Thomasville Eye Center is now using the Catalys Precision Laser System to perform many key steps of the procedure that are traditionally performed using handheld instruments. This laser precision enables our surgeons to provide patients a comfortable, gentle and highly customized cataract treatment.
A cataract is any clouding of the normally clear lens of the eye. A natural part of aging is a gradual clouding of this lens. Diabetes, medications, injuries and other factors can hasten the clouding of your natural lens. We refer to this clouding of the lens as cataract development.
Blurred vision or glare causing difficulty with everyday tasks, such as driving, watching TV, or reading can be caused by cataracts. Your optometrist or ophthalmologist can determine if cataracts are affecting your vision during an eye examination. Cataract surgery is recommended when your vision is no longer adequate to comfortably perform your everyday activities. Many people with cataracts may experience symptoms such as:
- Cloudy, fuzzy, foggy vision
- Difficulty in seeing to drive, especially at night
- Trouble seeing to do close work
- Problems watching television
- Colors that seem dull, faded, not as bright
- Frequent changes and a stronger glasses prescription
- Halos around lights
- Bothersome glare
Cataracts can only be corrected with surgery. Recent advances in cataract surgery have improved its safety and effectiveness. Studies have shown that most patients notice a significant lifestyle improvement following cataract surgery due to better vision.
The surgery takes about ten minutes and is painless. You are usually in and out of our facility in less than 90 minutes. We have an anesthetist present to assist patients with sedation so that patients are not anxious before or during the procedure. Our Surgery Center which is part of our office in Thomasville is accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations.
Medicare has recently changed policy allowing you to upgrade to a presbyopia correcting IOL (intraocular lens) if you are willing to pay some additional out of pocket cost. This upgrade might allow you to go without glasses for both distance and reading. Some choices can even give you computer vision without glasses.
During cataract surgery your ophthalmologist removes the cloudy natural lens and replaces it with an intraocular lens (IOL) in order to restore your vision. This is a small artificial lens, usually made of silicone or acrylic material, surgically and permanently placed inside the eye.
What Is Presbyopia?
As we age, most patients need reading glasses or bifocals. This condition is called presbyopia. New implants called presbyopia correcting IOLs (Restor® and Tecnis® Multifocal)have been developed to compensate for both distance and near vision. These are not appropriate for all patients. The various choices of IOLs are described below.
Single Focus IOL
This choice is made for most patients. It uses tried and true technology to correct vision to a single fixed focus, usually distance. Patients with single focus implants usually have good distance vision, but may need glasses for reading. Medicare and insurance will cover the cost of these IOLs.
Multifocal IOLs (Restor®, Tecnis® Multifocal)
Multifocal IOLs are somewhat like trifocals in that they have different rings of focus built into the IOL. They offer reduced dependence on glasses following cataract surgery by providing simultaneous near and distance vision in each eye. One downside to these lenses is they can cause glare and halos at night which can be enough to interfere with nighttime driving.
Although multifocals may represent one of your best options for reducing your dependence on glasses, it is not possible to guarantee that you will be able to throw away your glasses. Multifocal lenses work best when placed in both eyes so that both eyes can work together.
Extended Focus Implants (Tecnis ®)
The Symfony IOL is an implant that allows for good intermediate and distance vision while also providing the ability for some patients to read magazine size print without glasses. Over-the-counter reading glasses are still needed for small print. This lens implant is great for patients who use a computer, I-pad, Kindle, or other handheld devices and also need good distance vision. For patients who spend a lot of time driving at night, these lenses may cause mild glare and halos which can interfere with nighttime driving.
- Visit the Symfony® IOL Website for more information
In summary, presbyopia correcting IOLs are helping many patients reduce their dependence on eyeglasses, but there is some additional out of pocket cost for these lenses. These lenses are not for everyone. The single focus lenses are still an excellent choice understanding that patients may continue to be dependent on glasses. FDA studies on these lenses show that with the presbyopia correcting lenses about 80% of patients report that they rarely need glasses. With the single focus IOLs most patients continue to use glasses for reading.