Monofocal intraocular lenses (IOLs)
Also known as standard IOLs, these are the most common lenses chosen by patients undergoing conventional cataract surgery, since they are covered by Medicare. They have a single (mono) point of focus so they don’t correct astigmatism or near vision, so many of these patients will still need glasses after surgery even all of the time or part of the time.
Toric (astigmatism-correcting) IOLs
These are monofocal lenses which have built-in astigmatism correction so for those patients who are nearsighted or farsighted but who also have astigmatism, these IOLs can potentially correct the distance vision so glasses are only needed for reading. For patients who have gone their whole lives with thick and expensive astigmatism glasses, Toric IOLs can be a real life-changer.
These premium lenses were first developed about a decade ago and have the ability to correct multiple focal points, correcting both distance and near vision. This technology is always improving and current multifocal IOLs are becoming very popular for patients undergoing not only RLE but also conventional cataract surgery (Medicare covers a standard monofocal IOL so patients pay the difference out of pocket). Multifocal IOLs come in different strengths and patients can choose from among them depending on their lifestyle, occupation or hobbies. Your eye surgeon and surgical counselor can help you make an informed decision. Multifocal IOLs may affect contrast in some individuals and may not be a great choice for those whose occupation depends on clear night vision such as pilots or long-haul truck drivers.
Extended Depth of Focus (EDOF) IOLs
These are also considered premium lenses and are closely related to multifocal IOLs, the difference being that they correct a range of vision from distance towards near (computer and phones) in a more natural fashion while the multifocal IOLs correct real up-close vision (paperback books) a little better but less so with computers and electronic devices. EDOF IOLs may be a better choice for more active, outdoor-loving people.
These are less commonly used IOLs which are technically monofocal (single focus) lenses but which have slight hinges which allow them to shift back and forth a small amount, thereby changing the focal point and partially correcting near vision. The amount of near-focusing ability may vary from patient to patient. These have become less popular as the multifocal IOL technology has improved but may still have a place in certain individuals such as pilots or long-haul truck drivers.