A cataract is a clouding of the natural lens inside the eye. In cataract surgery, the cloudy lens is removed and replaced with a clear lens implant to restore vision. With recent technological advancements in cataract surgery, surgeons now have options that allow patients to make informed decisions on how their cataracts will be removed. Patients can choose between Basic cataract surgery and Advanced Laser Refractive cataract surgery.
Basic cataract surgery uses cutting instruments for all steps of the surgery, including opening the outer layer of the cataract. The substance of the lens is then removed with an ultrasound probe and a standard monofocal lens implant is placed.
Patients who are having Basic cataract surgery on both eyes sometimes opt for monovision. Monovision involves implanting a lens in one eye that provides near vision and a lens in the other eye that provides distance vision. Patients who do best with this method are those who previously wore monovision contact lenses. The lens implants used for this procedure are the same lenses that are used during Basic cataract surgery.
Advanced Laser Refractive cataract surgery uses laser technology and advanced lens implants to reduce or eliminate the need for eyeglasses. After the cloudy cataract is removed, it is replaced with a clear lens implant. Multifocal lens implants, such as the ReSTOR® lens, can improve near and distance vision. For patients with astigmatism, laser corneal astigmatism correction or the use of advanced astigmatism-correcting toric lens implants can be used to sharpen vision. You can learn more about multifocal and toric lens implants by clicking here.
Advanced Laser Refractive cataract surgery brings a new level of accuracy and reproducibility by automating some of the most challenging steps of cataract surgery. The outer layer of the cataract is removed with a laser, producing a more exact circular opening. The accuracy, reproducibility and customizable nature of the laser opening cannot be matched by manual techniques used in standard cataract surgery. The precision in the creation of the circular opening may permit the lens implant to be more consistently placed in a more optimal position. The laser also is used to separate the cataract into smaller segments for more efficient removal, often with less ultrasonic power.
Cataract patients who have astigmatism or who desire a multifocal lens implant to reduce or eliminate the need for glasses may be candidates for Advanced Laser Refractive cataract surgery. Your surgeon will discuss with you the risks and benefits of surgery and help determine an individualized treatment plan and the lens implant that best serves your visual needs and lifestyle.