Today’s patients having cataract surgery are drastically different from earlier generations, and so is cataract surgery itself! In the past the only decision a patient made was whether or not to have cataract surgery. Today you are able to make a decision on cataract surgery and the right lens implant for you. Times have changed.
With today’s cataract surgery you have options. With the proper guidance and education, you can decide how and what you wish to see clearly after the surgery with or without glasses. Let’s consider all your choices and how to determine the right lens implant for you.
Years ago, cataract surgical patients were destined to have glasses for reading and most other tasks after having surgery. That is not acceptable for today’s active patient population. They travel, stay in shape, participate in various activities and are a different breed from past generations.
South Texas Eye Institute and cataract technology have kept pace with the demands of today’s patients providing them with visual choices after cataract surgery.
What Happens during Cataract Surgery
Cataracts occur as we age and the natural crystalline lens inside our eyes becomes cloudy and yellowed. Consequently, vision is diminished and it becomes increasingly difficult to perform everyday tasks.
During cataract surgery, the old natural lens is extracted in a simple procedure and a new artificial lens is implanted in its place. These lenses are known as intraocular lenses or an IOL.
Healing time is relatively quick after cataract surgery and vision is restored in a matter of days or weeks.
What kind goals the patient has for their vision after surgery determines what kind of lens implant is chosen. There are three distinct areas of focus most people care about:
- Distance vision like driving or sightseeing
- Intermediate vision including working on a computer or seeing the dashboard of your car
- Near vision like reading, working in certain occupations, or doing crafts.
Narrowing down your visual preferences is the first step to help you and our cataract surgeons choose the appropriate lens implant.
Types of Lens Implants
There are various types of lenses all providing different visual clarity. They are made of soft bendable acrylic or silicone. Mono-focal lenses are standard lenses, and the others are considered advanced lenses due to additional out of pocket charges.
- Mono-focal or single vision lenses are the simplest form of IOL and considered standard. They provide clear vision but only at one distance. You can choose clear distance vision for activities like driving or watching TV, but you would need to utilize glasses for reading and other close up chores. Or you could choose the reverse.
- Multi-focal lenses provide better vision at multiple distances: near, intermediate, and far. This popular lens will reduce your need for glasses up to 80% of the time. It gives patients an increased freedom from glasses at any distance with an improved range of vision.
- Accommodating lenses are unique in that they give you the ability to change focus from distance to intermediate and from intermediate to near vision. They allow you to change your focus spontaneously as your natural lens did prior to developing presbyopia. This is an excellent lens for reading, doing computer work and it also provides clear distance vision.
- Toric lenses are specifically used to treat mild to moderate astigmatism. They provide single distance corrections but correct astigmatism reducing the need for glasses due to blurred vision. A toric lens is a remarkable breakthrough for patients with astigmatism.
Your Visual Goals
It is important to understand that there is no single best IOL for every patient. Each lens implant has positives and negatives, so it depends on your own visual goals and your lifestyle requirements.
Do you want to be able play golf and see the ball from the moment you hit it to where it lands? Do you want to reduce your need for glasses at any distance? Do you want to be able to drive day or night but don’t mind wearing glasses for other tasks? Do you love to travel and want to enjoy the sights?
You will only have cataract surgery one time. This is your opportunity to pick the kind of vision you want for the rest of your life!
After checking the health of your eyes, Dr. Lisa Martėn will make a recommendation about the right lens implant for you and your lifestyle needs. Then, enjoy life with the freedom today’s cataract surgery gives to today’s patients.
If you, or someone you know, is ready for cataract surgery but are unsure about the right lens implant, contact the professionals at South Texas Eye Institute in San Antonio.