“The topic of cataracts, lens implants and glasses comes up often among Houston eye care patients these days”, commented Galveston and Houston Cataract Surgeon Bernard Milstein, M.D. of The Eye Clinic of Texas. “With the increasing number of “baby boomers” entering the age of cataract development there are lots of questions about cataract surgery and whether lens implants can help avoid the need for glasses after a cataract is removed.” These types of questions are quite relevant as over the past 5 years, patient expectations and technology have driven a convergence of the goals of cataract surgery and refractive surgery.
Traditionally, the goal of Cataract Surgery was to remove the cloudy crystalline lens and replace it with an intraocular lens implant (IOL) of equivalent optical power so as to achieve “emmetropia” thus allowing patients to have good distance vision. The goal of Refractive Surgery is to help patients decrease or possibly even eliminate their dependence on eyeglasses or contact lenses. Today, a rapidly growing cataract patient population wants to achieve both the benefits of cataract surgery and refractive surgery in one combined procedure.
In order to meet patient expectations of being “glasses free” and help patients achieve their personal vision correction and lifestyle goals, it is necessary for us to first carefully select the type and design of lens implant as well as to accurately calculate the IOL power. The types and designs of lens implants that we work with include the following:
Monofocal Lens Implants
Monofocal lens implants are the most basic type of Lens Implant used to correct vision after removal of the crystalline lens. A Monofocal Lens Implant can provide very good vision after cataract surgery-but only at one set distance-usually for seeing things at a distance such as for driving or going to the movies. A Monofocal Lens Implant does not correct intermediate or arm’s length vision for doing things like playing cards and seeing the golf ball on the tee, or even seeing computer screens clearly. Monofocal lens implants do not correct near vision for doing things up close like seeing medicine bottles, reading, or keeping your golf score, as these tasks require the correction of presbyopia.
Toric Lens Implants
Toric lens implants correct astigmatism. For patients who have significant amounts of astigmatism prior to cataract surgery, and who do not wish to wear eyeglasses to see clearly at a distance, choosing a toric lens implant can help them be independent of glasses for tasks such as driving that require clear distance vision. Toric Lens Implants do not correct presbyopia, so that most patients still require reading glasses or bifocals to be able to comfortably perform near vision tasks such as reading and intermediate vision tasks such as computer work.
Near Vision Presbyopia Correcting Lens Implants
Near vision presbyopia correcting lens implants provide vision correction at the full range of distances-far or distance vision, arm’s length or intermediate vision and up close near vision. Depending on the specific vision requirements of the patient we can often use a presbyopia correcting multifocal lens such as the AcrySof®ReSTOR® Multifocal Lens Implant. Each of these works in a different way to help the patient achieve their vision correction goals of being able to see at a variety of distances without being dependent on eyeglasses or reading glasses. Patients choosing to have a presbyopia correcting lens implant will likely find that they can drive, watch television, play golf and keep score, read a menu, play cards or do crafts-without the need for glasses. Patients choosing a multifocal or accommodating lens implant typically experience a greater overall freedom from glasses, allowing them to participate in most everyday activities without the dependence on, or hassle of glasses.
“As cataract and refractive Surgeons, we routinely work to realistically shape patient expectations and then constantly strive to provide the medical, surgical and optical care necessary help patients meet or exceed them” commented Dr. Milstein. “When patients ask us, “Do I have to wear glasses after my cataract surgery?”, we make sure to help them understand that we can offer them the possibility of a lifestyle that minimizes or possibly eliminates their need for glasses through careful lens implant counseling”, said Dr. Milstein. “For many patients, being able to essentially be “glasses free” adds a level of convenience and comfort to their everyday lives.”
If you or someone you know has questions about cataracts, cataract surgery or lens implants (IOL) please feel free to call and schedule an appointment at The Eye Clinic of Texas at 800-423-3937, visit The Eye Clinic of Texas or facebook.com/ecot.lasik.
The Eye Clinic of Texas is a leading eye care practice serving the greater Houston, Galveston, League City and Texas City area that provides all aspects of general, medical, surgical, laser and optical eye care services. Our Board Certified Ophthalmologists perform Laser Eye Surgery such as LASIK, Cataract Surgery & Lens Implants using advanced technology IOLs to correct complex problems such as astigmatism and near vision focusing problems including presbyopia, diagnosis and management of glaucoma, diagnosis and management of diabetic retinopathy, diagnosis and management of Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) and Pediatric Ophthalmology. Texas EyeWear at The Eye Clinic of Texas provides personalized consultation and fitting of eyeglasses and eyeglass lenses for greater Houston, Galveston, League City and Texas City area patients.