The natural “lens” in the eye focuses the light on objects so that we can see clearly. Like the lens in a camera, it brings our world into focus at different distances. As we age, the natural lens becomes cloudy, discolored, and stiffer, which is then called a “cataract.”
The procedure involves the removal of the cloudy natural lens, and replacing it with an artificial lens. Most patients opt for a monofocal lens, which can be adjusted to give either distance or near vision. Glasses may then be prescribed as necessary. Advance technology lenses include toric lenses, which can reduce astigmatism or multifocal lenses, which allow for both distance and near vision, usually without the need for glasses.
When do I need cataract surgery?
Even if you have been diagnosed with cataracts, you are not required to have cataract surgery. When you feel your decreased vision is affecting your day to day life, it is time to consider cataract surgery.
What is cataract surgery?
Surgery is typically painless, as incisions are less than 3 millimeters in size in the front, clear part of the eye called the cornea. An instrument is inserted and uses sound waves to break up the cataract and vacuum it from the eye. A new artificial lens (intraocular lens, or IOL) is put in its place. At the surgical center, you will get an IV for medication to relax you during surgery, and most patients only notice a few lights changing colors. During surgery, your cataract will be removed, and a new plastic-type lens will be put in its place. The surgery itself is about thirty minutes or less, and you will go home shortly after.
Lenses for your lifestyle
During your pre-operative visit, you will have measurements of the curvature and length of your eye to help calculate the correct power lens to be placed in your eye. Depending on your measurements and overall eye health, you may have several lens options available to you.
• Monofocal lens
• Monovision (one eye set for near, one eye set for distance vision)
• Toric lens (fixes corneal astigmatism)
• Multifocal/Extended depth of focus lens (can correct presbyopia and astigmatism at the same time)
Although Medicare and other insurances will only pay for the Monofocal Lens, it may be a worthwhile consideration to pay an additional out of pocket charge for the once in a lifetime opportunity to reduce your dependence on glasses at the same time as your cataract surgery. Discuss your preferences with your surgeon.
Our Experienced Team
Drs. Henry, Daut and Covey have combined over 40 years of experience performing cataract surgery, including advanced technology lenses. Our goal is to listen to the patient’s complaints and needs and formulate the surgical management best for each individual patient. While toric and multifocal lenses can possibly decrease one’s need for glasses, not all patients are good candidates for these particular lenses, and our doctors will take the time to help guide each patient through pre-operative testing to ensure the best possible outcome.
If you want to learn more about our cataract surgery options, read the Cataract Surgery Packet.
Have questions or need to schedule an appointment? Call our office at 479.442.5227 or fill out a contact form here.