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How Do I Choose an Intraocular Lens Before Cataract Surgery?

If you have cataracts, cataract surgery is the best way to treat them effectively. The surgery removes cataracts by removing the lens in your eye where they’ve formed.

After your cataract surgery removes your natural lens, they will replace them with an artificial lens. This artificial lens is called an intraocular lens, or IOL.

There are several different kinds of IOLs to choose from. Keep reading to learn more about choosing an intraocular lens before cataract surgery!

Standard vs Premium 

The first decision you need to make when picking out an IOL is whether to get a standard lens or a premium one. Insurance usually covers standard IOLs, along with the price of surgery.

Premium lenses tend to cost a little more but can provide a better visual outcome can may even eliminate the need for reading glasses. Standard IOLs are monofocal IOL.

This means they’re a uniform lens designed to see at one focal point, so you will likely need to wear glasses for certain activities. Premium lenses come in more varieties that can help you see better at several distances.

Premium Options

Most cataract surgery patients have presbyopia, which is the decreased ability to focus up close. Premium IOLs are usually designed to correct presbyopia by helping your eyes focus at different distances.


The multifocal lenses are composed of alternating rings that switch between two refractive powers. Your eye learns to look through the right part of the lens depending on what distance you’re looking.

A multifocal IOL gives you very good near vision and decent vision at most distances. 


The trifocal lens is like the multifocal but switches between three refractive powers: one for near vision, one for distance vision, and one for intermediate vision. This IOL allows you to see very well at a middle distance and up close with improved distance vision as well.


This IOL changes shape, thickening to help you focus on nearby objects. The Crystalens mimics how your natural lens works. 

The Crystalens offers good vision at most distances and may lower dependence on reading glasses, although not to the same degree as some other premium lenses.


The Vivity IOL is like a multifocal lens, but the transition between sections is smooth, meaning light doesn’t split across the surface. Instead, it bends, making this lens non-diffractive.

Non-diffractive technology allows for clear vision at most distances with less risk for visual aberrations.

Toric Multifocal

A toric lens is an IOL that corrects a small degree of astigmatism. Your eye doctor will tell you if you have a significant enough amount of astigmatism to warrant needing a toric IOL. 

Finding the Right Option for You

At Chicago Cornea Consultants, there are many IOL options to choose from, but you can narrow down your selection by talking to your eye doctor about your needs. First, you should decide whether you want to pay a little more to get the most out of your cataract surgery with a premium lens.

If you want a premium lens, you should consider each option and think about your personal needs. For example, if you work on a computer, you want good intermediate vision as that’s the safest distance to sit from the screen. 

The best IOLs for good middle distance are monofocals, trifocals, and the Vivity lens. When choosing a premium IOL, it’s hard to make a poor choice. 

Just listen to your doctor’s recommendations while considering your own needs. You’re virtually guaranteed to find an IOL that you’ll love!

Do you want to learn which IOL may best fit your vision goals? Schedule a cataract evaluation at Chicago Cornea Consultants in Highland Park, IL, today!

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