A cataract is defined as a clouding of the natural lens of the eye. The lens is about the size of an M & M candy and sits just behind the colored iris in your eye. When you are born, the lens is clear but with time it becomes clouded and your vision gets blurry. A cataract can progress until eventually there is a complete loss of vision in your eye, and neither diet nor laser treatment will make the cataract go away. Cataract surgery can help you restore your vision long before you can experience loss of vision significant enough to interfere with your daily activities.
Astigmatism is characterized by an irregular curvature of the cornea. The eye of a person with astigmatism is shaped more like a football than a soccer ball. For this person, objects at any distance can appear blurry and wavy. About half of the population is born with astigmatism. If you have astigmatism, and you want to see clearly in the distance, you need to wear glasses or contact lenses. Recently, a new style of IOL called a toric IOL was introduced. The toric IOL can correct, or at least partially correct your naturally occurring corneal astigmatism so you won’t be so dependent on glasses to see in the distance after cataract surgery.
With time, almost everyone is affected by presbyopia. Presbyopia is a part of the normal aging process and happens to all of us. Presbyopia is caused by the loss of flexibility of the natural lens. It becomes evident to most of us at about age 45 and that’s why we have to start wearing reading glasses or need to begin wearing bifocals. We just can’t see up close without them. Everyone who undergoes cataract surgery with a standard monofocal IOL needs to have reading glasses to see up close afterward because presbyopia is not treated by the standard monofocal IOL. Over the past few years, there have been several multifocal IOLs introduced which correct presbyopia after cataract surgery. Patients who choose one of these multifocal IOLs can usually see far away, at midranges, and up close while greatly reducing their need for glasses, possibly eliminating them.
Depending on the results of your examination, you may have the option to choose a toric IOL or a multifocal IOL or you may choose a standard monofocal IOL. Regardless of your options all of the lenses will help you see better, so there is no wrong choice.
Medicare and supplemental insurance typically cover the cost of cataract surgery with a standard monofocal lens. If you would like to take advantage of the advanced lenses, the cataract procedure will still be a covered service, but you will pay an additional fee for the premium lenses and services as they are considered to be a cosmetic procedure. Talk to us about those details.
We thank you for reading this introduction. During your visit you’ll have the opportunity to hear more about these choices to make your vision better. We look forward to your examination and to helping you learn more about these exciting new options.