Permanently Correct Your Vision Through Cataract Surgery
Cataract Surgery Details
A cataract is diagnosed when there is clouding of the natural lens of the eye. It is a normal effect of the aging process we go through as human beings, with over half of the US population developing cataracts by the age of 65.
The only way to permanently correct vision if you have cataracts is through cataract surgery. The good news is that cataract surgery is one of the safest and most commonly performed procedures in the entire world, with over 95% of all patients seeing at least 20/40 (good enough for driving) after surgery.
Cataract Surgery and its refractive companion, Refractive Lens Exchange, describe procedures that remove the natural lens of the eye and replace it with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL).
Once your cataract has progressed to a point where it begins to impair your vision in a way that affects your normal lifestyle (especially driving), then it is usually time to consider cataract surgery.
Some of the common symptoms of cataracts include:
If you are suffering from any of the symptoms above, then a through cataract evaluation with an MD ophthalmologist is recommended.
If you are diagnosed with a cataract, your insurance will most likely cover the cost of the standard procedure. This is performed with a monofocal IOL that is simply a clear lens that replaces the cloudy cataract. There are no additional visual benefits that these lenses provide the patient other than vision that is no longer cloudy. He or she will still have to wear glasses for all activities.
However, there now exist several different premium surgery options that can enhance your vision to the point where you may no longer need glasses.
Advancements in cataract surgery have made it one of the safest and easiest procedures to undergo, with patients almost immediately seeing the benefits of improved vision after surgery. The procedure is always performed on an outpatient basis, with the patient receiving a local anesthetic that makes the process virtually painless.
Your surgeon will use a device to remove the cloudy lens of your eye through a tiny incision. He or she will then insert the appropriate IOL in place of the natural lens through the same incision.
Depending on your surgeon, the entire process should take 15 minutes or less to complete, and visual improvement should be apparent the day after surgery.
Recovery is fast. Many patients can see 20/40 or better the day after surgery and begin resuming normal activities, even driving the very next day. The vast majority of our patients report no discomfort after surgery.
Once the procedure is completed, you will be required to wear a protective eye shield for the rest of the day and will continue to wear it for a short time while sleeping, to avoid any involuntary contact with your eyes. You will use some topical eye drops in order to aid and improve healing.
Most patients see their vision restored to a level that will let them resume normal activities, including driving, the very first week, with full recovery following shortly thereafter.
While cataract surgery is a fairly simple process to undergo, it is still essential that you follow your surgeon’s specific post-operative directions in order to ensure proper recovery.
Your Treatment Options
Depending on your evaluation and expectations after cataract surgery, your surgeon may give you the choice of receiving a traditional monofocal IOL (intraocular lens) or a ‘premium’ IOL. Monofocal IOLs are the most common lenses used in cataract surgery. While they provide immediate restoration of vision, they are called monofocal lenses because they provide clear vision at one particular distance. Patients will still need to wear glasses for most common activities such as reading, driving, and watching TV.
At Eye Associates of Brazos Valley, we pride ourselves on being at the cutting edge of premium lens implantation procedures. We’ve developed several methods of treatment that could leave you independent from glasses or contacts after your procedure.
The type of surgery you choose depends on your eyes, your needs, and your lifestyle. Depending on your pre-operative testing, cataract patients and Refractive Lens Exchange patients at Eye Associates of Brazos Valley will have some or all of the lens options below to choose from for their customized procedure:
This is traditional cataract surgery. In this procedure, Dr. Beim replaces the cloudy natural lens with a clear replacement lens. The results are great because the cataract is removed and you will be able to see clearly again, but you will have to continue to wear glasses to correct your prescription for reading and distance. You will be dependent upon glasses.
The Eye Associates of Brazos Valley CLEAR℠ Custom Evaluation And Replacement Procedures
"Better than LASIK" is a process that Dr. Beim conceived in 2008. It involves complete vision analysis and lens replacement with wavefront aspheric lenses with powers (prescriptions) customized to your specific eyes...
These lenses are designed based on a wavefront analysis of your visual field, which is like taking a 3D image of your eyesight. This allows for the engineering of a lens that not only corrects your refractive error (nearsightedness, farsightedness) but also the other fine errors of your vision that cause poor vision in low-light conditions and things such as glare and halos around lights. The result is great visual acuity AND great visual clarity.
There are two manners in which Dr. Beim can perform this detailed CLEAR process: CLEAR℠ Modified Monovision and CLEAR℠ True Monovision
CLEAR℠ Modified Monovision:
This is a process by which your visual system is thoroughly analyzed, and your cloudy cataract lens is replaced with a clear aspheric lens that is fine-tuned to give you the best intermediate and distance vision possible, as well as some large print reading vision. This is wonderful for people who don’t mind wearing glasses for small print reading (such as a prescription pill bottle) and wish to be glasses-free at all other distances.
CLEAR℠ True Monovision:
With CLEAR℠ True Monovision, the same aspheric lenses that provide spectacular clarity of vision are used, but in this case, one of your lenses is engineered to see at a distance, and the other is structured to provide up-close vision. So you have lenses in your eyes adjusted to different focal lengths. The result is the ability to see clearly both up close and at a distance, for a result that could leave you seeing clearly, as well as completely free of glasses at all distances.
A vital part of the CLEAR℠ process for both CLEAR Modified Monovision and CLEAR True Monovision involves "trying on the shoes before you buy them" Contact lenses that simulate the surgical result are given to you on a trial basis. These lenses are then modified based on the patient's preference until the desired result is achieved. This is how we can customize your result for what YOU want, not what your surgeon thinks you want.
In this option, patients still undergo the same process of analysis as above in Tier 2, the only difference is the ability to correct astigmatism in addition to everything else. Toric IOLs are designed to specifically correct astigmatism, as well as your nearsightedness and farsightedness.
Astigmatism is a condition of the cornea, the clear outer part of the eye, and not the lens; so normal lens replacement won’t fix this condition. A patient would still have to wear glasses or contacts if their astigmatism is not corrected.
With astigmatism, your cornea is shaped more like a football than a baseball, so the light that enters your eye is distorted and blurry vision occurs. By replacing your cloudy cataract lens with a Toric IOL that is specifically designed to counteract this irregular corneal curvature, you can correct your vision including for your astigmatism, without glasses.
Multifocal IOL’s are a new, advanced type of lens technology that provides vision correction at all distances, thereby eliminating your dependence on glasses or contacts. Depending on your lifestyle and your desire to be completely glasses-free, a multifocal IOL might be a wonderful option for you.
Amazing strides have been made in multifocal lens technology. You now get permanent vision correction at all distances. It is clearly the future of all vision correction surgery.