Refractive Cataract Surgery
For patients undergoing cataract removal, and interested in no longer needing glasses after surgery, there are several newer techniques we utilize, which may eliminate the need for glasses after surgery. Although not true in every case, many people, after surgery, are able to go the entire day without putting on glasses.
There are options!
First of all, the clearest vision possible should be the goal for every person undergoing cataract surgery. For various reasons, the eye’s natural lens becomes clouded with a cataract. The cloudy lens is then removed and replaced with a small artificial lens called an intra-ocular lens (IOL). The IOL allows clear vision to be restored and as such has been used for many years to restore a person’s sight, often using glasses to finalize the outcome; bifocals are commonly used. Medicare and other insurance providers cover the cost of this “standard” cataract surgery and IOL as described above, even paying a portion of the cost of the new glasses after surgery. This “standard” approach to cataract surgery continues to be the right choice for many patients; however, for those who have a desire to be less dependent on glasses, newer options may be considered.
Over the past few years there have been many advances in the technology associated with IOL and cataract surgery, so now there are options for patients having surgery that make it possible to significantly reduce and in some cases eliminate dependence on glasses. Although the testing for and application of these techniques are not covered by Medicare and other insurance providers, specific approval has been given to use the techniques at the patient's cost. Dr. Brister’s experience as an accomplished cataract refractive surgeon, gives our patients the unique opportunity to experience these benefits.
If it is your desire to be less dependent on glasses after your surgery, we want to help you know the options available. Dr. Brister and his staff will be glad to discuss which option best suits your lifestyle and what additional costs would be associated with the respective option.
To make this possible we make adjustments in the amounts of astigmatism by means of Limbal Relaxing Incisions or by placing an implant that corrects degrees of astigmatism.
For those who have been very near-sighted or far-sighted in the past we are able to place implants that can counter-act their previous condition and reduce their need for glasses.
Using many of the same techniques we have perfected in cataract surgery, we are able to remove the eye's natural lens and replace it with an artificial lens which better suits the needs of the eye. If someone is farsighted they need more power in their lens. We can place it in the implant and make a significant difference in how they see the world, usually without glasses. The procedure takes only about 15 minutes and allows most people to significantly reduce their need for glasses.
Many people who are not good candidates for LASIK or other laser refractive surgery may well be good candidates for Clear Lens Exchange. Clear Lens Exchange (CLE) is usually recommended to patients over 45 who wear bifocals, since it replaces the natural lens with an artificial one that cannot “accommodate” (shift focus between distant and nearby objects). Three options are available to correct for this loss:
- Multifocal lens implants – for the clearest view of any given object.
- Monovision – the eyes are adjusted so that one focuses on distant objects and the other on nearby objects.
- Bifocal or multifocal glasses or contact lenses.
If all else fails or if patients have had surgery in the past with a continuing need for glasses, many can have Lasik surgery to correct the remaining refractive error.