Cataract surgery is one of the most common surgical procedures performed in the world today. Cataract surgery involves the removal of the cloudy crystalline lens from the eye. Surgery is considered when a cataract begins to cause symptoms that interfere with daily activities.
Eye Surgeons of Indiana specializes in modern cataract surgery. All of our surgeons use a no-shot, no-stitch, no-patch technique. A tiny, self-sealing incision is made in the cornea at the front of the eye. An advanced technique called phacoemulsification, which utilizes ultrasound technology, is used to remove the cataract. The natural lens shell, or capsule, is left behind. Finally, an artificial lens known as an intraocular lens implant (IOL) is placed in this capsule to restore focusing power within the eye. The entire procedure takes approximately 10-15 minutes.
After having cataract surgery, most patients experience a rapid improvement in vision without pain or restrictions in activity. Numerous studies have shown that cataract surgery can greatly improve quality of life and make common tasks, such as reading and driving, much easier and safer. According to a survey conducted by the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS), more than 98% of cataract patients have improved vision after surgery.
In addition to improved vision, modern cataract surgery allows many patients to become less dependent on glasses or contact lenses. Patients may choose to have a specialized or premium IOL implanted at the time of their surgery. The two types of premium lenses currently available are multifocal IOLs and toric IOLs. Multifocal IOLs nearly eliminate the need for glasses after surgery, even for reading. Toric IOLs are used to correct astigmatism. For many patients, toric IOLs lessen dependence on glasses for distance vision after surgery. Eye Surgeons of Indiana specializes in using premium IOLs to maximize visual improvement after cataract surgery.
While multifocal and toric IOLs are an excellent choice for many patients, the most common type of lens implant used during cataract surgery is a monofocal or traditional IOL. These implants are designed to focus at one distance only. Our surgeons routinely use a newer type of monofocal IOL, the Tecnis® Aspheric, during surgery. In the majority of cases, a lens power is chosen so that the patient will see relatively well at distance after surgery without glasses. However, glasses or contact lenses are typically prescribed a few weeks after surgery for reading and to fine-tune distance vision. In some patients, a monofocal IOL may be focused for near instead of distance. Medicare and private insurance companies will cover the cost of cataract surgery and monofocal IOL, including the Tecnis® Aspheric.
Multifocal and toric IOLs are more expensive to produce, and this expense is not covered by Medicare or commercial insurance companies. Medicare and commercial insurance companies cover the cost of the surgery itself.
Every patient who may be a candidate for cataract surgery receives a customized, comprehensive evaluation by the doctors and staff at Eye Surgeons of Indiana prior to scheduling surgery. This includes a number of tests to determine if cataracts are significantly affecting vision quality. Other eye conditions that may impact surgical results are identified and treated as well. A thorough discussion about the type of IOL to be used during surgery is completed during the evaluation. If both eyes require surgery, they are scheduled one eye at a time, typically a week or two apart. Most surgeries at Eye Surgeons of Indiana are performed at Surgical Care Center, an ultra-modern facility designed specifically for cataract surgery. A courtesy shuttle providing door-to-door service to Surgical Care Center is available at no additional cost.
Advanced surgical techniques used at Eye Surgeons of Indiana allow a fast, pain-free experience for most patients. An intravenous (IV) sedative is given for comfort throughout the procedure. In most cases, eye drops are the only form of anesthesia necessary. A board-certified anesthesiologist is present at every case. Most surgeries take only 10-15 minutes, although patients typically are at Surgical Care Center for approximately 2 hours the day of surgery.
A rapid recovery of vision is expected in most patients after cataract surgery. Driving is restricted until the first post-operative office visit is completed (typically the day after surgery). Strenuous activities are not recommended the day of the procedure. However, most regular daily activities, including reading, exercise, and work-related activities, are OK beginning the day after surgery. In most cases, prescription eye drops are used for about a month after surgery.
Cataract surgery is permanent, and IOLs are designed to last a lifetime. While cataracts never return, approximately 30% of patients will develop some clouding of the capsule months to years after surgery. If this begins to affect vision, a simple, one-time laser treatment (YAG posterior capsulotomy) is generally recommended. An annual eye examination, usually performed by the referring eye doctor, is recommended after cataract surgery.