What is a Cataract?
A cataract is the natural lens inside the eye when it becomes cloudy and yellow, which in turn clouds the vision.
When Should I Have Cataract Surgery?
Cataract surgery is an elective procedure. Most people choose to have cataract surgery based on the degree to which vision is impaired and impacts quality of life. Only you, with your doctor’s advice, can decide when the time is right.
Your likelihood of recovering more natural vision with cataract surgery is exceedingly high. You will likely enjoy a rapid recovery of enhanced vision with little disruption to your activities.
What is Involved in Cataract Surgery?
Cataract surgery is performed on an outpatient basis. You will be at the chosen facility for about three hours, however the actual cataract surgery takes about 15 minutes. Only one eye is done at a time. If both eyes have a cataract, we will schedule two different surgery dates for you, one for each eye. You will be lightly sedated and your eye anesthetized so you can feel comfortable during surgery, however, you will still be awake during the procedure.
During cataract surgery the physician uses a small ultrasound instrument to break up the cataract and gently remove it from the eye. All this is done through a tiny incision, which usually requires no stitches. In replacement of the natural lens/cataract that has been removed, everyone receives an intraocular lens implant (IOL). This lens is implanted inside the eye and intended to stay.
A friend or family member will need to bring you in, stay, and take you home the day of surgery.
The healing eye needs time to adjust so that it may focus properly. You may return to normal activities except heavy lifting (Greater than 20lbs) and excessive bending the next day. Your vision may be blurry for a couple of days afterward. If you need a change in glasses, it’s best to wait five to seven weeks for a new prescription. Depending on the situation, you may need new glasses to focus clearly after surgery, especially if you have significant astigmatism which you chose not to correct with a special toric implant.
What is a Lens Implant?
An intraocular lens implant (IOL) is an artificial lens that is implanted at the time of cataract surgery. It replaces the natural lens to restore vision. The lens implant allows you to see correctly after surgery. There are several types of lens implants to choose from.
What are the Different Types of Lens Implants?
A basic monofocal IOL is an intraocular lens that can restore vision at either distance or near. This implant is also referred to as the standard implant. With the standard, single-vision lens implants, there is a very high likelihood that you will need glasses for near-vision activities after surgery, even if you do not wear near-vision glasses before surgery. These activities include reading, applying makeup, shaving, sewing, reading your watch, dialing a cell phone, and baiting fishhooks. Medicare and most private insurance carriers will pay about 80% of your cataract surgery cost with monofocal lens. Astigmatism is not corrected with this lens. This is considered basic coverage.
Astigmatism Correcting / Toric Implant
Astigmatism is a focusing problem that occurs when the cornea isn’t evenly curved. This is common and affects most people to some degree. Moderate to high degrees of astigmatism will require a toric lens implant to reduce the need for glasses.
A toric IOL is a lens that corrects for astigmatism as well as for the cataract. If it is determined you have significant enough astigmatism to require this type of implant, then this technology will provide you with better quality of vision at one distance, either near or far, with less dependence on your glasses.
The toric IOL is specifically designed to treat those who have astigmatism. In years past, cataract surgery removed the cataract, but a patient with astigmatism still required glasses for near and distance vision. The design of the toric lens makes it possible to reduce or eliminate astigmatism. There is an additional cost for this upgrade, but it is a one-time cost and generally well worth it.
Preysbopia Correcting / Multifocal Implant
Presbyopia is the condition in which the lens in the eye hardens and loses the ability to focus from distance to near. This condition will eventually affect everyone.
A multifocal IOL is an intraocular lens that can restore both distance and near vision, offering the possibilities of little or no dependency on glasses. Some advanced technology implants are designed to provide a full range of vision-near and far. Medicare and private insurance provide basic coverage and allow you to pay for the upgrade, if you choose to do so. After a multifocal IOL, many patients never need glasses again for any activities. Those who do need glasses typically need them only for certain tasks. The goal is to significantly decrease your dependence on glasses. There is an additional cost for this technology.
Some eye disorders may disqualify you as a candidate for the multifocal lens technology. Any problem with the cornea or retina significantly reduces the quality of vision with this lens technology. The physician will perform a thorough evaluation at your pre-op appointment to determine your candidacy.