correcting IOLs

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As one of the commonest ocular problems in the world, presbyopia happens to a vast majority of elderly women and men. Presbyopic individuals have a progressively diminished ability to focus on near objects. The exact reason for this condition is still unknown but many study findings suggest a loss of elasticity of the eye’s crystalline lens. Caused by natural course of aging, this condition is quite similar to gray hair and wrinkles. Before the invention reading glasses, presbyopic patients had to hold reading materials as far as possible intentionally. Modern solutions include reading glasses, and forms of multifocal glasses. Of course, all these devices do not cure presbyopia.

Single-vision intraocular lenses cure only one vision problem

It is amazing that presbyopia correction can be achieved through cataract surgery, which is a good example of “kill two birds with one stone”. As commonly known, conventional single vision intraocular lenses (IOLs) that are inserted during cataract surgery can only provide clear vision at a certain distance, so that patients still need kinds of eyeglasses or contacts to correct other vision problems. Also called presbyopia-correcting IOLs, multifocal or accommodation IOLs inserted during cataract surgery can restore a full range of clear vision without eyeglasses or additional contact lenses.

Presbyopia-correcting IOLs charge much out-of-pocket expense

Those presbyopia-correcting IOLs have received FDA approval only for several years. They have proved to be effective in reducing dependence on reading glasses after cataract surgery. However, these lenses are not covered by Medicare and most insurance plans, because FDA considers them as elective devices, or a type of luxury. The out-of-pocket cost can be up to $2,500 per eye. The reason for such high expense is that these presbyopia-correcting lenses require more skill and time for development and production.

Multifocal IOLs require more surgical skill and experience

Most surgeons are quite skilled with the operation of monovision or single-vision IOLs during a cataract surgery. However, problems still exist on presbyopia-correcting IOLs and an experienced surgeon of specific presbyopia-correcting IOLs is a critical factor for surgical success. Failed to get full independence from eyeglasses, the patient needs to receive an enhancement surgery which involves a few further steps.

Some other concerns about accommodation IOLs

These enhancements including LASIK and additional IOLs are always aimed to get the best possible uncorrected vision after the surgery. The extra fees of enhancement are not covered by Medicare as well. A possibly worse condition is that after-surgery complications may occur, such as glare, halos, infections as well as unfortunate vision loss. It is necessary for patients to make a prior consultation about these concerns.