Intraocular Lens (IOL)


Having a cataract can be like looking through a fog. Your world may look blurry, hazy or less colorful. During cataract surgery, your eye’s cloudy lens will be removed and replaced with a clear artificial lens called an intraocular lens or IOL.

What is an IOL?

IOLs come in different focusing powers, just like prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses. A Mercy eye specialist will measure your eye and the curve of your cornea to set your IOLs focusing power.

Most IOLs are made of silicone or acrylic. They are also coated with a special material to help protect your eyes from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays.

Monofocal IOLs

The most common replacement lens used in cataract surgery is called a monofocal IOL. It has one focusing distance. It is set to focus for up-close, medium range or distance vision. Most people have them set for distance vision, and wear eyeglasses for reading or close work.

Multifocal IOLs

A multifocal lens provides a continuous range of high-quality vision. Multifocal IOLs allow a full range of sight, from near to far and points in between. With this range of vision, the frequency of wearing glasses is reduced. Multifocal lenses also help colors appear sharper and clearer in all lighting conditions.

Talk to your ophthalmologist to learn which multifocal lens is right for you. Mercy offers a variety of lenses  including brands like ALCON®, TECNIS® , and others.

Toric IOLS help people with astigmatism, an uneven curve in the cornea or lens. The toric lens is designed to correct such refractive errors.

If you choose to upgrade to a multifocal lens, there is usually an out–of-pocket cost. Multifocal lenses which help correct Presbyopia are not fully covered by Medicare, Medicaid or most insurance companies. 

Paying for your IOLs

Talk to your ophthalmologist about options for covering out–of-pocket costs associated with IOLs. In some cases, financing help may be available. Your ophthalmologist and his team will help you understand your options.

For patients who are still in the workforce, we also accept FLEX (FSA) spending contribution payments. These plans are pre-tax benefit accounts used to pay for eligible medical, dental and vision care expenses that aren’t covered by your insurance plan or elsewhere. IOLs are an eligible healthcare expense for most employer-based FSA plans. Many patients who use Flex dollars to offset their eye care expenses experience significant savings. Contact your employer or FSA Plan administrator to learn more.

Care You Can Trust

Mercy eye specialists have helped thousands of patients experience independence with restored vision following cataract surgery. A majority of IOL recipients enjoy freedom from glasses after receiving a multifocal lens. Nine out of ten patients say they would choose a multifocal lens again.

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