Cataracts at Medical Eye Center
As the second leading cause of visual impairment in the world, cataract surgery is the most commonly performed surgery in the United States.
At Medical Eye Center, our compassionate, expertly trained surgeons are dedicated to providing the best possible visual outcomes for our patients, and have performed over 17,000 cataract procedures, placing them among the most experienced cataract surgeons in the nation.
If you’re considering cataract surgery, our surgeons will work hand-in-hand with you to determine the best possible course of action based on your eye conditions, vision goals, and lifestyle.
Becoming a Patient at Medical Eye Center
At Medical Eye Center, we’re committed to creating a comfortable, safe environment for our patients. Our facilities have been designed with patient comfort in mind, and you will be treated in a state-of-the-art environment with the latest in eye care technology.
If you’re not already a patient with us, we work closely with other eye doctors in the region. If you’ve been referred to us for evaluation or treatment, we will send a report of your examination to your referring physician.
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What are cataracts?
Cataracts develop as part of the normal aging process, and affect different people in different ways.
Cataracts occur when the lens of the eye turns cloudy. As a result, the light entering the eye is scattered and causes increasingly blurred vision. Cataracts can also develop due to contributing factors such as:
- Other eye diseases
- Systemic diseases including diabetes
- Hereditary factors
- Ultraviolet light
How can I tell if I’m developing cataracts?
Cataracts present themselves through a variety of symptoms. If you’re curious whether or not you may be developing cataracts, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do halos around oncoming headlights bother you while driving at night?
- Is reading a strain because the text looks blurry?
- Are you using brighter lights for indoor activities?
- Do colors look increasingly dull or yellow?
- Is it becoming harder to recognize familiar faces?
- Are you experiencing double vision, even with one eye closed?
- Are you frequently needing to change your glasses or contact lens prescription?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you may be beginning to develop cataracts.
Luckily, modern cataract surgery is a safe, quick, relatively painless outpatient procedure, and is one of the most common medical procedures among persons 65 and older.
What is cataract surgery?
What happens during the procedure?
During the procedure, your eye will be dilated and numbed, and a small incision will be made. Using a technique called phacoemulsification, your surgeon will then insert an instrument that uses ultrasound to break up and remove your cataract. Afterwards, the new intraocular lens will be placed into your eye.
Conscious sedation will be used during the procedure, and our Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA’s) will be with you the entire time to monitor your vital functions and modify your anesthesia to help ensure your maximum safety and comfort.
How long does cataract surgery last?
The average cataract procedure lasts between 10-15 minutes. The entire experience, from initial preparation to recovery time, lasts around 1-2 hours.
What is the recovery process like?
The recovery process for cataract surgery is typically quick and painless. You won’t need to wear an eye patch, and you’ll be given drops to apply to your eye to aid in the healing process. The degree to which you will need glasses after surgery will depend on several factors, including the type of lens implant you choose.
Types of Intraocular Lens Implants
Cataract surgery not only removes your cataracts, but also offers you an opportunity to reduce your dependency on glasses. You have a choice as to which intraocular lens (IOL) is implanted during your surgery.
Single-Focus Intraocular Lens Implants
A single-focus IOL has one point of focus, which is usually distance vision. If you choose a single-focus IOL, you will generally need glasses for near activities like reading. On the other hand, if your single-focus IOLs are focused on near vision, you will typically need glasses to see distant objects clearly. This is the case even if you didn’t need glasses before surgery.
Custom Intraocular Lens Implants
Custom IOLs are advanced lens implants that not only treat cataracts, but also improve distance vision, reading vision, and everything in between. Your doctor will help determine which implant is best for you.
Which intraocular lens is right for me?
After reviewing the overall health of your eyes, your surgeon will discuss your options and help you choose the IOL that best fits your individual needs and lifestyle. While no lens implant can re-create the vision of a 20-year-old, many patients report being able to read the newspaper, restaurant menus, and food labels without glasses after receiving Custom IOL implants—all in addition to the clearer distance vision that regular cataract surgery provides.
Types of Custom IOLs:
multi-focal Intraocular Lens Implants
Medical Eye Center is pleased to offer the most advanced multi-focal IOL technology, including the recently FDA-approved tri-focal lens. However, if you frequently drive at night, keep in mind that this lens can produce rings or halos around bright lights, which may make driving at night disorienting at first. Most patients adjust to this effect given time.
