Cataracts, Surgery, and Lens Options

What is a cataract?

A cataract forms when the eye’s natural lens, located within the eye, becomes cloudy.  When this clouding affects vision, a cataract operation is required to remove the clouded lens and replace it with a clear, synthetic lens.

Cataract Surgery

Cataract surgery is performed as an outpatient procedure either at a hospital or surgery center. At the time of surgery, sedatives and local anesthetics are administered to relax the patient and achieve complete pain control. Two, small, self-sealing incisions are created, 1 mm and 2.0 – 2.4 mm in size respectively and the cataract is emulsified using an ultrasound probe. The new synthetic lens is implanted through the larger incision. The procedure takes approximately 5-10 minutes on average (but may vary depending on severity and complexity).

Post-operative Care and Expectations

There is rarely any true pain after cataract surgery, however some patients experience temporary, itching, burning and some watering of the eye during the first day post-operatively. Routine post-operative care involves visits at 1 day, 1 week and 1 and 3 months. Several drops are administered pre and post-operatively and generally are discontinued after 4 weeks. Most patients recognize an improvement to their vision within hours to days after surgery and vast majority have achieved final best uncorrected visual acuity by 1-2 weeks. If prescriptions for glasses are applicable, these can generally be prescribed by 1 month.

Lens Implant Options at SightLine

Synthetic Lens Implant Options

Modern medicine and technology have made available several options that will give you the benefit of becoming less dependent on glasses after surgery.  Our staff and doctors will help you determine which lens would be best for you.

The Standard Lens Implant Option

With standard cataract surgery, the cloudy lens will be removed and replaced with a single vision lens.  Measurements and calculations will be made to limit the amount of eyeglass prescription needed after surgery.  However, you will likely need to wear glasses after surgery full time for best distance and near vision.  The surgery is covered by Medicare or your insurance.  There is no additional cost for the implant lens with this option.  You will be responsible for any copays, coinsurance or deductibles per your insurance contract.

Premium Refractive Options (To reduce dependence on glasses)

The Multifocal Lens Package

This premium package includes the implantation of a special multifocal lens after the cloudy, natural lens is removed.  This lens is designed to reduce your dependence on glasses for both distance and near tasks.  The goal of this option is to eliminate the need for glasses in most activities, with the understanding that you still may need glasses for best vision for some situations.  Multifocal lenses are not covered by insurance or Medicare.  There is an additional fee for this option that is the responsibility of the patient.  This fee is in addition to any copays, coinsurance or deductibles.

The Custom Refractive Package

The custom refractive package includes special testing and calculations as well as techniques to reduce or eliminate astigmatism.  This will help to limit the need for glasses to see objects in the distance.  The goal of the custom refractive package is to drastically reduce your dependence on glasses.  Depending on the option chosen, glasses will still be required on a part-time basis.  This option may also be combined with a “mono-vision” outcome target in select cases. This service is not covered by insurance plans or Medicare.  There is an additional fee for this service that is the responsibility of the patient.  This fee is in addition to any copays, coinsurance, or deductibles.