To understand the value of new developments in cataract surgery, it is helpful to look at the way cataract surgery has been performed traditionally. In standard cataract surgery, incisions in the eye are created by the surgeon manually. The lens is then broken up with ultrasound energy to allow the lens to be removed through a small incision with vacuum. An Intraocular Lens (IOL) implant is then placed in the eye. This lens is typically a monofocal lens, meaning it is a lens that only focuses in the distance. This surgery is primarily performed to improve the patient's quality of vision and although one's glasses prescription may improve, the surgery is not performed primarily to discontinue glasses. Any astigmatism present in the patient's eye before surgery will remain and require glasses, and glasses will be required for near tasks such as using the computer, phone, and reading. Standard cataract surgery is covered by Medicare and most commercial insurance plans, subject to the usual out of pocket expenses such as copays and deductibles. This is the standard cataract surgery option.
Astigmatism is caused when the cornea (the glassy dome on the front of the eye) is not perfectly dome shaped, but rather is elongated like a football. This causes blurred and distorted vision, and can be corrected with glasses or contact lenses after traditional cataract surgery.
Toric Intraocular Lenses (Toric IOLs) were designed for the patient with astigmatism who wishes to see well at distance after cataract surgery. At the time of cataract surgery, astigmatism is treated by using the Lensx® Femtosecond Laser System and implanting a Toric IOL in the eye. The majority of patients treated in this manner greatly reduce their need for glasses for activities such as driving, watching TV, and viewing sporting events/theater. Most patients continue to use over the counter reading glasses for near activities.
While the cataract surgery is covered by Medicare and most commercial insurance plans, the use of the Lensx® Femtosecond Laser System and Toric IOL implantation is not covered by insurance and involves an out of pocket expense that is additional to the usual out of pocket expenses such as copays and deductibles.
Other forms of cataract surgery only allow the patient to focus in the distance; near tasks such as reading and using the computer require assistance with glasses or contact lenses. Multifocal Intraocular Lenses (Multifocal IOLs) are special intraocular lenses designed to provide clear vision at all ranges. Their goal is to reduce dependence on glasses for most tasks, including reading and computer work. Multifocal Cataract Surgery is performed with the Lensx® Femtosecond Laser System, which first removes any astigmatism from the visual system and performs the initial steps of the cataract surgery. A Multifocal IOL is then implanted in the eye.
While the cataract surgery portion is covered by Medicare and most commercial insurance plans, the use of the Lensx® Femtosecond Laser System and Multifocal IOL implantation is not covered by insurance and involves an out of pocket expense that is additional to the usual out of pocket expenses such as copays and deductibles.
During your visit, you will receive a thorough examination to evaluate if you are a good candidate for this type of cataract surgery.
No procedure or implant is perfect. You should discuss potential benefits, risks, limitations, and alternatives with your doctor to determine what option is best for you and your visual needs. Not everyone is a candidate for Astigmatic or Multifocal Cataract Surgery. Your doctor will determine if either of these lenses could work for you. Please ask for more information during your next visit. We look forward to seeing you!