What is a Lifestyle Lens?
Intraocular replacement lenses (IOLs) are tiny, clear lenses that replace the clouded lens and restore focus after cataract surgery. There are various types of IOLs, each designed to address a different vision need. Standard monofocal IOLs allow the eye to focus clearly at one distance (usually far) after cataract surgery, requiring glasses for clear vision at whichever distance the new lens does not correct for. Many people are very happy with this standard lens, but others prefer more advanced lens options such as astigmatism-correcting (toric) IOLs and presbyopia-correcting (accommodating and multifocal) IOLs. The advanced lenses are often called lifestyle lenses, because they offer a more functional range of vision and are designed to reduce the need for glasses.
When cataracts begin to affect your daily activities, Dr. Hollingshead or Dr. Barrett will evaluate your vision and determine which IOL is the best choice for your lifestyle.
Read below and watch the videos to learn more about your IOL options.
Astigmatism-Correcting Lifestyle Lenses
Do you wear glasses to correct astigmatism? Now you may have another option.
Sometimes, the surface of the cornea is curved more like the surface of a football, with both flat and steep curves. This uneven curvature (astigmatism) distorts vision because light rays are not focused to a single spot on the retina. An implantable astigmatism-correcting toric lens makes it possible to treat the cataract and corneal astigmatism at the same time. The toric IOL is implanted during cataract surgery to provide quality distance vision independent of glasses and contact lenses.
Some toric lenses also feature UV and blue light filtering technology that protects the retina. Ask your eye doctor for more information about your astigmatism-correcting toric lens options.
Presbyopia-Correcting Lifestyle Lenses
Are you looking to enjoy a full range of vision, while reducing or eliminating the need for glasses?
As we age, the eye's lens naturally begins to harden and become less flexible, preventing the lens from changing shape to focus on close-up images. This is called presbyopia. There are several kinds of presbyopia-correcting IOLs—accommodating and multifocal—which may be implanted during cataract surgery to restore your ability to focus on near objects. The result is clearer vision at all distances without the aid of glasses and contacts.
Accommodating lenses have flexible "haptic" supporting legs, which hold the IOL in place inside the eye and allow the accommodating IOL to adjust just like a healthy natural lens would when looking at near objects. This increases the eye's focusing power, providing better near vision than a standard monofocal lens, without dependence on glasses.
Multifocal lenses, according to studies, have been shown to offer an even greater level of magnification for near objects than the accommodating lens. The multifocal IOL contains added magnification in different parts of the lens, which distributes light to different distances. This is what allows the eye to focus clearly without glasses at all distances.
Does Medicare pay for lifestyle lenses?
Medicare permits cataract patients to select either a standard monofocal lens or an advanced lifestyle lens (toric, accommodating, or multifocal).
This Medicare regulation allows patients to pay privately for the portion of the charges for the implantation of a lifestyle lens and related technical services that exceeds the benefit for a standard replacement lens.