Premium Lens Implants Offering
Traditionally, patients anticipating cataract surgery have been offered one option for treatment. Limited by technology and Medicare or private insurance reimbursement for the cost of the surgery, that option consisted of a monofocal intraocular lens (IOL) that corrected vision at only one working distance, either far or near. Most patients opted for uncorrected distance or driving vision and usually required reading glasses or bifocals (presbyopia correction) for near and intermediate vision. Now, the advent of new high-tech presbyopia-correcting lenses and wavefront- designed IOL’s and a breakthrough Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) ruling makes presbyopia-correcting IOL’s available to every patient. The luxury of being less dependent on glasses and contact lenses after cataract surgery is now a reality easily achieved. The new focus for cataract surgery here at Delaware Ophthalmology Consultants, as well as the highest quality practices worldwide, is to try to create a visual outcome solution optimizing the lifestyle and eye health needs of each individual patient. The goals are now similar to that of refractive surgery: the best possible vision over a full range of distances matching an individual’s specific needs and desires.
Almost everybody gets cataracts, sooner or later. The natural lens of the eye consists of mostly water and protein. Eventually, the protein molecules start to clump together causing the lens to become cloudy. When it reaches a point where it affects our vision, it is called a cataract. Light passing through this cloudy medium is scattered and unfocused causing the glare and blurriness that we experience. By removing the natural cloudy lens with a highly successful, safe, quick and painless surgical procedure and substituting a synthetic lens of a given style and power, almost complete visual recovery can be achieved. In fact, vision, reminiscent of the days of young adulthood, can be achieved. Approximately 14 million cataract procedures are performed worldwide each year with a complication rate of less than 1%.
There are three major areas that are addressed during an initial assessment prior to cataract surgery. These are: the presence of astigmatism, correction of spherical aberration, and treatment of presbyopia. Astigmatism describes a cornea (the front surface of the eye), which is irregularly shaped from birth. With a curvature more like the surface of a football than a basketball, this irregular shape prevents light rays from coming to a single focused point on the retina resulting in a blurring of the image. Although glasses and contact lenses can correct this, by utilizing a special astigmatism-correcting implant called the Alcon Toric IQ or a simple surgical procedure called a limbal relaxing incision during the cataract surgery which reshapes the cornea, the need for spectacle correction can be minimized.
Spherical aberration affects almost everyone over the age of 50. It is a result of the change in the shape of the natural lens that prevents light rays passing through the lens from focusing at a single point. At a younger age, the cornea and the lens work together to neutralize this difference. As we age, the cataractous lens loses some of its ability to neutralize this corneal induced effect. If a standard intraocular lens is used that does not address this difference, resulting spherical aberration can degrade the ultimate image. There are several lenses available that neutralize this effect enhancing the quality of the resultant visual image. Similar to laser vision correction for the cornea, these lenses use a wavefront design to give the best vision possible. Two popular examples that we use are the AMO Tecnis lens and the Alcon IQ lens.
The last consideration in the presurgical analysis for cataract surgery is the use of presbyopia-correcting implants. There are two choices, each with its strengths and weaknesses. The ReStor lens and TECNIS Multifocal IOL are similar to progressive lenses in glasses in that they allow you to see over a range of distances. The ReStor lens and Tecnis lens are diffractive design lens that focuses images at different distances onto the retina similar to a progressive lens in eyeglasses, allowing the wearer to see clearly at different working distances. Most people are highly satisfied by the spectacle independence they achieve through the use of these premium implants. In depth evaluation and discussion with your ophthalmologist will help to determine which lens would be right for you.
These new options for cataract treatment with wavefront designed monofocal lenses, astigmatism correction with toric lenses and LRIs, and presbyopia-correcting lenses bring the opportunity of spectacle freedom to individuals who choose to better match their vision to their lifestyle. These enhancements to routine cataract surgery do require an additional out-of-pocket expense, but with most insurance policies and user friendly programs such as CareCredit, the majority of the cost will be covered and payment plans for the remainder can be seamlessly created to address any added financial burden. We at Delaware Ophthalmology Consultants remain committed to lead the marketplace in offering the highest quality and safest route to improvement in our patient’s vision. We hope that you will take advantage of these choices that enhance your surgery outcomes. If you have any additional questions please contact our clinical staff.