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Intraocular Lens Options

IOL Options for Cataract Surgery

During cataract surgery, the natural, cloudy lens is removed and an artificial lens is inserted inside the eye to take its place.

Clear lenses that have not yet developed cataracts are also sometimes electively replaced with an artificial lens to reduce the need for glasses or contacts.

This procedure is called a natural lens replacement or a clear lens extraction.

Understanding Your Cataract Lens Options

Every patient will have a unique set of needs and desires surrounding their vision following the surgery, and we’re happy to offer an array of options to help each individual reach their visual goal.

Mono Vision Package

Some patients will choose the standard monofocal lens for their procedure. Insurance carriers will typically cover a standard monofocal lens.

MonoVision can be a great option for patients interested in reducing their dependence on glasses for both near and far distances.

Utilizing the standard monofocal lens, one eye will have a lens placed to correct distance vision, while the other eye will be corrected for near vision.

Vision is a function of the brain, and not everyone is able to adapt to this vision correction. We recommend trying contact lenses first to ensure your brain can function and adapt to this type of modification.

Premium Vision Packages

Some patients choose Custom Cataract Surgery or a Premium Vision Package to further enhance their vision after surgery. We have the ability to improve vision through Specialty Lens implants, surgical techniques, and post-cataract procedures. Specialty Lenses or Premium Vision Packages are elective and considered out of pocket. Discuss your desired visual outcomes with the surgeon at your Cataract Evaluation and find out what lenses and surgical procedures/techniques may benefit you.

1. Astigmatism Package

Astigmatism is incredibly common and occurs when the surface of the eye is shaped more like a football than a baseball. When the cornea is perfectly round like a baseball, the incoming light rays fall precisely on one spot at the back of the eye (the retina) resulting in clear vision. An eye with irregular curvature prevents the light rays from landing on one spot on the retina and instead spreads the light into multiple surrounding areas, causing distorted vision.

A TORIC Lens implant is one option for patients seeking to decrease their astigmatism during cataract surgery. Unlike some of the other specialty lenses, this lens is designed to reduce or eliminate corneal astigmatism and significantly improve distance vision after surgery. Please note, this lens has the ability to correct one visual goal, so patients opting for this lens to best correct their distance vision will likely need to use reading glasses for near and intermediate tasks.

Astigmatic Keratotomy (AK) is a procedure often done in both the Operating Room and our Laser Suite to help reduce corneal astigmatism. The surgeon makes tiny incisions in the cornea, changing its curvature by flattening the steep portions, producing a more spherical eye (like a baseball). Corneal measurements offer precise data on where these incisions should be placed on the eye. AK is best suited for patients who have minimal to moderate degrees of astigmatism and who haven’t had prior major eye problems.

2. Presbyopia Specialty Lens Package

Presbyopia (the reason people need reading glasses) usually occurs around age 40. When we are young, the natural lens is flexible allowing vision to easily alternate between seeing objects near or far. As the natural lens hardens with age, it loses the ability to jump between near and far vision. Near vision is impacted resulting in what we call Presbyopia. Individuals who’ve never needed glasses or contacts in their life may suddenly find themselves shopping for glasses – or on the hunt for a more permanent surgical solution – cue the accommodative lens package.

Multifocal and Accommodative lenses present patients with the opportunity for less dependence on glasses following their cataract surgery.

The Multifocal Lens can increase your chances for a life free of glasses or contacts after cataract surgery for near, far and intermediate vision. These lenses are designed to give patients back their youthful vision and provide qualified patients with high-quality vision at any distance, and in any light condition — even in low light. It should be noted that glare and halos are common with a multifocal lens. However, many patients report that their eyes adapt overtime and often are not bothered by them.

The multifocal lens technology works by dividing light into multiple zones of focus, to enable clearer vision at a range of distances. Multifocal lenses deliver results superior to those of a standard monofocal lens and offers an excellent chance to become independent of eyeglasses or contact lenses. One lens type we offer at Minnesota Eye Consultants is the TECNIS Multifocal Lens.


