What ODs Should Know About Intraocular Lenses and Cataract Surgery Referrals

Optometrists can play an important role when it comes to making intraocular lens (IOL) recommendations when referring patients for cataract surgery.

Optometrists routinely refer patients for cataract surgery, and in many cases, take an active role in the pre- and post-operative care of these patients when it comes to comanagement. A major part of the referral process that is oftentimes overlooked is making a specific intraocular lens recommendation. It is easy to let the cataract surgeon to whom you are referring make that recommendation, but there is a great opportunity in understanding IOLs, the differences between them, and what might provide the best experience for your patient whom you know best.

Dr. Emily Evans discusses how to make an intraocular lens recommendation in this video interview and why it can enhance your patient’s experience when it comes to cataract surgery.

Watch more for tips on surgical co-management and the role of the OD in this video:

First and foremost, you need to always think about the needs of your patient.

If your patient performs extensive near work, it might be worth educating your patient on multifocal IOLs or extended depth of focus IOLs so they understand that these are options.

Similarly, you can look at your patients refraction and topography. If you know that your patient has a moderate to large amount of cylinder, you can discuss toric IOLs as their best opportunity to reduce dependence on corrective lenses after surgery. Be able to discuss the benefits of laser-assisted cataract surgery with them as well. A small amount of astigmatism may be able to be corrected with the femtosecond laser.

When patients arrive at their surgical consult, they are oftentimes inundated by options and recommendations. Discussing with patients these options ahead of time, even at a high level can give them far greater confidence when it comes choosing an IOL with your surgeon of choice.

Other critical elements to discuss with patients to whom you are recommending cataract surgery or sending for a consult include the pre- and post-operative protocol, the healing process, and the procedure itself.

One thing you might overlook when it comes to educating patients is informing them about the surgeon to whom you are referring them. It is important to talk to patients about who their surgeon is and why you are recommending them.

When it comes to patient outcomes, one step optometrists can take in order to ensure the best possible outcome is prepping the ocular surface prior to surgery. Actively treat dry eye or any other ocular surface disease prior to surgery even before referring. This treatment can vary depending on the severity of signs and symptoms. Communication is key with both your patient and your cataract surgeon. If you set the patient up and provide them with expectations and arm them with information, the patient will trust you and your surgeon will have confidence in you.

Here are some tips on how to build a great co-management network.

About Antonio Chirumbolo

Antonio Chirumbolo
Antonio Chirumbolo, OD, is Associate Director of Marketing at CovalentCareers. Antonio's focus is in the world of digital publications and healthcare marketing, with special attention on content creation, management, and development.

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