What an exciting time we live in! In the past, cataract surgery required a three-day hospital stay and having to lie down with sandbags around your head to prevent you from moving. On top of that, once the cataract (the natural cloudy lens of the eye) was removed, no lens implant was placed in the eye to replace the natural lens that was removed. Consequently, people had to wear those “Coke bottle” glasses to be able to see. It was a great advancement to have a lens implant to place in the eye after surgery.
Nowadays, there are so many lens implant options available at our disposal, and we will analyze your eyes and give you our expert recommendations as to which lens implant is best for you. For instance, there is the standard lens that is covered by most insurance plans, with the advantage in that it provides clear vision, but only does so at one distance—either near or far, but not both. So you would have to wear glasses afterward most of the time. Another option is to use that same lens, but put one for distance vision and one in the other eye for near vision. This option is called monovision, and about 80% of people adapt well to this option. The only disadvantage to this is that both eyes have a different vision.
Astigmatism simply means that the front of your eye, the cornea, is not completely round. Instead, one part has a steeper curve than the other, resulting in blurred vision. Recent advancements in lens technology now allows us to correct for this with an intraocular lens called a Toric lens. A patient who has a good deal of astigmatism and chooses this lens is often astounded at how clear images appear afterward compared with before surgery. Since this is an advanced lens, insurance plans do not cover it, but they do cover the normal portion of the cataract surgery, and payment plans are available.
If you want to achieve the greatest range of vision and minimize your dependence on glasses, then the multifocal lenses will afford you this option. These include the Restor lens and Crystalens, to name a few. These lenses can be placed in either one eye (for instance, if you already had surgery in the other eye) or in both eyes, giving you the broadest range of vision and the best chance at minimizing your use of glasses after surgery. While these lenses are not covered by insurance, the surgery itself is covered as usual by insurance, and you only need to cover the difference. Payment plans are conveniently available.