When we advise patients to undergo cataract surgery the next discussion, we have is about the available lens option. And that’s when we are asked the million-dollar question: “Doctor which is the best cataract lens?”
What are cataract lenses?
These are lenses that are implanted in the eye after the cataract is removed. They are also known as Intraocular lenses or IOLs.
What are the various options?
There are many lens brands (Indian and imported) available in the market. And like any product, some brands are better known than the others. The doctor would suggest a particular lens after a detailed eye examination and on what the doctor feels is the best available lens for you. Multifocal lenses are more expensive and the trifocal lenses are the most expensive.
What is the difference between Indian and imported lens?
Both Indian and imported lenses are good. Indian lens manufacturing has picked up in the last decade and I am sure in the next decade it would be considered at par with any lens in the market. However, there are certain differences.
1. Cost: This is the biggest difference. Indian lenses are cheaper, and that is why cataract packages in which Indian lenses are used are priced low.
2. Material: Lenses are made of different materials—some are better for the eye compared to others.
3. Shape: Lenses also come in different shapes and some doctors are comfortable with certain ones compared to others.
So, which is the best?
I will start with an analogy: If someone asks you which is the best car available in the market, what would your answer be? Would your answer be the same as someone else's in the family? I guess not. The reason is, it depends on many factors, and the same is true of lenses. Each lens has its own set of advantages and disadvantages and there is no perfect lens.
Following are some factors that can play a big role in arriving at a decision:
1. Cost of the surgery.
2. Associated retinal or diabetic eye disease.
3. Whether a patient needs to be glass free for both distance and near.
4. If the patient has astigmatism (imperfection in eye’s curvature) in his/her current glasses.
5. Has an abnormally high power in current glasses.
Unfortunately, there is no one correct answer to this question. One has to choose a lens based on many things. That being said, your doctor will be able to help you, so don’t fret much over it.
(Dr Deepak Garg is a Cataract and Squint specialist and Founder of Eye Solutions, Mumbai)