Intraocular Lenses (IOLs)

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Eye specialists at UT Southwestern Medical Center are dedicated to helping patients achieve their best eye health and vision. Among the many treatments we offer are intraocular lenses – implanted artificial lenses – to improve vision for activities such as sports, reading, sewing, and driving.

What Are Intraocular Lenses (IOLs)

Intraocular lenses (IOLs) are permanent, artificial lenses that can replace the eye’s natural lens to restore both near and distant vision. The most common use for IOLs is in cataract surgery, to replace the diseased lens.

Advanced Options for Intraocular Lenses (IOLs)

The Department of Ophthalmology at UT Southwestern is one of the most accomplished and comprehensive vision care facilities in the world. Our nationally recognized physicians combine state-of-the-art technologies with the highest possible standards in medicine to provide the best possible outcomes for our patients.

Conditions We Treat with IOLs

At UT Southwestern, we use IOLs to replace the natural lens in people with:

  • Cataracts – a condition in which a diseased or cloudy lens causes reduced vision
  • Certain cases of presbyopia, which is age-related farsightedness (blurred near vision that typically develops in people around age 45), causing the need for reading glasses
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Options for IOLs

Our eye surgeons offer expert diagnosis and treatment in all areas of eye care. We work closely with patients who have cataracts or presbyopia to determine the best type of IOL for their specific needs.

The types of IOLs include:

  • Monofocal: This lens has one focusing distance, providing either near, medium, or distance vision.
  • Trifocal or multifocal: These lenses have multiple focusing distances in different areas of the lens, capable of bringing into focus objects that are at a far, medium, or close distance from the patient’s eye. Trifocal lenses, which can focus at all distances, are the most advanced version of these lenses.
  • Extended depth of focus (EDOF) or extended range of vision: These lenses have the potential to give patients distance, medium, and even some near vision. They may have specific advantages over trifocal lenses in certain patients, such as people who have had LASIK.
  • Toric: This lens has different focusing powers in different areas of the lens to correct astigmatism (irregularly shaped cornea). Most monofocal, multifocal, trifocal, and EDOF lenses come in toric versions.
  • Light adjustable: A light adjustable lens (LAL) can be adjusted after placement, providing patients with customized vision correction options. It's composed of a specialized silicone material that reacts to ultraviolet (UV) light. Following placement, a noninvasive procedure involving precise UV light application allows for postoperative adjustments to the lens power. This capability enables finetuning of the patient's vision, addressing any residual refractive errors or optimizing visual acuity.

At UT Southwestern, we offer various types of IOLs, such as the AcrySof PanOptix® and Vivity® family of trifocal and EDOF IOLs. Clinical studies of these lenses have shown that:

  • They can provide good near, medium, and distance vision without the need for eyeglasses or contact lenses.
  • The FDA trial for the PanOptix® lens resulted in more than 99% of the patients studied saying they would have the lens implanted again.
  • Results for the newer Vivity® lens show a similar degree of patient satisfaction.

We also implant Johnson & Johnson TECHNIS® multifocal lenses, including the Symfony® lens, which offers both multifocality and enhanced depth of focus.

Because we offer the full line of premium lenses, we’re able to select the type of lens that is best suited to each patient’s eye and visual needs.

Only monofocal lenses are fully covered by insurance. Any upgrade is an out-of-pocket expense, which varies depending on the lens selected.

Options for Surgical Techniques

Our eye surgeons also have access to the most advanced laser and measurement systems to assist them in treating our patients’ eyes and performing cataract surgery.

These systems include:

  • LenSX®: A laser system that makes the entire cataract surgery blade-free
  • ORA®: A measurement system that reads the patient’s eye in real time during the surgery to help select the best lens for the patient
  • Verion®: A guidance system that gives the surgeon a personalized view of the patient’s eye during the surgery to help guide the surgery and precise placement of the lens implant

Our surgeons have the option of including all these technologies at no extra cost (beyond the cost of the lens) when combined with a trifocal, multifocal, or EDOF lens implant. Patients can also choose to use these systems for an upgrade for the other lens implants. We will discuss when these systems might be of benefit and when, rarely, they cannot be used.

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