As the eye’s natural lens becomes cloudy, less light enters the eye and vision becomes blurry. When poor vision from cataracts begin to limit your daily activities including driving, reading, and watching TV, it is time to consider cataract surgery.
Surgery is the only way to fix cataracts and restore clear vision. During the procedure, the cloudy natural lens is removed and replaced with a clear artificial lens. This artificial lens is called an implant or intraocular lens (IOL). The lens is removed using an ultrasonic process called phacoemulsification.
Our surgeons perform surgery in our outpatient surgery center, dedicated exclusively to eye procedures. They perform a no-stitch, no-patch, no-shot method of cataract removal. The surgery is painless and most report feeling only mild pressure. The eye is first numbed with eye drops. General anesthesia is not required, but patients are given a mild sedative to remain comfortable during the procedure.
The surgery typically takes about 10-20 minutes. Recovery from surgery is rapid, with most patients achieving noticeably better vision within the first 24 hours. After surgery patients will wear a clear shield over the eye at night for one week and use an antibiotic/steroid drop and artificial tears for 4-6 weeks to control the healing process.
Recent advances in intraocular lens technology have allowed our surgeons to provide superior vision and to significantly reduce and often eliminate the need for glasses after cataract surgery. This is why our doctors often refer to the procedure Refractive Cataract Surgery.
- A traditional monofocal IOL provides clear vision for either close-up or distance vision, but not both. Typically a patient’s post-operative vision will be optimized for distance and the patient will use reading glasses for near vision.
- A toric monofocal IOL can help a patient with astigmatism see clearly at distance without the need for glasses, and allow them to use reading glasses for near vision instead of a prescription pair to read.
- A presbyopia correcting intraocular lens or Multifocal IOL can provide clear vision at distance while also allowing for improved intermediate (e.g. computer distance) and near vision. This significantly reduces and can often eliminate a patient’s dependency on reading glasses following cataract surgery. Presbyopia is the loss of near vision as we age which leads to the need for bifocals and readers. Multifocal IOLs are also known as presbyopia correcting IOLs due to their ability to correct presbyopia.
- Combining these technologies, several toric multifocal IOLs have been recently approved to provide clear vision for distance, intermediate & near in patients who also have astigmatism.