How the Eye Focuses
The lens in the eye allows us to adjust our focus from far to near. Reading a book or reading a road sign happens without much thought. As we age, unfortunately, the lens changes. Presbyopia, which literally means “old eyes”, is a normal and expected consequence of the aging process. The crystalline lens within your eyes is soft and flexible when you are younger but becomes less flexible as we age making it harder to focus our eyes after age 40. Eventually the aging process causes the lens in the eye to become cloudy. This loss in transparency is called a cataract. When the cataract begins to interfere with our daily activities, it must be surgically removed.
In cataract surgery, the crystalline lens in the eye is removed and replaced with a man made lens. A traditional implant during cataract surgery is rigid and cannot provide the variable focusing of a youthful eye.
New implantable lenses attempt to correct this limited focusing with specially designed optics.
Helping You Choose the Best Lens Implant
In the past, the choice of which type of lens implant to have was really made by the cataract surgeon. That’s because there really weren’t any options for patients. All lens implants were of a type called a monofocal lens implant. A monofocal lens implant provides excellent vision after cataract surgery-but only at one set distance-usually for seeing things at a distance. This means for seeing distant signs when driving, going to a movie or going to a ballgame, a monofocal lens implant will provide the vision you need to see clearly in the distance. But with a monofocal lens implant you will most likely need to wear glasses for any type of near vision activity-for example reading, knitting, sewing, playing cards or keeping your golf score will require you to wear glasses.
Today, your cataract surgeon is able to offer you the choice of a multifocal lens implant. A multifocal lens implant provides excellent vision after cataract surgery at a variety of distances. ReSTOR, ReZoom and Crystalens are types of multifocal lens implants your cataract surgeon might suggest. Multifocal lens implants correct both your distance vision and your presbyopia after cataract surgery. For the vast majority of patients, having a multifocal lens implant means that you will be able to see at distance and up close without being as dependent on glasses. So, patients choosing to have a multifocal lens implant will likely find that they can drive, watch television, read or do crafts-without the need for glasses.
Will I Need Glasses After Cataract Surgery?
In general, patients who choose to have monofocal lens implants will be dependent on glasses either some or most of the time in about 70% of cases. Patients who choose to have multifocal lens implants will only be dependent on glasses either some or most of the time in about 15% of cases. So, patients choosing multifocal lens implants typically experience a greater overall freedom from glasses allowing them to participate in most everyday activities without dependence on, or the hassle of glasses.
Understanding the cost
If you decide to have a multifocal lens implant, you need to understand that there are additional fees related to the multifocal lens implant. Medicare and most insurances cover the cost of the cataract surgery, the surgical facility fee for cataract surgery, the surgeon’s fee for cataract surgery-but not the cost of the multifocal lens and its implantation. In most cases, the additional cost of the multifocal lens is the responsibility of the patient. The cataract surgeon’s staff will be able to review the cost as well as the payment options, should you decide that the multifocal lens is the best choice.