What Is Cataract Surgery with Vision-Correcting IOLs?

Cataract surgery removes the clouded natural lens and replaces it with an artificial plastic lens. Today’s lens technology enables cataract patients to not only replace their clouded lens with a clear plastic lens, but also correct other vision issues such as nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. Working with your ophthalmologist, you can customize the procedure to your personal vision needs using today’s advance intraocular lens technologies. The process of cataract surgery is the essentially the same for everyone:

  • As in any major surgical procedure, the operating room is a sterile environment.
  • The majority of lens replacement procedures are done under local, topical anesthesia – eye drops to numb the surface of your eye. You are awake for the procedure, but your vision will be very blurry.
  • A nurse may give you some medication to help keep you calm. You may also be placed on an IV of fluids and a heart rate monitor.
  • A drape will be placed around your face so that only the eye to be operated on is visible.
  • Most people feel no pain during the procedure, which usually lasts 15 to 30 minutes.
  • The surgeon will make a small incision in the cornea with either a hand-held blade or a laser machine. In most cases, the incision is so small that stitches are not required.
  • A small ultrasonic probe, a laser or a combination of the two is used to break up and remove the damaged lens. The new lens is then inserted where there old cloudy lens was located in the eye.
  • Once the surgery is complete, the surgeon will cover the eye with a bandage or shield to protect it during the healing process.
  • After a short recovery period, you can have someone drive you home.

There are a few lens options for lens replacement surgery. Which intraocular lens (IOL) is right for you depends on your lifestyle as well as your vision needs. Your ophthalmologist should discuss your options and help you choose between:

Standard or Monofocal lenses: These lenses correct for one range of focus vision only – either near or distance, but not both. The patient will continue to rely on corrective glasses or contacts for the uncorrected range of vision as well as astigmatism.

Multifocal or accommodative intraocular lenses: Designed to give presbyopia and cataract patients clear vision for both near and far objects, so you are less dependent on glasses.

Toric intraocular lenses: A monofocal lens that also treats astigmatism. Toric lenses also help correct distance vision, but you will likely require glasses for reading.

IOL monovision: Two different lenses are used; one to correct near vision in one eye and one to correct distance vision in the other. The brain coordinates the two distances, giving cataract patients vision that reduces the need for glasses of any kind. Prior to this procedure, the ophthalmologist will provide you with a trial set of monovision corrective contact lenses to help predict your brain’s ability to coordinate monovision.

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