Gimbel Eye Centre
Calgary For Doctors

Intraocular Lenses (IOLs)

At Gimbel Eye Centre, our “Lifestyle Lens” options can accommodate the vision needs and preferences for a wide variety of patients. With standard, monofocal toric, multifocal, or multifocal toric lenses, intraocular lens implant options available for cataract surgery or for refractive lens exchange can be excellent ways to improve your overall quality of vision.

What Are Intraocular Lenses?

Intraocular lenses, commonly referred to as IOLs, are special lenses that are implanted after cataract surgery or as part of a refractive lens exchange (RLE) procedure to improve vision. Since the eye’s natural lens is replaced by the IOL when the cataract is removed, there is no possibility of developing a cataract in the same eye again in the future. Some lenses may provide multiple focusing distances (near and far), similar to what multifocal glasses may have provided before surgery. Some lenses can correct both astigmatism and presbyopia; many are special-ordered for your personal prescription.

When undergoing cataract surgery or refractive lens exchange, you have options when it comes to intraocular lenses (IOL). Below are the different types of IOLs that can be implanted during your surgery. Patients may be advised by our experienced eye surgeon to choose the standard IOL or an option from our selection of “Lifestyle Lenses,” whichever can ultimately provide the best outcome for each individual’s unique needs and goals. To learn more, please contact us today for additional information, or to schedule a consultation with one of our eye doctors.

Monofocal IOLs – Standard Lens

In many cataract surgery procedures, the eye’s natural lens is replaced with a monofocal IOL. This is a “standard” lens that contains a single focus. It can be very effective for correction of vision impairment resulting from the cataract. A monofocal IOL can only target one distance (near or far), and cannot accommodate for multiple distances.

Monofocal Toric IOLs – Lifestyle Lens

A monofocal toric IOL can replace the natural lens of the eye after cataract surgery and provide correction for a distance vision problem as well as astigmatism, which is a condition that causes vision impairment due to an irregular curvature of the eye.

Multifocal IOLs – Lifestyle Lens

Multifocal IOLs are often a popular choice. This option can correct focus for near, intermediate,
and far distances, allowing many individuals to virtually eliminate reliance on glasses or contacts. For the right candidate, multifocal IOLs have proven to be remarkably effective at
reducing dependence on eyewear to see clearly at several distinct distances.

Multifocal Toric IOLs – Lifestyle Lens

Multifocal Toric IOLs can also provide focus correction for numerous distances, but they have the added benefit of astigmatism correction, as well. This can be helpful for patients who have problems seeing at near, intermediate, and/or far distances in addition to suffering from refractive errors caused by an irregularly-shaped cornea.

For patients who do not suffer from any cataract formation, have healthy natural lenses, and choose to lessen dependency on glasses, we offer:

Staar Visian® Implantable Collamer Lens

We currently offer Staar Visian® lenses, one of the most popular phakic lenses available. “Phakic” means the natural lens is still in place. Phakic IOL implants are tiny lenses designed to be placed permanently within the eye to correct vision problems. They are made from a material that allows them to stay in the eye without needing any care. They are removable, if necessary, but this is rarely done. Implanting one of these special lenses offers dramatic results that are quite predictable.

The Procedure

Implanting the lens is a relatively simple outpatient procedure. In most cases, topical drops are used to anesthetize the eye, so no injection is necessary. In rare cases patients are sedated with oral or intravenous medications, but only if necessary for the patient’s comfort.

To begin, the surgeon makes a small incision in either the white part of the eye or on the edge of the cornea. The surgeon then inserts an implantable lens through the incision and carefully positions it inside the eye, in front of the eye’s natural lens. The implanted lens becomes the eye’s third lens (the cornea and the natural lens being the other two lenses). The surgery is usually completed without stitches, since the incision is designed to be self-sealing. The whole procedure takes approximately 20 minutes for each eye.

This procedure can also be used to treat astigmatism, and for some patients, other surgical procedures may be combined with lens implantation to solve astigmatic focusing problems.

How Much Do IOLs Cost?

If you are making a choice about a lifestyle lens and your provincial health plan is paying for your surgery (most likely cataract surgery), the Lifestyle Lenses are not considered “medically necessary” and are not covered by provincial insurance; therefore, they will represent an additional cost to the patient. Keep in mind that the “standard” lens will be covered if your health insurance is covering the costs of your surgery.

Some patients may be choosing a Lifestyle Lens as part of an elective vision correction procedure that is not covered under provincial health plans, in which case the cost of the lens is added to the expense of the procedure.

Because of the variety of lenses to choose from, and the special needs that each may address, they have a wide variety of costs. We will do everything we can to provide you with the information you need to make the best choice for yourself.

We Always Advocate for Patient Choice

Our job is to inform you as to your choices – the types of lenses that are available (taking into account your lifestyle and visual requirements), what their costs might be, what the advantages may be for your particular lifestyle or occupation, what some of the potential side effects may be, etc. We will work closely with you so that you feel comfortable making your decision, knowing that, whatever you choose, we want you to be happy with the results. Every individual has different needs, desires, and financial priorities. We aim to support you in making your best choice.

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