Over time, the natural crystalline lens of the eye can become clouded, which obstructs a person’s vision. This condition, known as cataracts, is part of the natural aging process, but can be treated with cataract surgery — a procedure that is one of the most common operations performed in modern medicine today. At Nevada Eye Consultants, our experienced cataract surgeons utilize the latest technology and techniques to ensure the highest level of patient safety, as well as unsurpassed outcomes.
During cataract surgery, the eye’s natural lens is removed and replaced, effectively eliminating the cataracts, and preventing them from developing again in the future. Depending on your personal preferences, we offer several cataract surgery options that can meet your needs:
Standard Cataract Surgery
Covered (partially or fully) by Medicare and most insurance plans, this procedure replaces the clouded lens with a standard monofocal (single focus) intraocular lens (IOL). This procedure does not address any vision problems beyond the cataracts themselves, so corrective eyewear may still be needed after surgery.
Custom Cataract Surgery
With Custom Cataract Surgery, patients are able to correct astigmatism and lessen their dependence on glasses or contact lenses. Through advanced technology and testing, as well as state-of-the-art toric IOLs, we are able to treat cataracts, in addition to addressing refractive errors. Certain patients may also benefit from limbal relaxing incisions (LRIs) to further correct astigmatism. These incisions can be placed using the LenSx® laser, for improved accuracy. Although some patients might still require corrective eyewear for close vision, the ORA™ System provides us with precise measurements that can help minimize the necessity of reading glasses after surgery.
Custom Premium Cataract Surgery
Patients with cataracts who wish to eliminate the need for corrective lenses can benefit from Custom Premium Cataract Surgery. Innovative multifocal IOLs allow for vision correction at both near and far distances (and everywhere in between). Accommodating IOLs, which flex to mimic the movement of a healthy, youthful natural lens, are another option available for this type of cataract surgery. For the most precise results possible, we use the ORA™ System for real-time analysis and measurements during Custom Premium Cataract Surgery.
Custom Laser Cataract Surgery
Patients who elect to have either Custom or Custom Premium Cataract Surgery may choose to have Custom Laser Surgery as well. For enhanced precision in our cataract surgery procedures, we utilize the LenSx™ femtosecond laser for qualified candidates. This laser is used in place of a traditional blade during surgery, and allows for unmatched accuracy.
Vision Preference Checklist
Not sure which option is right for you? Our Vision Preference Checklist can help us better understand your vision needs and goals, ultimately helping our surgeons to assist you in determining which option can best address your lifestyle and needs.
What To Expect
To ensure patient comfort throughout surgery, an anesthesiologist will administer a light sedative, as well as anesthetic eye drops prior to the procedure. The surgery itself typically does not take very long (usually only about ten to fifteen minutes), and is designed to be virtually painless. To remove the cataract, a small incision is made on the cornea. The surgeon will then utilize ultrasonic waves to break up the cataract, making it easy to remove. Once removed, the eye’s natural lens is replaced with an intraocular lens (IOL). Stitches are generally not needed, and the incision should close and heal naturally. Although the procedure itself is brief, patients should expect to be at the surgery center for approximately two hours, to allow for surgical preparation, as well as recovery. Patients should have a friend or family member drive them to and from surgery.
After cataract surgery, patients will be provided with medicated eye drops and protective shields for their eyes. Patients should be able to return home on the same day as their procedure, but may not be able to drive or perform certain tasks for at least one day. Recovery time can vary from person to person — healing is usually completed over the course of a few weeks following surgery, but slight vision improvement can often be seen as soon as the day after surgery. Vision will continue to improve as healing continues. To promote proper recovery, patients should be sure to follow any postoperative care instructions provided by their surgeon.
Depending on your vision preferences, you may wish to lessen your dependence on glasses or contacts as part of your cataract surgery. Even if you do not have corrective eyewear currently, it is likely that you may need it in the future, as presbyopia is part of the natural aging process. To simultaneously address various eye conditions while treating cataracts, we offer multifocal IOLs, accommodating IOLs, and toric IOLs.
