Eye Health – Cataracts

Intraocular Lens (IOL)

An intraocular lens (IOL) is an artificial lens that is implanted in the eye during cataract surgery as highlighted in the previous issue of the Ipoh Echo. IOLs may be grouped simply as follows:

  • Monofocal IOLs – covered in the last issue of the Ipoh Echo
  • Astigmatism-correcting monofocal IOLs (Toric IOLs)
  • Presbyopia correcting IOLs
  • Presbyopia & Astigmatism correcting IOLs

In order to understand what a Toric IOL is, you will need to understand a condition called astigmatism.

What is this astigmatism?

Astigmatism occurs when the transparent part of the front of the eye (cornea) is irregularly shaped. The cornea needs to have a spherical and even shape in order to focus the incoming light rays exactly onto the back of the eye.

Astigmatism – 2 focal points on the back of the eye

If the cornea is irregular (astigmatism), it will distort the vision making it fuzzy because there will be more than one point of focus on the back of the eye (retina). In short, this astigmatism if present, will contribute to blurred vision.

Many people who have short sightedness as well, quite often may also have astigmatism at the same time. In these people, both will need to be corrected in order to have good vision.

What about astigmatism in those who have cataracts? Can we correct or reduce astigmatism in these patients during cataract removal?

Toric Intraocular Lens (Toric IOL)

In recent years, technology has advanced rapidly, so we now have astigmatism correcting IOLs called Toric IOLs. These Toric IOLs help in reducing to some extent, the astigmatism after cataract surgery so that distant vision becomes clear without having to depend too much on spectacles.

The Toric IOL technology was introduced into the IOL market approximately 4 years ago. Before this, should a person have any uncorrected astigmatism, he or she would have to wear spectacles or contact lenses in order to correct the astigmatism after cataract removal. But now, with the introduction of Toric IOLs, it has made correction of astigmatism during cataract surgery so much easier.

In short, should a cataract and astigmatism be present together, then just correcting the cataract alone without reducing the astigmatism will result in the vision not being completely clear. It is best that the astigmatism is corrected at the same time if the astigmatism has been detected before you undergo surgery for cataract. This can be done by implanting an appropriate Toric IOL.

The cost of these Toric IOLs is still relatively affordable for most, being only slightly more expensive than conventional Monofocal IOLs.

Dr. Gill will discuss more on various IOLs in the next issue of the Ipoh Echo.

For more information, contact Gill Eye Specialist Centre at 05-5455582, email: gilleyecentre@dr.com or visit www.fatimah.com.my.

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