IOLs: Standard vs. Premium Lenses


Intraocular lenses, or IOLs, are tiny lenses that replace the eye’s clouded lens during cataract surgery. Dr. Linda Vu believes in offering her cataract surgery patients a choice of lenses. She understands that every patient is unique and has diverse vision goals after cataract surgery. To accommodate a wide variety of patients, she offers both standard IOLs and premium IOLs. Here, Dr. Vu explains the differences in these categories.

Standard Intraocular Lenses

A standard intraocular lens restores clear vision and focus at a single fixed point. Most patients opt for a lens that corrects distance vision but must wear reading glasses to see objects up close (for example, when reading or using the computer).

Standard IOLs are typically covered by insurance companies, including Medicare. Patients that choose a standard IOL must be comfortable with wearing glasses to perform a number of daily activities.

Premium Intraocular Lenses

Premium intraocular lenses are available for patients that want clear vision at multiple distances without the need for reading glasses. Multifocal IOLs, like ReStor or Tecnis lenses, are designed with special rings to provide sharp focus for near, far and intermediate distances. Another type of premium IOL that provides clear vision at all distances is an accommodating IOL. Crystalens is an accommodating IOL that works with the muscles of the eye to shift slightly in the eye to change focus from near to far (similar to the way a camera autofocuses).

Some premium IOLs are also designed to correct astigmatism, which is an abnormal curvature of the cornea (the clear covering of the eye) that causes blurry vision. A healthy cornea has a spherical shape, but a cornea with astigmatism has an oval shape. Toric implants can reduce or correct this abnormality.

Premium lenses are not covered by insurance and patients must pay out-of-pocket. However, many patients believe the cost is worth it to avoid wearing reading glasses to see clearly.

Learn More about Cataract Surgery and IOLs

To learn more about cataract surgery and your choice in intraocular lenses, please contact Dr. Linda Vu and request a consultation. You can reach our office by calling (626) 382-2020.