An Accommodative Lens (or Crystalens) offers a similar increased range of vision following cataract surgery, with the intent to diminish the need for glasses and contacts afterward.

The Accommodative Lens has tiny hinges that allow the patients’ eye muscles to change the position of the lens when focusing on objects at near, far, and intermediate distances.

This technology is unique, as it’s attempting to replicate the functionality of the natural lens’ ability to flex back and forth, offering clear vision at various distances.

The Tecnis Symfony intraocular lenses (IOLs) are the first lenses in the United States to provide a full range of continuous high-quality vision following cataract surgery, while also mitigating the effects of presbyopia by helping people focus on near objects. This lens is considered an Extended Depth of Focus (EDOF) IOL, as there is a continuum of vision from the distance to the near focal point.

In clinical studies, the Symfony lens:

Provided seamless, day-to-night vision.

Patients could see objects sharply and clearly at near, intermediate and far away distances, and points in between.

Provided high-quality vision.

Some IOLs may leave patients with an inability to focus clearly due to competing wavelengths of light passing through the lens at different angles (known as chromatic aberration), or with vision that is not completely focused because of the shape of the lens (known as spherical aberration). The Symfony lens has been engineered to correct these issues.

Demonstrated a low incidence of halo and glare.

This may be perceived as rings or blurring around bright lights. Glare and halos can sometimes affect an individual’s ability to drive at night or to perform other visual tasks.

The goal of the Tecnis Symfony lens is for patients to have good distance and intermediate/computer vision with less dependence upon glasses. Some patients may still need readers for small print.

What it looks like before having the Tecnis Symfony IOL implant, and after the surgery.

What it looks like before having the Tecnis Symfony IOL implant, and after the surgery.

For people with astigmatism the FDA has approved the Tecnis Symfony Toric IOL. This lens offers all the benefits and technology of the Symfony lens above, but it also corrects astigmatism.

To see if you’d be a likely candidate for one of our upgraded lenses or vision packages, you’re welcome to take advantage of our Free Online Cataract Self-Test.

3. Light Adjustable Lens Package

The new Light Adjustable Lens is the first intraocular lens used for cataract patients, where you can adjust (or fine tune) the prescription after the surgery. This allows patients to ‘test drive’ their vision before locking it in.

After surgery, the lens can be adjusted for both distance and near vision. If the patient doesn’t like it, the lens can be readjusted. Glasses may be needed for specific visual tasks.

Refractive Surgery Following Cataract Surgery

Refractive surgery such as LASIK or PRK, are often performed to decrease and eliminate corneal astigmatism in patients who are hoping for less dependence on glasses and contacts. This procedure can be performed not long after cataract surgery is complete and may be a great option for some patients.

Your cataract surgeon will discuss which astigmatism correcting option is right for you. To see if you’d be a likely candidate for one of our upgraded lenses or vision packages, you’re welcome to take advantage of our free online screening.


Serving Our Community

Minnesota Eye Consultants is proud to offer patients convenient access to eye care across the Twin Cities. We have 5 locations, each with an onsite ambulatory surgery center (ASC).

11091 Ulysses St NE
Clinic: Suite 300
ASC: Suite 400
Blaine, Minnesota 55434
Additional Blaine Information
12501 Whitewater Drive, Suite 310
Minnetonka, MN 55343
Additional Crosstown Information
10709 Wayzata Blvd
ASC: Suite 100
Laser Procedures: Suite 120
Clinic: Suite 200
Minnetonka, MN 55305
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9801 Dupont Ave S
ASC: Suite 100
Laser Procedures: Suite 120
Clinic: Suite 200
Bloomington, MN 55431
Additional Bloomington Information
7125 Tamarack Rd
Clinic: Suite 100
ASC: Suite 200
Laser Procedures: Suite 250
Woodbury, MN 55125
Additional Woodbury Information