Cataract Lens Options (IOLs) in San Diego

IOL Options San Diego

The only way to treat cataracts is to remove your eye’s natural, cloudy lens and replace it with an artificial lens implant, also known as an intraocular lens or IOL. If you are facing cataract surgery, you will need to select the IOL that best suits your vision needs, goals and lifestyle. Luckily, you have more options than ever from which to choose.

Monofocal IOLs

Monofocal IOLs restore your vision at a single distance — either near, intermediate or far. Many people with monofocal IOLs opt to have them set for distance vision, and then wear reading glasses for near and intermediate tasks. This may be a good option for you.


  • Have been safely used by cataract surgeons for a very long time
  • Covered by Medicare and other insurance companies
  • Can be used to create a monovision effect


  • Provides focus at only one distance
  • Requires corrective eyewear to see clearly at all other distances
  • Does not correct presbyopia or astigmatism
  • Loss of depth perception

Multifocal IOLs

Multifocal IOLs restore vision at near, far and intermediate distances. Different areas of the lens are designed for each distance, and the brain and eye learn how to rely on each part as needed.


  • Improve vision at near, far and intermediate distances
  • Little or no need to wear corrective eyewear


  • Some patients report issues with contrast, glare and halos around lights
  • Insurance companies  do not cover the cost of the lenses
  • Patients with prior refractive surgery such as LASIK, PRK or RK, or patients with retinal problems are not candidates for this type of lens

Accommodating IOLs

Intraocular Lenses (IOLs) San Diego

Accommodating IOLs work with the muscles of your eye to mimic the movements of the natural lens. They flex forward when focusing on near objects, and rest when focusing on distant objects. 


  • Improves vision at near, far and intermediate distances
  • Little or no need to wear corrective eyewear
  • Patients with prior refractive surgery and retinal issues ARE candidates
  • Corrects astigmatism


  • Insurance companies do not cover the cost of the lenses

Toric IOLs

Toric IOLs are designed to correct cataracts and astigmatism (an irregularly shaped cornea) simultaneously. They are the only lens that can help reduce dependence on glasses or contacts if you have astigmatism. 

What to Consider When Selecting Your Lens

The first factor to consider when evaluating your lens options is the importance of near and distance vision to your lifestyle. Are you an active person that enjoys playing golf or other sports? Or do you prefer to spend your time watching your favorite television programs, reading or sewing? Do you drive a lot? This type of information can help narrow down your IOL options.

Cost is another important consideration. Medicare and other insurance companies usually cover the cost of monofocal lenses. If you select multifocal or premium lenses, you will probably need to pay out of pocket above and beyond what your insurance company will cover. 

Finally, if you are interested in premium lenses, make sure you work with a qualified cataract surgeon. Since premium lenses are newer than monofocal lenses, some surgeons are not as familiar with their features, or they do not have a lot of experience placing them. Ask your cataract surgeon how many premium IOLs they have placed, and about the typical outcomes.

Discuss Your IOL Options with Our Cataract Surgeons

To discuss your IOL options with our experienced cataract surgeons, please schedule an appointment by contacting our San Diego office today.