Modern Cataract Care involves removal of a cloudy crystalline lens (the cataract) and its replacement with a clear intra-ocular lens implant or IOL. The use of intra-ocular lens implants (IOLs) is now considered to be the standard of care. Situations when it is not medically advisable or physically impossible to implant a lens are very rare. Before the advent of modern lens implants, patients were left aphakic (without lenses) and had to resort to use of very thick "Coke bottle" glasses or contact lenses.
Other than the convenience of not having to wear "Coke bottle glasses", there are a number of medical reasons why it is important to have a lens implant. Aphakic eyes (eyes without lenses), are at higher risk of developing glaucoma and retinal detachments. That is why every reasonable effort is always made to place a lens implant in the eye.
There are a number of lens implant options available to the physician and the patient. These lenses all have a basic function of focusing images on the retina.
Some lens implants have extended functions, such as correcting corneal astigmatism (Toric lenses) or allowing the eye to focus at both distance and near, without having to resort to use of glasses or contacts (Presbyopia Correcting Lenses). These IOL's with extended functions are usually not covered by health insurance or Medicare. That is because these lenses, while providing the patients with the convenience of spectacle freedom, are not considered to be "medically necessary" by most health insurers. The "spectacle freedom" afforded by such extended function lenses comes with the added cost that is assumed by the patient.
Cost issues aside, not all lenses are appropriate for all patients. There are various factors that are individual to each patient that must be considered. If the idea of being glasses free sounds enticing ask your doctor about the Premium Cataract Care at the Benjamin Eye Institute.