Cataract Surgery Procedure
Cataract surgery is performed to clear up the vision blurred by clouding of the patient's natural lens. Initially, only the cataractous lens was removed and in order to see distance and near objects clearly, "cataract glasses" were prescribed. These spectacles, due to the fact that they were usually thick and heavy, caused unwanted distortion and shifting images since they acted like a magnifying glass. With the advent of contact lenses, some of the visually detrimental effects of cataract glasses were corrected, but they brought with them other annoying issues. Some of these issues include the growth of unwanted corneal vessels, handling and care problems for the elderly patient, and expensive replacement costs.
The newest discovery of intraocular lenses that are placed inside a patient's eye during cataract surgery in order to correct their vision have been refined over the years. Virtually everyone undergoing cataract surgery today will have one implanted at the time of surgery, not having to rely on cumbersome cataract spectacles or contact lenses. Today's intraocular lenses are a vast improvement compared to the earlier versions in terms of safety and clarity of vision. Even with an intraocular lens implanted at the time of surgery, patients need to wear glasses to see their best after surgery, in most cases.
Treatment of Cataracts | Cataract Surgery Cost
Recent events in the evolution of cataract treatment focused on improving vision so that the patient was able to see well with just the intraocular lens being implanted, not needing spectacles to see at distance and near. Early models of these so called "focusing" intraocular lenses gave mixed results with the quality of vision frequently being degraded by unwanted images, halos and lack of clarity. The newest types of these lenses are referred to as "premium lenses" that have improved on the original concept of doing away with glasses after cataract surgery. Yet, they are still plagued in many cases by optical quality degradation and inability to see well at all viewing distances. Spectacle correction after "premium lens" surgery may still be needed and if poor optical quality persists the lenses may have to be removed and replaced by a regular monofocal intraocular lens. They also come with a hefty price tag, since Medicare allows the operating surgeon to balance bill the patient if they want to use this option. Cataract surgeons usually charge the patient between two to three thousand dollars per eye for the extra work and time involved in choosing the best option, among the different types of these intraocular lenses being offered.
Intraocular Lens Implant Surgery
Another time tested option, that of monovision correction, where one eye is focused for near vision (non dominant eye) and the other eye is focused for distance vision (dominant eye), can be performed to make the patient spectacle independent in many cases after cataract surgery and intraocular lens implantation. Determining which eye is the dominant eye is a simple in-office test, as easy as having the patient point their finger in the corner of an exam room, and then alternately closing one's eyes to see if the finger seems to move from its original position. Furthermore, there is no extra charge to the patient if this surgical option is chosen. However, not everyone can adapt to monovision corrected intraocular lenses, since it affects depth perception. The most successful cataract patients to utilize this option are current or previous contact lens wearers, who have comfortably used monovision corrected contact lenses. If a patient is interested in monovision corrected intraocular lenses and has not previously worn monovision contact lenses, then a trial of this type of contact lens can be performed, prior to cataract surgery to see if it is visually tolerated by the patient.
Vision After Cataract Surgery
As you can see, optical correction after cataract surgery with intraocular lens implantation is a work in progress with continual refinements that enhance the patient's quality of vision. The ultimate goal of cataract treatment is to make the patient comfortable, with whatever visually corrective option they choose. For more information about cataract surgery in St. Petersburg, contact Dr. Goldberg’s office at (727) 521-4669.