Cataracts are the clouding of the eye due to protein build up. Cataracts result in visual disturbances that can be alleviated with surgical intervention. The Ophthalmologist will perform the surgery and remove the cataract. There are two types of surgeries that will be based on your individualized treatment plan.
If the patient is high risk or has other medical conditions that interfere with the ability of the surgeon to replace the anatomic lens with an artificial intraocular lens, then the cataract will be removed and the vision will be corrected using contact lenses or glasses. In most cases, however, when the cataracts are removed from the eye, the anatomic lens is removed and replaced with an intra-ocular lens. This intraocular lens will correct the patient’s vision, creating 20/20 visual acuity in most patients. If 20/20 is unattainable because there is another eye pathology present, then the vision will be corrected as realistically as possible giving the specific circumstances.
There are a variety of different intraocular lens types that will offer a spectrum of benefits. Therefore, it is imperative when determining if cataract surgery is the best option for your visual needs, to discuss the different intraocular lens types available that would provide you with the best possible outcomes. Intra-ocular lenses are made of either silicone or acrylic. Some of the different types of intraocular lens types include Monofocal IOLs, Multifocal IOLs, Accommodative IOLs and Toric IOLs.
- Monofocal Intra-Ocular Lens (IOLs): The monofocal IOLs is the most commonly inserted IOL for patients during cataract removal surgery. It offers one focusing distance. That focus can be either up close, medium, or long distance. The patient will determine which type of vision they wish to have corrected with the IOL and then most individuals will have to supplement their vision with glasses or reading glasses. To determine which type of visual adjustment is most appropriate for your individual case, please speak with your Ophthalmologist.
Multifocal Intra-Ocular Lens (IOLs): Multifocal IOLs are IOLs that provide both distance and near focus simultaneously. The lens has different areas that have different preset powers. The brain learns to interpret this information allowing for automatic focusing. It takes a little bit of time for the brain to make this adjustment, so it is imperative to follow up with your Ophthalmologist to determine if this type of IOL is most appropriate for your individual case.
- Accommodative IOLs and Toric IOLs: Accommodative IOLs are IOLs that change shape to allow focus at a variety of distances. For patients with astigmatism, the Toric IOL may be the best IOL option post cataract removal. The Toric lens addresses the uneven curvature of the cornea or lens to allow for correction of astigmatism.
Cataract Removal Surgery:
The cataract removal surgery can be done outpatient in a surgery center. In many cases, if there are cataracts in both eyes, the surgery is performed on one eye and then after that eye heals, surgery is scheduled to remove the cataract from the other eye.
As with any surgery, there are associated risks. Risks associated with cataract surgery may include but are not limited to the following: eye infection, bleeding into the eye; swelling of the outside, inside or front of the eye; swelling of the retina; detached retina, damage to the other structures of the eye; pain in the eye, vision loss, dislocation of the intraocular lens.
Over time the new intraocular lens may begin to build up deposits that create cloudy vision post cataract removal. If this occurs a posterior capsulotomy can be performed in which a laser will break up these deposits that have built up in the intra-ocular lens. The posterior capsulotomy procedure will help to create a clear visual field providing that there is not any other underlying eye pathology.
Each individual is unique and responds to surgery differently. Therefore, it is imperative to speak with your Ophthalmologist so that an appropriate individualized plan of care can be established. Once an individualized plan of care has been established then appropriate intervention can be suggested.