Replacement lenses are made of a material pliable enough to be rolled up and inserted through the opening. The entire procedure usually takes less than 30 minutes and is typically performed using an anesthetic eye drop.Monofocal lenses, which have long been in use and are covered by insurance, remain the most common choice of replacement lens. A variety of multifocal brands are available, but they all work in one of two basic ways.

“Patients ended up with no lens in their eye to focus and had to wear very thick glasses to see.

Nobody was happy with the results.” Patients can now choose from a wide range of artificial lenses.

At least three out of five people over age 60 will eventually develop them.

Today, thanks to a steady march of advances, cataract replacement surgery often gives people better vision than they’ve had in years.

Most eye specialists expect multifocal lens designs to improve.

One approach under development is a plastic gel that would be injected into the capsule that held the original lens and would form a highly pliable new lens.

“For people who wear bifocals, the new lenses can mean being much less reliant on glasses, and in some cases eliminate the need for them entirely,” said Dr. Chang, a clinical professor of ophthalmology at the University of California, San Francisco.

Because these so-called premium lenses are not considered medically necessary, they aren’t covered by Medicare or private insurance. Another new artificial lens design, called a toric lens, corrects astigmatism, which is caused by an abnormal curvature of the cornea.

Monofocal lenses, meanwhile, are already so refined that the results for many patients are dramatic.

“You can have someone who’s very nearsighted, who basically can’t see until they reach for their glasses in the morning,” said Dr.

The United States represents the largest market worldwide supported by an aging society, well developed healthcare infrastructure, and favorable reimbursement policies for cataract procedures using standard IOLs.