Lens Replacement Surgery: Which Intraocular Lens Is Right For Me?


If you’re looking into lens replacement surgery as a way of gaining independence from your glasses, you’ve probably heard of multifocal intraocular lenses (IOLs). But are they all they’re cracked up to be? This post looks at the various forms of intraocular lens available to you.

Who has this procedure?

Lens replacement surgery (also called clear lensectomy) is a popular alternative to LASIK for people who are over 50 and who wish to reduce their dependence on glasses.

It is a similar procedure to cataract surgery, apart from the fact that your lens is clear (not cloudy, as it is when you have a cataract). The contents of your natural crystalline lens are removed and replaced with an artificial lens, called an intraocular lens (or IOL). This means you can’t ever get a cataract in the future.

This vision correction procedure is popular with those who have had enough of being dependent on reading glasses or multifocals, particularly if their distance vision has also started to deteriorate during middle age. It doesn’t guarantee to rid you of your glasses completely, but usually means you are far less dependent on them for day-to-day tasks such as outdoor activities, meetings, seeing your phone, reading menus and price tags, etc. The various options are discussed below:


1. The Monofocal IOL

These are intraocular lenses which allow clear focus at one particular distance. Over 90% of patients having lens replacement surgery (or cataract surgery) in Australia today get this kind of IOL. These IOLs are very sophisticated in design and provide a very clear focus.

i) Distance Only

If there is any concern with your ocular health, such as early signs of macular degeneration, this is the best option. Both eyes are focused for distance to provide the best possible distance vision.

ii) Monovision (or blended vision)

If the goal is to maximise independence from reading glasses, many people have their dominant eye clearly focused for distance and the other eye focused for intermediate vision. (This may sound a little odd, but the two eyes are rarely the same, even in people who don’t wear glasses for distance). During your initial consultation prior to surgery, your surgeon will investigate if this will suit you.

2. The Trifocal or Multifocal IOL

These IOLs have been around in their current form for nearly a decade now and are becoming increasingly popular with people who seek the maximum independence from their glasses. They provide a focus at distance, intermediate and near in each eye. Sounds too good to be true? The fact is, it’s pretty good if you’re the right candidate (and if you’re not, can make you very unhappy). Good candidates for trifocal IOLs have healthy eyes, no dry eye disease and are comfortable with a compromise. And that compromise is in the quality and crispness of the vision, particularly in low-light conditions, such as driving at night. Everyone who gets a trifocal IOL will get some haloes or rings around lights at night. It becomes less noticeable over time (for up to a year after surgery) but it never fully goes away. For some people, whose goal is to be able to see as much as possible without glasses, this is a sacrifice they are willing to make. Other people who value the precision of their vision above complete spectacle independence are better off steering clear of these lenses. This is an important discussion your surgeon will have with you during your initial consultation.

3. The Toric IOL

These correct astigmatism, allowing a better result in terms of spectacle independence. Designs of toric lenses have improved dramatically over the past decade. The other thing that has improved is the technology used to place them inside your eye in precisely the right location to correct your vision. They are also available in multifocal and trifocal IOLs.

4. The Blue-Blocker IOL

These are also available across the range, in monofocal, trifocal and toric IOLs. The blue-blocker is a filter that blocks visible blue light from the end of the visible spectrum from entering your eye. Research is emerging that blue light can potentially harm the delicate tissues of the macula. It is naturally blocked by the crystalline lens of your eye, and this protection increases with age due to the natural yellowing of the lens. Once it is removed during cataract surgery, this protection is removed, so a blue-blocking filter can allow the new IOL to resume this protective role.

The best IOL for your eyes will be recommended by your surgeon, based on your unique needs and their experience with having performed the procedure for many years.

How long does it take to recover from cataract surgery?

Planning your cataract surgery and don’t want it to interfere too much with your lifestyle? You’d be surprised just how quickly you can resume certain activities after eye cataract surgery but other pursuits are best left off the agenda for a few weeks. Read on for an overview of recovery from this procedure.

The big day

You can put a big X on your calendar for the day of your procedure (or one for each operation if you’re having both eyes done). Nothing else should be planned for these days – other than a little TV that afternoon or evening. There are certain things you can do to help your recovery, but the key thing is to allow some downtime and let your body get to work healing your eyes.  You’ll need someone to take you home after your surgery and most people have a little irritation once the numbing eye drops wear off and prefer to rest or watch a little TV. Make sure you use the provided eye drops exactly as recommended by your surgeon. The anti-inflammatory drops will help your eyes feel better almost immediately.

Continue reading “How long does it take to recover from cataract surgery?”

LASIK, SMILE or Lens replacement? Which is best?


You’ve done your research on the best laser eye surgery procedure for you – a corneal procedure such as SMILE or LASIK, or a lens replacement procedure; you’ve talked to people who’ve had it; you’ve even seen a surgeon (or two) for an initial consultation. But after all this, you’re still not sure which procedure will give you the best results. This post looks at the pros and cons of each procedure and will hopefully help you understand the main points of difference.

Continue reading “LASIK, SMILE or Lens replacement? Which is best?”

What’s cataract surgery like? Walk a mile in the shoes of a patient.


If you’ve recently been diagnosed with cataracts, you may be wondering what’s involved in surgery. This post looks at the seven stages of what actually happens – from the diagnosis and initial consultation right through to the day of surgery, the eye drops you’ll need to use as well as the recovery time.  Continue reading “What’s cataract surgery like? Walk a mile in the shoes of a patient.”

Is monovision a better option than trifocal IOLs?


If you’re considering cataract surgery, you’re probably weighing up the options available to reduce your dependence on reading glasses. Trifocal intraocular lenses (IOLs) are the latest thing but is there a less expensive option that allows you to forget about reading glasses for much of the time? Read on to learn why monovision can be a great option for cataract patients.

Continue reading “Is monovision a better option than trifocal IOLs?”

5 things that will help your recovery from cataract surgery

cataract-surgery-recovery.jpegDid you know that over 180,000 cataract operations are performed every year in Australia? That’s one every half an hour. So, if you’re recovering from surgery, you are not alone. This post addresses what you can expect in the days and weeks following your procedure and what you can do to ensure a healthy recovery.

Continue reading “5 things that will help your recovery from cataract surgery”