A multifocal IOL contains multiple zones that focus light at a variety of distances, allowing you to see a continuous range of vision without glasses. This results in excellent visual acuity of close up and far away objects. Many patients report the ability to read small print and see distances, both without glasses.
Toric Intraocular Lens Implants
If you have astigmatism, your surgeon may recommend a Toric IOL, which helps restore clarity to distance vision. Correcting astigmatism once required tiny limbal relaxing incisions (LRIs) to be made in the cornea to change its shape. Now, Toric IOLs can replace the need for these incisions in patients with mild to moderate astigmatism. For those with higher levels of astigmatism, a combination of technologies may be used. Generally, these procedures reduce the thickness of your glasses at all distances, and may also reduce your reliance on glasses for distance vision.
RxSight Light Adjustable Lens
We are excited to offer the Light Adjustable Lens™ (LAL), FDA approved for patients with preexisting astigmatism of 0.75 diopters or more. This is the first lens that allows your eye doctor to adjust your IOL prescription after cataract surgery. The LAL is made of specialized photo-sensitive material. Unlike other lenses, which come with a pre-set prescription, the UV sensitivity of the Light Adjustable Lens allows your eye doctor to customize your prescription after surgery. This innovative technology will help you achieve vision correction that is fine-tuned just for you.
Once your eyes have healed from surgery, your doctor will schedule three to four prescription customization appointments using a Light Delivery Device (LDD). The LDD will adjust your prescription by using UV exposure to change the curvature of the lens. These follow-up appointments involve a simple light-based treatment that is non-surgical and non-invasive.
Cataract Surgery Costs and Payment Options
The cost of standard cataract surgery is typically either partially or fully covered by private insurance or Medicare.
If you choose standard cataract surgery with a single focus IOL, it’s possible to have the procedure with no out-of-pocket expenses (other than the deductibles and co-payments required by your insurance policy).
However, neither Medicare nor private insurers consider custom cataract surgery medically necessary, so each patient will be responsible for the portion that their insurance does not cover.
Apart from the surgery itself, there may be additional costs related to the surgery. Following the surgery, you will need post-operative drops to aid in the healing process, which may be partially covered by insurance, and eyeglasses and sunglasses updates that work in tandem with your new IOL, which will not likely be covered by insurance.
Talk with your insurance company to see if your insurance covers or partially covers these items. If not, you will need to pay for them out of pocket.
When talking with your insurance provider, be sure to clarify what your policy’s co-payments and deductibles are, as these can affect the cost of your surgery.
At Medical Eye Center, our goal is to make the most advanced procedures affordable for any budget. If insurance doesn’t cover all the costs of your intraocular lens implants, the CareCredit® card offers convenient payment options so you can get the procedure you want, when you want it.
- Low monthly payment plans
- No money down
- No penalty for early pay off
- No annual fees
- No application fee
- The application process is fast and confidential
See if you prequalify for a CareCredit® Credit Card. Get a decision in seconds with no impact to your credit bureau score.
How do I know if/when I need cataract surgery?
You and your doctor will determine together the appropriate treatment course for your cataracts before your vision becomes dramatically impaired. Having cataracts isn’t considered an emergency, so you can take some time to determine when surgery works for you.
Are there possible risks with cataract surgery?
Cataract surgery is a very common procedure and complications are rare. If a complication is encountered during surgery, your surgeon may perform additional measures to correct the issue and/or you may need to return for treatment of the complication. You will have several post-operative visits to monitor your progress after surgery to help ensure any possible complications are addressed.
Can the cataract return after surgery?
No, a cataract cannot return once it is removed with surgery. Your eye can, however, develop posterior capsular opacity in time, which means the membranes behind the implant have become hazy. This can quickly be remedied with a laser capsulotomy procedure to clear up your vision.
What can I expect during the recovery process?
You will be given drops to prevent infection and aid in the healing process after surgery. Your vision will be impaired during the healing process and you may experience the sensation of something being in your eye or some slight burning. This, along with any redness, is normal and will subside as the eye begins to mend.