Light Adjustable Lens


Despite the numerous advances in cataract surgery technologies, it can be difficult to predict which intraocular lens (IOL) would best help you achieve your optimal vision after surgery without glasses. Luckily, there is a new technology that can help, and Anh Nguyen Ophthalmology is the first cataract surgery provider in Northern Virginia to offer it.

Other IOL options have a preset power that is chosen based on measurements taken before your surgery. As you can imagine, differences in each patient’s eye anatomy and how their eye heals after surgery can affect how well they see with this preset lens. The Light Adjustable Lens (LAL) is unique because its prescription – including astigmatism – can be adjusted once it is in your eye. This gives you the opportunity to try out your new lens, much like you would test drive a luxury car. The adjustment is done through a series of gentle in-office light treatments that take only a few minutes each, and once your optimal vision is reached the prescription is locked in. The LAL is a single focus lens, so unless you choose to have blended vision you will still need glasses for some tasks.

The LAL is especially a great lens option for patients who had refractive surgeries like LASIK in the past, or those with an especially thick cataract.

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The LAL is made from a material that is sensitive to UV light. This means that the shape and focus of the LAL can be changed in the office using UV light from a special machine called the Light Delivery Device (LDD). This machine fine-tunes the prescription in your lens over the course of several light treatments that begin once your vision has settled after surgery.


After your LAL is implanted, you will need to take some precautions. Because the lens material is specifically designed to be sensitive to UV light, you will need to wear special UV protective glasses to stop ambient sources of UV light (like sunlight) from affecting your lens. You will need to wear these glasses until your final light treatment. Once your lens is locked in, the UV glasses will no longer be needed.


Using the LAL has no medical risks apart from those that come with any other cataract surgery. Not everyone is eligible to use the LAL, so we will need to determine if it is right for you during your exam. No surgeon can guarantee that a patient will not need glasses after surgery, and unless you choose blended vision you will likely need glasses for some tasks. Because the LAL is a premium lens, insurance companies do not classify it as “medically necessary” so they will not pay for the additional cost of choosing the LAL. This means that the cost of the lens will be paid out-of-pocket.


Cataracts can often take a toll on your vision, lifestyle, and the way you see the world. During an appointment, our doctors can accurately diagnose cataracts and recommend your best treatment options. To get started, contact Anh Nguyen Ophthalmology by calling or filling out our online form.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does light adjustable lens last?

The Light Adjustable Lens, like any other intraocular lens, is meant to last a lifetime.

How good are the light adjustable lenses?

Light adjustable lenses are more likely to give you the best possible vision than with other types of lenses because they can be \u201cfine tuned\u201d after surgery. They are also as safe and have just as few side effects as other lenses put in during cataract surgery.

How much astigmatism can light adjustable lens correct?

The Light Adjustable Lens can correct up to -3.00 diopters of astigmatism.

What is the average cost of light adjustable lens surgery?

The average cost of light adjustable lens surgery depends on a variety of factors. To find out more, schedule a consultation today.

Are light adjustable lenses multifocal?

No, the Light Adjustable Lens is not a multifocal lens.

What is the difference between toric and light adjustable lens?

A toric lens has a fixed amount of astigmatism correction built into it before surgery based on preoperation scans. A Light Adjustable Lens is customized by your doctor after surgery to correct for the amount of astigmatism that your eye needs based on your vision.

How do light adjustable lenses work?

Light adjustable lenses are made out of photo-sensitive material that changes the prescription (or \u201cpower\u201d) of the lens in response to UV light. By using a special UV light machine, your doctor can alter the prescription of the lens to give you your best possible vision.

Does Medicare cover light adjustable lens?

No, Medicare and insurance companies do not cover the cost of the light adjustable or any other special lenses. They only cover the cost of a basic monofocal lens because it is the only one they deem \u201cmedically necessary\u201d. They will cover the same costs for the procedure itself, such as the doctor and facility fees, for the Light Adjustable Lens that they would with any other cataract surgery.

What are the advantages of the Light Adjustable Lens?

The biggest advantage of the Light Adjustable Lens is that it is customizable after surgery, meaning that your doctor can adjust it to make your vision as clear as possible.

What to expect after light adjustable lens surgery?

Around 3 weeks after your surgery, we will check your vision to see if it has stabilized. If it has, we will use a specially designed machine to begin adjusting the power in the lens to customize your vision. After the power has been adjusted, the power in your lens will be locked.

What are the restrictions after lens replacement surgery?

You will have the same restrictions following any cataract surgery, such as avoiding strenuous physical activity and wearing a protective eye shield when you sleep for two weeks. In addition, you will wear special UV-protective glasses until your final lock-in.

How is the light adjustable lens locked?

Once your light-adjustable lens has been adjusted, the lens power is permanently \u201clocked\u201d using the same machine that adjusted your lens. Locking the lens is painless and will prevent any changes in the future.

What are the drawbacks of light adjustable lens?

LALs offer many advantages. However, you will need additional post-op appointments so that the power in your lens can be adjusted and later locked. You will also need to wear specially manufactured UV-protective glasses (provided free of charge) beginning after surgery and continuing until your final lock-in appointment.

Who is a good candidate for light adjustable lens?

Anyone can be a candidate for the light-adjustable lens. People who have very thick cataracts, wish to reduce their dependence on glasses, or have had previous eye surgeries such as LASIK or PRK may get the most benefit over traditional lenses.


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