What are cataracts?

A cataract occurs when the lens of the eye turns cloudy. As a result, the light entering the eye is scattered and causes increasingly blurred vision.

Who is at risk for cataracts?

Nearly everyone will develop cataracts at some point in their lifetime, typically near retirement age.

What causes cataracts?

Cataracts develop as part of the normal aging process. Contributing factors may also include:

  • Other eye diseases
  • Systemic diseases including diabetes
  • Medications
  • Hereditary factors
  • Ultraviolet light

Cataract Symptoms

Cataracts affect different people in different ways. Some people live their whole lives without any problems from cataracts. The most common vision problems from cataracts are:

  • Clouded or blurry vision
  • Glare or halos around lights
  • Increasing difficulty with night vision and driving
  • Bright light is needed for reading and other activities
  • Fading or yellowing of colors
  • Double vision (even when one eye is closed)
  • Frequent need to change eyeglass or contact lens prescription

Cataract Treatment Options

Glasses do not eliminate cataract symptoms. Cataract surgery with an intraocular lens (IOL) is the only effective treatment.

Cataracts and Cataract Surgery

  • Do halos around oncoming headlights make you feel unsafe 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?

These are some of the most common ways cataract symptoms can affect your daily life. While the changes are usually very slow, many cataracts get worse over time. Age-related cataracts are the leading cause of visual impairment in the United States and around the world. In countries where people don’t have access to eye care, a very advanced cataract can cause blindness. As long as you have routine eye exams, however, you and your doctor will be able to monitor your cataracts and choose the appropriate treatment before your vision is dramatically impaired.

Modern cataract surgery is a quick, relatively painless outpatient procedure. In fact, cataract surgery is one of the most common medical procedures among persons 65 and older. Advances in technology continue to improve the safety of the cataract procedure and the visual outcomes for patients.

Medical Eye Center’s cataract surgery specialists Drs. Paul JorizzoMatt Oliva, Helen Koenigsman, and John Welling have performed over 17,000 cataract procedures, placing them among the most experienced cataract surgeons in the nation. Our surgeons are board certified, fellowship trained specialists who use the latest technology to help achieve the best possible results. That’s why Medical Eye Center is one of the most respected ophthalmology practices in Oregon.

If you’ve been diagnosed with cataracts, we will work hand-in-hand with you to determine the best possible course of action based on your eye conditions, vision goals and lifestyle. Our surgeons are excited to offer the latest custom intraocular lens implants (IOLs) that can help reduce your need for glasses after surgery. Medical Eye Center was the first center in southern Oregon to implant Custom IOL’s—and our surgeons remain the most experienced in the region. An important part of the Custom IOL procedure is the ability to fine tune your results, as needed, with LASIK or other laser vision correction surgery. We are the only center in our region that performs LASIK to optimize your custom IOL result.

Medicare covers the basic level of cataract surgery with a standard intraocular lens. Medicare does not, however, consider custom cataract surgery medically necessary, so each patient will be responsible for the portion Medicare doesn’t cover. At Medical Eye Center, we believe financial considerations shouldn’t be an obstacle to your best possible vision. Our goal is to make the most advanced procedures affordable for any budget.

Learn more about cataract surgery in the pages at the right, or feel free to call our offices in Medford or Grants Pass and schedule an appointment. We’re happy to answer your questions!

How does cataract surgery work?

At Medical Eye Center, we use the most advanced technique called phacoemulsification. With this approach, a small incision is made in the eye and the cataract is broken up and removed. A new, clear intraocular lens (IOL) is then placed in the eye.

Our Cataract Surgery Center

Medical Eye Center has a specialized cataract surgery center in Medford, Oregon that’s devoted exclusively to surgical treatment of the eye. Our dedicated team performs thousands of cataract surgeries each year. Anesthesia providers are integrated into the team, enhancing our ability to provide comfort and safety to our patients. All our providers, including the anesthetist, accept Medicare, thereby reducing your out-of-pocket expense.

Your Referring Doctor

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.

