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Cataract Surgery: Are Adjustable IOLs Right for You?

Until now, cataract surgeons have relied on pre-surgery measurements to determine your visual outcome.  Traditionally, cataract patients undergo extensive pre-operative tests to determine the prescription of their new intraocular lens (IOL).  However there’s a new type of lens that allows our physicians to optimize your vision after cataract surgery.  The ability to adjust your lens after cataract surgery will provide the most precise and accurate vision correction possible.  This new lens is called the Light Adjustable Lens. With the Light Adjustable Len, you have the unique ability to tailor your lens to the specific measurements of your eye.  We are proud to announce that we are the only practice in San Francisco to offer this new lens and technology.

In this blog, we’re excited to introduce the Light Adjustable Lens.  We will speak to the features and characteristics of this new lens.  Additionally, if the RxSight Light Adjustable Lens is right for you, plus review the pros and cons about this new lens.  For details about other lenses we offer our patients, please visit our blog, Cataract Surgery: Which is the better lens, Multifocal or Monofocal?

Introducing the Light Adjustable Lens

During cataract surgery, your lens is removed and replaced with a clear artificial lens. This lens is called an intraocular lens (IOL).  Monofocal (standard IOLS) are most frequently used to cure cataracts, and they also help patients achieve clearer distance vision.  However, most patients who receive monofocal lenses will still require glasses or contacts for reading or to treat astigmatism.  Multifocal (advanced IOLs) can correct refractive errors and astigmatism to help patients achieve further vision enhancement with the goal of reducing their dependence on corrective eyewear.  The Light Adjustable Lens is the newest and the most advanced intraocular lens available to cataract patients.  With the Light Adjustable Lens, you have the unique ability to adjust and preview your vision until it meets your personal desires and lifestyle. This Light Adjustable lens has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

How does the Light Adjustable Lens Work?

The Light Adjustable Lens is made of special photosensitive material that changes the shape and power of your lens through special light treatments delivered by our cataract surgeons.  The light treatments are administered in our office after your cataract surgery, once your eye has healed.  The healing time is usually two to three weeks after surgery.  A minimum of two light treatments are required.  Each treatment lasts about 90 seconds.  The total number of light treatments is based on your desired visual outcome.  The light treatments are painless and non-invasive. 

Unique Benefits of the Light Adjustable Lens

  • Patients who received the Light Adjustable Lens followed by adjustments were twice as likely to achieve 20/20 vision at 6 months without glasses as those who received a standard monofocal IOL.
  • The ability to preview and compare possible vision outcomes based on your preferences and lifestyle requirements.
  • The light treatments allow the doctor to adjust the lens to the precise shape of your eye to help you achieve your best vision.
  • The light treatments are painless, non-invasive and last about 90 seconds.

Few Drawbacks

  • Wearing Special UV protective glasses – You will need to wear special UV protective glasses during all waking hours, from the time of lens implantation until after the last light treatment is completed. Protecting your eye from exposure to indoor and outdoor sources of UV light is important. The indoor and outdoor light will damage your lens. 
  • Out of Pocket Fees – Health insurance, including Medicare and PPOs, covers the cost of cataract surgery with a monofocal lens.  However, the additional charge for implanting and adjusting the LAL is not covered and must be paid out-of-pocket by the patient.

Who’s a good candidate for the Light Adjustable Lens?

Most patients are ideal candidates for the Light Adjustable Lens option.  At your cataract consultation, you and your doctor can decide whether or not LAL is right for you.  You may not be a candidate if you have:

  • Significant pre-existing macular disease
  • Sensitivity to UV light
  • Uncontrollable eye movements
  • History of herpes zoster shingles

Find out if you’re a candidate for Cataract Surgery

Take our Cataract Self-Test to find out if you’re a good candidate for surgery. Our cataract team will review your results and call you to provide more information for custom Cataract Surgery!

Cataract Self-Test

Talk to our Experienced Experts

You can learn more about LAL and determine if this new advanced lens is right for you by talking to our experienced and board-certified cataract ophthalmologists and eye doctors in San Francisco, Drs. Danny Lin, Karen Oxford and Scott So.  Cataract surgery is a good way to restore your vision, so make sure you discuss your options before selecting an IOL.

To learn more or find out if the Light Adjustable Lens is right for you, call us at 415-923-3007 or request an appointment online to schedule a Cataract Consultation.

Schedule a Cataract Consultation


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2100 Webster St, San Francisco, CA 94115