Macular Degeneration and IOL Choice

June 17, 2022 — by Thomas Byrd, MD
Tags: Iols And Macular Degeneration

digital illustration of an eyeTwo of the most common causes of vision loss in Americans aged 40 and older are cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. It is not unusual for individuals to suffer from both of these conditions at once. At Byrd & Wyandotte Eye Clinic, our doctors offer comprehensive eye care that includes management of eye diseases such as these.

Here, our eye doctors discuss the factors that are taken into consideration when selecting an IOL for individuals with macular degeneration at our practice that serves Detroit, MI, Dearborn HeightsMI, Lincoln Park, MI, and surrounding areas.

Cataract Treatment and Macular Degeneration

When a person is suffering from advanced cataracts, the only effective treatment is cataract surgery. During cataract surgery the natural lens of the eye is removed. It is replaced with an intraocular lens (IOL) that mimics the natural lens. There are several types of IOLs available, in various prescription options. The one that is most appropriate comes down to each patient’s unique visual needs and personal preferences. If a patient suffers from macular degeneration as well as cataracts, that is something that needs to be taken into consideration when choosing an IOL that will effectively enhance vision.

Factors to Consider When Selecting an IOL

When selecting an IOL for macular degeneration there are a few factors that need to be considered. Important considerations include the patient’s age, the type of vision impairment (whether they are nearsighted, farsighted, etc.), how macular degeneration has affected their vision, and how far macular degeneration has advanced.

IOLs for Individuals At Risk of Macular Degeneration

Some individuals have not yet developed macular degeneration but are at high risk for it due to a family history of the disease. As long as the patient does not exhibit any signs of macular degeneration they should be ideal candidates for any type of IOL, including monofocal IOLs, toric IOLs, and multifocal IOLs. However, these patients should consider that multifocal IOLs could cause issues in the future if they end up developing macular degeneration, because they could further compromise contrast sensitivity.

IOLs for Individuals with Early Stages of Macular Degeneration

Individuals with early stages of macular degeneration are unlikely to suffer any significant form of visual impairment. However, even with mild forms of macular degeneration, contrast sensitivity may already be a problem. Because of this, these patients should not opt for multifocal IOLs, which can make contrast sensitivity issues more severe.

IOLs for Individuals with Advanced Macular Degeneration 

When macular degeneration has reached more advanced stages patients are likely to suffer from some degree of vision loss. The most appropriate IOLs in these cases are monofocal IOLs, toric IOLs, or a telescopic magnifier IOL. Multifocal IOLs could actually compromise visual acuity even further, because they would worsen contrast sensitivity, so they are not suitable for those with moderate to advanced macular degeneration.

Learn More

Individuals who suffer from both cataracts and macular degeneration can work with eye doctors at Byrd & Wyandotte Eye Clinic to determine the best form of treatment. If you would like to learn more about cataract surgery and IOL options, send us a message online, or call us at (734) 284-2444.

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