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What are Intraocular Lens (IOL) Implants?

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Your Hoffman Estates Eye Doctor Explains

When the lens of your eye is damaged and clouded by cataracts, light cannot pass through it properly. Your vision therefore suffers, and to see clearly again you will need an artificial lens. Cataract surgery must be performed to remove the natural lens and replace it with this artificial transparent intraocular lens (IOL). Various types of IOLs are available, such as toric and multifocal. If you require cataract surgery, our Hoffman Estates eye doctor will discuss the most suitable type of lens for your vision condition.

Intraocular lenses are made from acrylic or silicone. Also, they are coated with a protective material that blocks the sun’s harmful UV rays from reaching your eyes. IOLs come in a range of focusing powers, in the same way that eyeglasses and contact lenses need a vision prescription. Your optometrist will measure the curve of your cornea and length of your eye to determine the appropriate IOL.

We believe that it is important for every patient facing cataract surgery to understand their options. Here’s a basic explanation of different intraocular lenses and how they work.

Monofocal IOLs

Most people with monofocal IOLs will also need to wear eyeglasses. That’s because it is designed to target either near or distant vision, but not both. Therefore, you can choose distance vision IOLs along with eyeglasses to help you see up-close, or the opposite - IOLs with sharp near vision with a pair of glasses for distance vision.


This system uses an IOL in one eye for near vision and a different IOL in the second eye for distance vision. Many of our Hoffman Estates patients who try this system adapt to it readily, yet it is not appropriate for everyone. Using monovision requires that each eye must work somewhat independently. This may lead to problems with depth perception.

Multifocal IOLs

This type of intraocular lens offers simultaneous correction for both near and distant vision. Your brain will adjust and learn to choose the visual information it requires to form a complete image of the objects that you see. Considered a premium lens, this type of IOL can be costlier.

Accommodating IOLs

These lenses work with the implant, moving inside the eye to help you focus on a range of distances. In general, many patients experience better vision after cataract surgery with these lenses, yet they are not ideal for near vision.

Toric IOLs

This type of monofocal IOL works to correct astigmatism. Astigmatism refers to a refractive error caused by an irregular curve in your lens or cornea. A toric lens aims to correct that refractive error. As a specialty lens, it may be more expensive than a standard monofocal IOL.

We hope this guide is helpful! After you review the options, please contact our Hoffman Estates eye care clinic to schedule a consultation to determine the most appropriate IOL for your personal situation.