Cataract Surgery Options

Background

When thinking about cataract surgery, there are a lot of different options available. A lot of patients glean information from friends, family, and acquaintances about their experiences with cataract surgery.

Our primary goal is to get you to see better, with or without glasses. Our secondary goal is to reduce your dependency upon glasses, if that is something desirable for you. 

The eye is set up somewhat like a camera. On the surface is the cornea, the clear window into the eye. The cornea contributes approximately ⅔ of the prescription of the eye. Behind the cornea, there is the iris which moves to allow more or less light into the eye. The lens, which becomes cloudy and forms a cataract as we age, is behind the iris, contributing the other ⅓ of the prescription of the eye. All of this light then focuses on the retina (or the “camera film”) and the light is transmitted by the optic nerve to the brain, where it forms images.

When we remove the cataract (cloudy lens), we break it apart using a phacoemulsification device. Once that step is complete, we insert a permanent artificial lens, primarily made of acrylic, back into that same capsule. 

There are three main types of artificial lenses commercially available. Our goal is to help you decide which lens option is best for you and your lifestyle. This decision is important, and does not not need to be made right away.

 

Monofocal lenses

This lens gives optimal vision at a single focal length (meaning aim for sharp distance vision), but you would still need reading glasses or prescription glasses for computer (intermediate) and near vision.

 

You can elect to have blended vision or “mini-mono vision” to reduce the dependency on reading glasses for the computer/intermediate vision. This helps your dominant eye see more clear at distance. Your non-dominant eye would see fairly sharp at distance without correction, but it improves the vision at intermediate distance.

 

Toric lenses (correcting for astigmatism)

Astigmatism is when the cornea is shaped like a football, instead of like a soccer ball.

 

Toric lenses help to correct for astigmatism in the cornea at the time of surgery. While you may have astigmatism correction in your glasses or contacts, the only way to know for sure if toric lenses would be needed is to obtain measurements in the office as part of your pre-operative visit. The surgeon will discuss this option with you if you are a candidate.

 

Multifocal Lenses

These lenses aim to give you greater vision in all ranges (distance, intermediate, and near). Almost exclusively, we use the Alcon PanOptixTM lens, as it gives great vision in all ranges (distance, intermediate, and near). In the FDA study, 99% of patients would have the same lens implanted again.

 

However, these lenses are associated with an increased amount of glare and halos compared to monofocal lenses, especially when driving at night. While these lenses are excellent, there is no guarantee of complete freedom from glasses. But, these lenses have the greatest potential to minimize that dependency.

 

Please come visit us and we will be happy to help explain and personalize these options for you!

Author
Dr. Christopher Weaver Christopher D. Weaver, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.A.O., is a general ophthalmologist specializing in surgical and medical treatment of diseases of the eye, including the following: cataracts and cataract surgery, medical, surgical, and laser treatments for glaucoma, surgical treatment for eyelid lesions, diabetic eye exams, and comprehensive ophthalmology. Dr. Weaver completed his ophthalmology residency as chief resident in ophthalmology at the University of Virginia Health System in Charlottesville, Virginia. He was awarded the prestigious Kenneth Tuck Award in 2015. Dr. Weaver is a graduate of SUNY Upstate Medical University, College of Medicine, where he received numerous academic honors and awards, including graduating Magna Cum Laude in 2012, induction into the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society and Gold Humanism Society in 2011, and receiving the Excellence in Clinical Skills Award in 2010.

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