When a cataract surgery is performed, there is a very slim possibility that the patient may lose some or most of their ability to see. There are several methods of restoring vision post-surgery, with IOLs or Intraocular lenses being the standard choice nowadays. IOLs are designed to replace three major functions performed by the natural human lens.
Firstly, the lens acts as a window to allow light in to the eye. The lens has to be perfectly transparent to allow incoming light to be properly focused on to the retina. Secondly, the lens also serves the function of a structural particle between the chamber of clear liquid in the front and the vitreous gel in the back. The third task of the natural lens is to provide the eye with the adequate focusing ability. It is considered that about two thirds of the eye’s total focusing power is provided by the cornea while the lens provides the other third.
If cataract surgery is performed on an eye without an IOL implant, it is referred to as ‘aphakic’. Without a natural lens or an artificial implant inside, the eye is unable to focus on any distance, making the individual functionally blind. Therefore, the missing component has to be replaced in order to bring back the patient’s vision.
There are several different ways of restoring vision after removing cataracts. While IOLs are the most popular option, there are other methods that have been used in the past and still continue to be used to this day. A special type of spectacles, called cataract glasses or aphakic spectacles have been actively used as a focus restoration method after cataract surgery. This method was the only available option before the 1970’s and widely used throughout the 80’s. Contact lenses are another method of restoring vision after a cataract surgery. These provide the advantage of providing significant optical power without magnification. They do not distort vision like cataract glasses but can only be used in one eye, after the surgery. As for intraocular lenses, they are considered to be one of the most important medical inventions. Since IOLs do not create unwanted magnification or need removal like a contact lens, they are a fantastic natural vision alternative. Once an IOL is placed in the eye, it becomes a permanent part and requires no additional care or professional handling. Patients have the option of choosing the right type of IOL to suit their needs. Nowadays, IOLs are the standard vision replacement option for any cataract surgery case.