What are Cataracts?
Our eyes works much like a camera. A clear lens is necessary in order for images to be focused clearly on the retina. At birth, our lenses are clear. Lenses can become “cloudy” or “yellow” over time, eventually degrading the quality of our vision. These “cloudy” lenses are referred to as “cataracts”. (please see cataract section for more information) While the development of cataracts can often be a natural result of the aging process, surgeons have been correcting distance vision for decades by replacing natural lenses with clear replacement lenses. Usually surgery is performed when the progression of your visual disturbance is negatively impacting activities like driving, watching television, or reading. The majority of intraocular lenses that ophthalmologists use are designed to give patients good distance vision but patients still need to wear reading glasses to see things up close.
Cataract surgery now offers the benefits of improved near, intermediate and distance vision.
If your doctor has informed you that you are a candidate for cataract surgery, you may want to consider enhancing your procedure by selecting multi-focal lenses. Unlike standard lenses, multi-focal lens design uses technology to provide patients with near, intermediate, and distance vision. Presbyopia is a condition that usually starts to affect people in their early to mid forties when they can no longer see well up close. As a result, presbyopic patients have difficulty with activities such as reading, sewing, and using the computer. In the FDA clinical studies, the majority of patients who received the types of multi-focal lenses (see multi-focal section) available at Manchester Ophthalmology reported that they no longer needed glasses for any activities. Many patients note that, after receiving these lenses, reading without glasses is as easy as it was before their forties. Even when patients opt to follow up with a pair of glasses, many find that wearing these glasses is not essential for the majority of their daily functions.
Medicare and most insurance companies cover the cost for cataract surgery using the standard intraocular lens. If you choose to proceed with a multi-focal lens, Medicare will still provide up to its allowed payment for the standard procedure and operating room time. Medicare, and supplementary insurance plans, will not cover the cost of upgrading your lens or additional testing and evaluation.
Refractive Surgery or Clear Lens Exchange for Candidates without Cataracts
Patients without cataracts may also choose a multi-focal lens to correct for far sightedness, near sightedness, and presbyopia to give them a quality range of vision like they had when they were younger. Presbyopia is a condition that usually starts to affect people in their early to mid forties when they can no longer see well up close. As a result, presbyopic patients have difficulty with activities such as reading, sewing, and using the computer. A procedure called a clear lensectomy, which is similar to cataract surgery, is performed to remove the natural lens and replace it with the multi-focal lens. Refractive surgeries are elective procedures and therefore the patient is responsible for all costs.
While mulitfocal lenses are designed with the goal of providing independence from glasses and contacts for most activities, they do not guarantee that you will be completely free from needing some correction for certain tasks. Additional refractive adjustments, such as LASIK, may be needed to correct patients to their desired distance results.