After Cataract Surgery

The eye can usually be anesthetized using eye drops so a patch is not required. This allows patients to start enjoying their improved vision immediately. You will, however, need glasses after surgery, especially for near and intermediate vision, even if you didn’t need glasses before surgery.

Types of Intraocular Lens Implants

Cataract surgery not only removes your cataracts, but also offers an opportunity to reduce your dependency on glasses. You have a choice as to which intraocular lens (IOL) is implanted during your surgery. A standard mono-focal IOL will replace the cataract and improve your vision. There are now, however, more advanced lens implants called “Custom IOLs” that not only treat cataracts, but also improve distance vision, reading vision and everything in between. Medical Eye Center offers Custom IOLs as part of our ongoing commitment to provide the latest technology and best visual outcomes.

Which intraocular lens is right for me?

Dr. Paul JorizzoDr. Matt OlivaDr. Helen Koenigsman, and Dr. John Welling are Medical Eye Center’s skilled and experienced cataract surgeons. 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.

Standard Intraocular Lens Implants

A standard mono-focal IOL has one point of focus, which is usually distance vision. If you choose standard IOLs, you will generally need glasses for near activities like reading. On the other hand, if your mono-focal IOLs are focused on near vision, you would 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 a revolutionary advance over the standard mono-focal IOL. Medical Eye Center was one of the first eye practices in the country to offer these premium lens implants for patients who choose custom cataract surgery. Your doctor will help determine which implant is best for you. Each option is  outlined below.

Multi-focal Intraocular Lens Implants

A multi-focal 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. The Alcon ReSTOR® IOL is the multi-focal IOL we have chosen for our patients. This lens can however, produce rings or halos around bright lights and may make it difficult to see in low light situations, such as driving at night. While most patients adapt to this effect over a period of several months, the ReStor IOL is be a good choice if near vision is your priority.

Accommodating Intraocular Lens Implants

An accommodating IOL is designed to flex much like your eye’s healthy, natural lens, providing a continuous range of vision as you constantly change focus on the world around you. The Crystalens® IOL is the only FDA approved accommodating IOL. This lens has the ability to “accommodate,” or change shape, allowing it to focus on both far and near objects. The Crystalens IOL tends to provide excellent distance and intermediate vision. Most patients can function well without glasses for distance and casual reading, but may need glasses for fine print and very close work. Click here to learn more about the Crystalens IOL.

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 that tiny limbal relaxing incisions (LRIs)  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.

Who is eligible for Custom IOLs?

Keep in mind that not all patients are candidates for Custom IOLs. A full examination by one of our surgeons will be required. There are many IOLs available and our surgeons have selected several that they believe work well for their patients. It’s important to maintain realistic expectations with any lens choice. No intraocular lens is perfect, and there is no way to completely eliminate your glasses. Compared to a standard mono-focal lens implant, however, Custom IOLs are the best option to allow you to continue to enjoy your favorite hobbies and active lifestyle with much less dependency on glasses.

Why choose Medical Eye Center?

The surgeons at Medical Eye Center were the first in Southern Oregon to use Custom IOLs, giving them the most experience with custom cataract procedures. An important aspect of the procedure is the ability to fine-tune vision results with laser vision correction surgery, such as LASIK. Medical Eye Center is also the regional leader in LASIK surgery and we have a state-of-the-art laser vision correction center at our Medford facility. As an added benefit, if needed, LASIK is included in the cost of your multi-focal or accommodating IOL surgery. No other regional eye center can offer this kind of exceptional service and experience. Medical Eye Center is dedicated to helping you achieve your best vision—and we will be there for you every step of the way.

What do custom intraocular lenses cost?

Medicare covers the basic level of cataract surgery with a standard mono-focal intraocular lens. Medicare does not consider Custom IOLs medically necessary, so there is an added expense that each patient will be responsible for. This is because Custom IOLs require a higher level of pre-surgical measurement and a more demanding surgical technique. Affordable monthly payment plans are available and you can learn more about our financing options. Or, call us today for a complimentary consultation. We’re happy to discuss all the options with you.


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
It’s easy to apply, just click and go to CareCredit’s website.

Get EyeSmart

Visit the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s webpage on Intraocular Lens Implants.