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Posted on 05-03-2016

Improving Vision With the Right Cataract Surgery

Cataract surgery is the process of replacing the natural lens of the eye, which has become cloudy, with an implant made up plastic, silicone, or acrylic, known as an intraocular lens (IOL). Usually behind the iris, the IOL becomes a permanent part of the eye, which allows light to properly pass through it and focus correctly on the retina. While most patients still need glasses after cataract surgery, they usually have better distance vision. New types of intraocular lenses offer the chance for vision correction as well as clarity.

Monofocal IOLs are the Norm

The lens traditionally implanted during cataract surgery is a monofocal IOL. When cataract surgery first received FDA approval, monofocal IOL’s were the only type available, so they have become the standard for cataract surgery and are still the ones that most health insurance plans pay for most completely. Patients who are nearsighted could only improve their overall vision by having one monofocal IOL fix for near vision and the other fixed for distant vision. By learning to coordinate the eyes after surgery, patients could eliminate the need to wear glasses.

Other Lens Options

The trade-off for not wearing glasses is the loss of some depth perception as the eyes no longer work together. More modern approaches to reading correction include special lenses designed for different types of vision problems.

Multifocal intraocular lenses, made by Alcon or Abbott Medical Optics, contain different zones to improve vision sharpness at multiple distances. Similar to the way that progressive lenses work on eyeglasses, multifocal IOLs offer near, intermediate, or far-reaching vision once the brain adjusts to which zone to look through. The difference in cost for these lenses is not covered by Medicare or private health insurance, while patients lose some ability to see in low light and distinguish objects from similarly colored backgrounds.

Accommodating intraocular lenses, sold under the name Crystalens, offer another premium choice. They get their name because they shift position as the eye muscles move in order to give maximum vision in different ranges, which is how your natural eyes operate. This type of lens does not provide as wide a range of focus, so you may still need reading glasses.

To improve astigmatism, toric IOLs offer a full range of distance powers which correct up to 2.00 diopters or 3.50 diopters of astigmatism with the brand made by Staar Surgical Intraocular Lenses, or of 1.50 to 3.00 diopters in the one made by Alcon. This lens can correct astigmatism when it is caused by your regularly shaped natural lens capsule; if the problem is due to an irregularly shaped cornea, the surgeon can perform in astigmatic keratotomy incision in the cornea during cataract surgery to fix the problem. Toric lenses offer additional options, with aspheric versions that are slightly flatter at the edges to offer crisper contrast vision and the ability tofilter UV or blue light which can lead to macular degeneration and other vision problems.

Discuss the Best Choice With Your Doctor

While these other options can add $800-2,500 per lens to the cost of the surgery, it may be worth it to you to upgrade. Your eye doctor at Eye Site Texas can give you the information that you need about your lens choices so you can make the best decision. Schedule an appointment today at either of our offices.

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