Adjustable IOL Could Help Some Ditch Their Glasses After Cataract Surgery

Many people who have cataract surgery still need glasses after the sight-saving procedure. But a new kind of artificial lens could help more people be free of glasses after cataract surgery. It’s called the light-adjustable intraocular lens or RxLAL.

An intraocular lens (or IOL) is a tiny, artificial lens for the eye. It replaces the eye’s natural lens that is removed during cataract surgery. The lens bends (refracts) light rays that enter the eye, helping you to see. Your lens should be clear. As we age, the lens can become cloudy, making things look blurry, hazy or less colorful.

While ophthalmologists make careful measurements of the eye and perform precise calculations, they cannot always achieve 20/20 vision without glasses after surgery. The reason is that the surgeon can only estimate where the IOL will fit in the eye after it heals from surgery. That’s important because determining exactly where in the eye the IOL will end up — the effective lens position — determines how close the surgeon can get the patient to 20/20 vision. Studies show that 30 to 50 percent of people who have cataract surgery still need glasses after surgery.