Advanced Technology Lenses
In the past, when a surgeon performed cataract surgery, the only option was to implant a monofocal intraocular lens (IOL). This could provide good distance vision, but did not allow patients to see at various focal distances and did not address any issues with astigmatism. Now, there are a wide range of replacement lenses available to cataract patients, each offering different advantages for your post-surgery vision. The most effective lens depends on each patient’s individual preferences and goals for their vision. The latest lenses help reduce or eliminate the need for glasses or contacts after cataract surgery for the rest of your life, providing convenient, effective results for your specific vision conditions. The improvement in vision will not only provide enhanced safety and improve a person’s normal lifestyle and activities, it will also add years of enjoyment to their life.
Lens Comparison Chart
|Types of IOLs||Monofocal IOL||Multifocal IOL||Multifocal Toric||Toric|
|Distance Vision Correction||Very Good||Very Good||Excellent||Excellent|
|Near Vision Correction||None||Excellent||Very Good||None|
|Success rate of patient being independent of glasses (with lenses in both eyes)||5-10%||80%||90-95%||10-20%|
|Cost of IOL fully covered by medical insurance if medically necessary||Full||Partial||Partial||Partial|
|Duration of Effect||Permanent||Permanent||Permanent||Permanent|
Standard Cataract Surgery
Standard cataract surgery has advanced dramatically over the past few decades. In most cases, the cataract is extracted through a micro incision and a monofocal, or single focus, intraocular lens (IOL) is inserted. This replaces the cloudy natural lens (cataract). Each eye is done on separate days, usually about two weeks apart. The procedure usually only takes about 10 minutes, but patients will be at the surgery center for about two hours. Prior to the procedure, patients receive sedation and will feel no pain and be completely relaxed during the procedure. Also, there is usually minimal or no pain following surgery. There are some minor vision fluctuations the first few days after surgery that diminish as the eye heals. Most patients are able to see clearly very quickly and some may even be able to drive the day after surgery.
After standard cataract surgery, patients’ vision is much clearer and brighter. Since this surgery only removes the cataract, patients who wore glasses or contacts before surgery will most likely still need them after surgery. Standard cataract surgery is covered by Medicare and most medical insurances, but there may still be some out-of-pocket expenses depending on a person’s insurance deductible.
Custom Cataract Surgery
While standard cataract surgery is an excellent procedure, many patients will qualify for Custom Cataract Surgery. These patients have several additional options if they wish to reduce their dependence on glasses or contact lenses. Custom Cataract Surgery surpasses standard cataract surgery by including advanced testing and technology, and providing additional benefits by using advanced technology IOLs. These specialty IOLs enhance vision and usually decrease dependence on glasses (see table above). Custom Cataract Surgery helps to reduce or eliminate astigmatism and presbyopia; these are the conditions, or refractive errors, that remain following standard cataract surgery. Custom Cataract Surgery is also a great option for those who have had previous LASIK, PRK, or RK surgery.
It is important to note that Medicare and most major insurance companies will cover the cataract surgery, but they do not cover the additional expense of advanced technology IOLs or premium testing for Custom Cataract Surgery. Our surgical coordinators can review a patient’s insurance coverage, out of pocket expenses, and review financing options if they are found to be a good candidate for Custom Cataract Surgery.
This is the best choice for individuals who want to reduce their dependence on glasses and do not have significant amounts of astigmatism. Unlike other lenses, which provide focus at one point, this extended depth of focus IOL delivers excellent clarity across a large range of vision (distance, intermediate, and near). This lens usually provides excellent distance and intermediate vision, and good to very good vision for reading. This can also be combined with other types of multifocal IOLs to provide more reading correction. Your surgeon will customize a plan to match your visual results with your lifestyle needs.
This is the best choice for individuals who want to reduce their dependence on glasses and have astigmatism. Unlike other lenses, which provide focus at one point, this extended depth of focus IOL delivers excellent clarity across a large range of vision (distance, intermediate, and near). This lens usually provides excellent distance and intermediate vision, and good to very good vision for reading. Your surgeon will customize a plan to match your visual results with your lifestyle needs.
This is the most common choice for active individuals with cataracts and moderate to high amounts of pre-existing astigmatism. The toric IOL provides superior vision by not only correcting the cataract, but also by reducing astigmatism at the same time. The toric IOL is a monofocal lens, meaning it gives excellent vision at a single point of focus depending on the patient’s preference: near or distance. Most people elect for optimal distance vision. This means glasses will still be needed for near and some intermediate ranges. Frequently, these needs can be met by “drug store” reading glasses.
Laser Assisted Cataract Surgery
Just as there are options when it comes to selecting the best lens for a person’s lifestyle, there are also options for choosing the technology used to do cataract surgery. Cataract surgery can be done manually (entirely by hand) or with the assistance of laser technology. All the surgeons at Chico Eye Center excel at doing surgery with either technique. In laser assisted cataract surgery, the laser is used to make extremely precise incisions into the eye, make perfectly round openings into the cataract, create incisions in the cornea to reduce astigmatism (if needed), and pre-fragment the cataract to facilitate the lens removal. This usually results in a more efficient surgery with less surgical time inside the eye and is generally gentler and better tolerated by the eye. Although either type of surgery is extremely effective, laser assisted cataract surgeries are generally more predictable and precise.
What type of Cataract Surgery is right for me?
In general, removing a cataract will improve vision, make things brighter, and reduce or eliminate glare. However, other pre-existing conditions in the eye may affect the results. To determine if a patient is a good candidate for cataract surgery, a compressive examination is required that may include additional specialized testing. The main reason for performing cataract surgery is when cataracts affect a person’s vision to the point that it significantly interferes with their work, hobbies, and/or lifestyle.
During your cataract examination, you and your surgeon will discuss the various options and determine which option is best suited for your eye condition and lifestyle. The most appropriate lens and surgery will depend on a patient’s individual preferences and goals for their vision. The improvement in vision will not only improve a person’s normal lifestyle and activities and provide enhanced safety, it will also add years of enjoyment to their life. To learn more about Standard or Custom Cataract Surgery, or to schedule an appointment with one of our cataract surgeons, contact our office today!