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Intraocular Lens Implants for Cataracts and Nearsightedness

Topic Overview

Intraocular lens implants, which may be used to treat cataracts, replace the eye's natural lens with a clear plastic implant. The implant corrects the nearsightedness caused by the cataract. People with a monofocal lens implant still need reading glasses, because the implant does not affect how well you can focus on near objects. Multifocal lens implants are an option too. Thick glasses or contact lenses are seldom needed after cataract surgery.

Retinal detachment is the main risk of treating cataracts with lens implants. This risk is larger with higher degrees of nearsightedness.

Replacing the eye's natural lens with lens implants can also correct severe nearsightedness in people who do not have cataracts. This is called "clear lens extraction."

Lens implants may also be placed without removing the eye's natural lenses. These implants, called "phakic intraocular lenses" or "implantable contact lenses," are placed in front of the natural lens, either in front of or behind the iris.

Intraocular lens implants can effectively correct moderate to severe nearsightedness.1 Talk to your doctor to see if lens implants are a safe choice for you.



  1. Implantable Contact Lens in Treatment of Myopia (ITM) Study Group (2003). U.S. Food and Drug Administration clinical trial of the implantable contact lens for moderate to high myopia. Ophthalmology, 110(2): 255–266.


By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Christopher J. Rudnisky, MD, MPH, FRCSC - Ophthalmology
Last Revised June 24, 2011

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