Understanding Cataract Surgery
A cataract is progressive clouding of the natural lens in your eye. Cataracts are a natural part of aging and are one of the most common causes of vision loss in patients over the age of 65. No medication, laser treatment or exercise regimen can make cataracts disappear. The only way to eliminate a cataract is through surgery. There have been many technological advancements in cataract surgery during the last twenty years. Today, not only is cataract surgery one of the most common surgical procedures in the United States, it is also one of the safest. Cataract surgery no longer requires a hospital stay with bandaged eyes. It is usually performed in an outpatient setting, with patients going home following the procedure. Eye drops are needed for several days to protect against infection and inflammation. Most patients have minimal discomfort and can return to normal activities within 1-2 days after surgery.
During cataract surgery, the cloudy natural lens is removed from the eye and replaced with a permanent clear, plastic lens called an intraocular lens (IOL). This IOL is placed in or near the original position of the removed lens, requires no maintenance, and is not felt by the patient or noticed by others. Today, cataract surgery is performed as microsurgery, with the surgeon looking through a high-powered operating microscope. Due to precision required, excellent surgical skills are still needed to achieve the best results.
All of the cataract surgeons at Apex Eye are board-certified and are specifically skilled at removing cataracts.
Types of IOLs
There are a variety of IOLs available and most people are given a choice between a Monofocal IOL, Toric IOL, or Multifocal IOL. Each type restores vision, but in different ways.
- Monofocal IOLs – These are the most common lenses implanted. They have equal power in all areas of the lens. They can provide good distance vision, but typically requireglasses are still needed for up-close vision (i.e., reading, writing) and astigmatism correction. These are considered basic, standard lenses for Cataract surgery.
- Toric IOLs – This type of lens has more power in one specific region in the lens to correct astigmatism as well as distance vision for many individuals. Most people still require glasses for all up-close tasks. Toric IOLs are considered a premium lens implant.
- Multifocal IOLs – This is one of the latest advancements in lens technology. These lenses have a variety of regions with different powers restoring the ability to see at all distances (distance, intermediate, up-close). These lenses can eliminate the need for eyeglasses, reading glasses, bifocals or trifocals after Cataract Surgery. Multifocal IOLs cannot correct astigmatism, however. Common brands of multifocal lenses are Crystalens®, ReSTOR®, ReZoom™ or Tecnis® Multifocal Lens. Multifocal IOLs are considered a premium lens implant.
For most people, the cost of Cataract surgery is partially or completely covered by private insurance or Medicare. While the actual surgery is typically covered, most private insurances and Medicare only cover the cost of basic monofocal IOLs. Patients must pay the additional amount for premium IOLs.
Learn more: information regarding Cataract Surgery