Cataract extraction is an option for people who have clinically significant lens opacity.
During the Cataract Extraction with Lens Implantation, the eye’s natural lens is removed and replaced by a manufactured lens implant selected to compensate for the eye’s refractive errors. In effect, the lens implant acts like a permanent contact lens within the eye.
Alternatives to Surgery: There are currently no alternatives to surgery for the treatment of cataracts. You may, however, choose not to have cataract surgery and continue with your present state of vision.
At the beginning of these procedures, a small incision is made either in the sclera or on the periphery of the cornea. A delicate instrument is inserted through the incision. The tip of this instrument vibrates at ultrasonic frequency and the lens material is emulsified and aspirated. The lens implant is inserted through the incision and placed into the capsular bag. Antibiotic solutions are used around the new implant lens to reduce any risk of infection and, usually, the surgery is completed without stitches since the incisions are designed to be self-sealing.
Types of Lens Implants
When undergoing cataract surgery or refractive lens exchange, you have options when it comes to intraocular lenses (IOL). Taking into consideration that all patients will eventually experience presbyopia, the lens type you select will help determine how you will experience the effects of that age-related condition. Below are the different types of IOLs that can be implanted during your surgery. Patients can choose the standard IOL or select from several “Lifestyle Lens” options.
Standard, Single Focus Lens
With basic cataract surgery, the cataract is removed and replaced with a standard, single focus IOL. This lens can correct for the impairment caused by the cataract and prevent cataracts from forming again in the future, but it will not affect the patient’s dependence on prescription glasses for other vision problems.
Toric Lens – Lifestyle Lens
With a toric IOL, patients are able to achieve the same results of basic cataract surgery, but will have the added benefit of vision correction. This specialized IOL has the ability to correct nearsightedness or farsightedness, as well as astigmatism (a condition in which the shape of the cornea is irregular, causing vision to degrade without the help of corrective eyewear). A toric lens can help to adjust the focus of light appropriately for individuals who have astigmatism.
Multifocal Lens – Lifestyle Lens
This type of lifestyle lens corrects the patient’s ability to see at a distance, and can provide an improved ability to adjust focus at near or intermediate distances. A multifocal IOL can virtually eliminate a dependence on glasses for most patients. Some patients may still use glasses to see very fine details up close. Due to the unique capabilities of this IOL, the patient may need to go through an adjustment period, similar to adjusting to a new pair of bifocals or progressive lenses.
Multifocal Toric Lens – Lifestyle Lens
A multifocal toric lens provides all the same benefits of a multifocal lens, but also corrects for astigmatism. Light entering the eye is focused to adjust for an oblong-shaped cornea, and vision at varying distances can also be improved.
Pseudo Accommodative Lens – Lifestyle Lens
The eye’s natural lens flexes in order to adjust vision’s focus between objects at near and far distances. The pseudo accommodative lens is designed to mimic the actions of a natural lens as closely as possible, providing the highest level of vision correction out of the lifestyle lens options. Patients who select this option will be advised to perform daily focusing exercises, in an effort to strengthen the IOL’s ability to flex and focus at various distances. Pseudo accommodative IOLs can reduce or even eliminate a dependence on corrective lenses.
Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE)
Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE) may be an option for those who require vision correction. RLE is an alternative to LASIK and other forms of refractive surgery. RLE is a procedure similar to cataract surgery, but can be performed on patients without cataracts. RLE can also be used to prevent cataracts from forming in the future. The options for this surgery are the same as what is available in cataract surgery. The patient can choose a standard, single focus lens or one of the lifestyle lenses listed above. If the patient selects a standard IOL, they will still require reading glasses for near vision. With a lifestyle lens, patients can eliminate some or all dependence on prescription glasses.
Contact Gimbel Eye Centre
If you need more information about cataract surgery or refractive lens exchange, or if you would like to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced eye surgeons, please contact us today.