Cataracts occur when protein cells begin to clump within your internal lens. The condition causes progressive vision loss. In the early stages, these symptoms may be virtually unnoticeable, which is one reason why it is important to schedule your routine eye exams. In fact, when cataracts first start to develop, you may notice an improvement in your near vision. However, as the cataracts grow, your vision may gradually become foggy. You may also struggle with glare, difficulties with night vision, and problems distinguishing fine details.
In the early stages of cataracts, you may find that a stronger prescription or a new set of reading glasses is all that is needed to treat the condition. However, as the cataracts grow larger, they will obscure more of your vision, and you may find that your quality of life is compromised. When this happens, cataract surgery is the only cure. Most patients wait to undergo surgery until the condition progresses to a degree that can inhibit the ability to drive or carry out other important day to day tasks.
During cataract surgery, your doctor will use an advanced Alcon LenSx® laser to create an incision in your cornea. Next, the doctor will replace your clouded lens with an artificial intraocular lens, or IOL. We offer a variety of IOLs, and our doctors will help you select the right one for your needs. Options include monofocal (corrects vision at one distance only), multifocal (corrects both near and far distance vision), and toric lenses (for astigmatism).
Cataract surgery is a safe procedure with an unusually high success rate. Therefore, most patients who suffer a lower quality of life because of cataracts are eligible for this treatment. However, if you have been diagnosed with another eye disease, this may prevent you from undergoing cataract surgery. Additionally, while most people are surgical candidates, not every type of IOL is suitable for all patients. For example, if you frequently drive at night or if you do a lot of fine, detailed work, you may be better suited to monofocal lenses.
Cataract surgery poses very few risks, especially when it is done using advanced laser technology. However, as with all surgery, there is some chance for complications. Potential risks include infection, inflammation, retinal detachment, secondary cataract (posterior capsule opacity), dislocated IOL, glaucoma, and ptosis. However, because these complications are so rare, the vast majority of cataract patients feel that the benefits far outweigh the risks. Following cataract surgery, you can enjoy a restored quality of life, the ability to engage in a wide range of activities, and see the faces of your loved ones clearly.
Cataract surgery costs will vary from patient to patient, depending on the type of IOL you choose, whether you have one or both eyes treated, and whether you need treatments for astigmatism. Fortunately, cataract surgery is typically covered by insurance, and our administrative team will help you file your claim and get the most out of your coverage. Bear in mind, however, that your insurance may only cover the basic standard of care, which typically includes the monofocal IOL. If you select a more advanced IOL, such as a lens that treats presbyopia, you may have additional out of-pocket-costs.