Multifocal/Extended Depth of Focus (EDOF) IOLs
Multifocal IOLs are designed to assist patients with near, far, and intermediate distance vision. Patients who receive multifocal IOLs as part of cataract surgery or refractive lens exchange (RLE) should be able to see clearly without the need for corrective lenses. Unlike monofocal IOLs, which focus light on a single point of the retina, multifocal IOLs work to focus light on different parts of the retina. This feature allows the patient to clearly view images at varying distances. The FDA-approved multifocal IOLs available at our practice are the AcrySof® IQ ReSTOR® multifocal IOL and TECNIS® multifocal IOL. Our surgeons are skilled and experienced at placing these IOLs, and can discuss your individual needs and expectations with you to determine which IOL is most appropriate.
Accommodating IOLs – Crystalens® and Trulign Toric®
Similar to multifocal IOLs, accommodating IOLs help patients to clearly see up-close, far away, and in between. To accomplish this benefit, accommodating lenses mimic the movements of a natural lens. In the human eye, the natural crystalline lens flexes in order to focus on images at varying distances. As we age, the lens may not be able to flex as well, which leads to presbyopia. An accommodating lens flexes in the same way that a youthful natural lens does, allowing the patient to see clearly at all distances. It may take time to re-train the eye’s muscles to work with the accommodating IOL, so achieving a full range of distance vision may take up to a year after cataract surgery. At Nevada Eye Consultants, we use the FDA-approved Crystalens® AO for qualified patients who wish to have an accommodating IOL.
Acrysof® Toric® IOL
The AcrySof® IQ Toric IOL is used to treat cataracts in patients who also have astigmatism (standard cataract surgery using a monofocal IOL does not address astigmatism). These specialized IOLs can correct the effects of astigmatism, providing the patient with clear distance vision. Some patients may still require reading glasses for up-close vision after surgery. Patients who have extreme cases of astigmatism may benefit from limbal relaxing incisions, in addition to toric IOLs. Limbal relaxing incisions (LRIs) can often help patients to reduce or eliminate their dependence on glasses or contact lenses after cataract surgery. LRIs can be placed using the LenSx® femtosecond laser during cataract surgery, and will help to reshape the eye’s cornea, effectively correcting the astigmatism.
Cataract Surgery Technology
To ensure the best possible outcomes for our cataract surgery patients, we use only the most advanced surgical equipment. The LenSx® femtosecond laser and the ORA™ (Optiwave Refractive Analysis) System allow us to provide our patients with unsurpassed comfort and results.
Frequently Asked Cataract Surgery Questions
What is a Cataract?
The eye’s natural lens is clear, and allows light to pass through it to be focused on the retina. When cataracts are formed, the lenses become clouded, leading to blurred or distorted vision.
How Can I Tell if I Have Cataracts?
The most common symptoms of cataracts include cloudy or blurred vision, noticing that colors seem faded, difficulty seeing at night, and glare from bright light sources. Patients who have developed cataracts may also notice that corrective lenses are no longer effective.
How Are Cataracts Treated?
Cataract surgery is the only effective treatment for cataracts. During cataract surgery, the clouded natural lens is removed and replaced with an intraocular lens (IOL). Patients can select from a variety of IOLs based on their vision preferences.
What Causes Cataracts?
Aside from being a part of the natural aging process, it is not yet known what causes cataracts. However, some potential risk factors include diabetes, ultraviolet (UV) light exposure, smoking cigarettes, drug abuse, extensive alcohol consumption, and a family history of cataracts.
How Soon Can I Drive After Surgery?
Although you will need a friend or family member to drive you home after surgery, many patients are able to see well enough to drive within one day. Some patients may not be comfortable enough with their range of vision right away, and will typically wait a few days before they feel safe to drive again.
Will I Still Need Glasses or Contact Lenses After Surgery?
Standard cataract surgery does not address other vision problems. However, Custom Cataract Surgery with a toric IOL or Custom Premium Cataract Surgery with either a multifocal or accommodating IOL can help address multiple vision issues simultaneously, and can reduce or eliminate the need for corrective eyewear.
Learn More About Cataracts and Cataract Surgery
If you think you may be developing cataracts, or would like more information about cataracts and cataract surgery, please contact Nevada Eye Consultants today. Our friendly staff will be happy to answer your questions, and can assist you in scheduling a consultation with one of our surgeons for more personalized answers to your questions.