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Lifestyle Lenses

Lifestyle Lenses

What is a Cataract?

A cataract is defined as a clouding of the natural lens of the eye. The lens is about the size of an M & M candy and sits just behind the colored iris in your eye. When you are born, the lens is clear but with time it becomes clouded and your vision gets blurry. A cataract can progress until eventually there is a complete loss of vision in your eye, and neither diet nor laser treatment will make the cataract go away. Cataract surgery can help you restore your vision long before you can experience loss of vision significant enough to interfere with your daily activities. 

During cataract surgery, the clouded natural lens is dissolved and replaced with a plastic intraocular lens (IOL). The IOLs used over the last 30 years are called standard monofocal IOLs because their focus is set to provide distance or near vision, but not both. Patients who receive a standard monofocal IOL usually still need to wear glasses to achieve the clearest focus for distance and near objects because of astigmatism and presbyopia.

What is Astigmatism? If I have Astigmatism, do I have options?

Astigmatism is characterized by an irregular curvature of the cornea. The eye of a person with astigmatism is shaped more like a football or the back of a spoon. For this person, when light enters the eye it is refracted more in one direction than the other, allowing only part of the object to be in focus at one time. Objects at any distance can appear blurry and wavy. About half of the population is born with corneas that are shaped in a way which create astigmatism. If you have astigmatism, and you want to see clearly in the distance, you need to wear glasses or contact lenses. Recently, a new style of IOL called a toric IOL was introduced. The toric IOL can correct, or at least partially correct your naturally occurring corneal astigmatism so you won’t be so dependent of glasses to see in the distance after cataract surgery.

What is Presbyopia? What are my choices?

With time, almost everyone is affected by presbyopia. Presbyopia is a part of the normal aging process and happens to all of us. Presbyopia is caused by the loss of flexibility of the natural lens and the weakening of the lens’s focusing muscle. It becomes evident to most of us at about age 45 and that’s why we have to start wearing reading glasses or need to begin wearing bifocals. We just can’t see up close without them. Everyone who undergoes cataract surgery with a standard monofocal IOL needs to have reading glasses to see up close afterward because presbyopia is not treated by the standard monofocal IOL. But over the past few years, there have been several IOLs introduced which correct presbyopia after cataract surgery. Patients who choose one of these presbyopia correcting IOLs can usually see far away, at midranges, and up close while greatly reducing their need for glasses, possibly eliminating them.

Paying for Your Lenses

Depending on the results of your examination, you may have the option to choose a toric IOL, or a presbyopia correcting IOL, or you may choose a standard monofocal IOL. Regardless of your options all of the lenses will help you see well, so there is no wrong choice. 

Medicare and insurance typically cover the cost of cataract surgery with a standard monofocal lens.  If you would like to take advantage of advanced lenses, like the Acrysof IQ ReSTOR or Acrysof IQ Toric IOLs, the procedure will still be covered, and you can choose to pay an additional fee for these lenses. Talk to us about those details.