Cataracts cause clouded, blurry vision which continues to worsen until the condition is treated. Our friendly, highly-trained surgeons are experts and utilize the most current techniques and the best-proven technology for each patient’s best vision.
The goal of cataract surgery is to correct the decreased vision that was caused by the cataract. During the surgery, the ophthalmologist (eye surgeon) removes the cataract and puts in a new artificial lens called an intraocular lens, or IOL. The IOL will be left in the eye permanently. Cataract surgery will not correct other causes of decreased vision, such as glaucoma, diabetes, or age-related macular degeneration. Be advised, most people still need to wear glasses or contact lenses after cataract surgery for distance and/or near vision, depending on the IOL selection.
Patients with nearsightedness and farsightedness often also have astigmatism. An astigmatism is caused by an irregularly shaped cornea; instead of being round like a basketball, the cornea is shaped like a football. This change in shape can make your vision blurry. If you have significant astigmatism, you will need glasses after cataract surgery for your sharpest vision. However, you have the option to upgrade to a type of IOL (called a toric lens) that can correct astigmatism and significantly reduce/eliminate the need for glasses for either distance or near vision after cataract surgery, depending on the chosen visual target.
Patients who have cataracts have, or will eventually develop, presbyopia, a condition caused by aging that develops when your eye loses its ability to shift from distance to near vision. Presbyopia is the reason that reading glasses become necessary, typically after age 40, even for people who have had excellent distance and near vision without glasses. Presbyopic individuals require glasses that provide power for reading to see clearly at close range. There are several options available to you to achieve distance and near vision after cataract surgery, including opting for an IOL which corrects near and far vision, correcting one eye for distance and one for near (monovision) or continuing to use glasses. This is an important decision that needs to be made at the time of your surgery, so please take the time to review your options with your surgeon.
If you regularly use artificial tear eye drops or have eye dryness and irritation, ask your doctor to evaluate your eyes for signs of MGD. Cascadia Cataract Consultants offers the iLUX, a spa-like eyelid treatment which uses gentle heat and compression, which has been shown to significantly reduce dry eye symptoms and improve cataract surgery outcomes.
An IOL is a flexible plastic lens replacement that will replace your cataract-clouded natural lens. It is very small, about the size of 1/3 of a dime, and has two “arms” to keep it in place. Your surgeon will insert it rolled up, then will unfurl it and carefully place it in its final location. This allows for a very small insertion cut and quick healing. IOLs are considered to be permanent and almost never need to be replaced.
For patients undergoing cataract surgery, understanding the changes that are part of the natural aging process is important when reviewing surgical options. Because these conditions affect your lifestyle and glasses options, choosing the appropriate intraocular lens implant (IOL) prior to cataract surgery is very important.
One of our cataract surgeons will discuss IOL options with you during your pre-operation consultation and help you to choose the lens that best fits your needs and lifestyle. Here are the three options you will likely be presented with: