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Cataract Surgery

Denver Cataract Surgery

Cataract surgery at Omni Eye Specialists is highly successful in the safe restoration of vision. We have helped many patients throughout the Colorado area. Our Denver Cataract eye surgery is considered one of the most successful surgical procedures in all of medicine.

Cataract Surgical Procedure

Our eye surgeons implant an IOL

Despite some popular claims and beliefs, cataracts cannot be magically “beamed out” of the eye with a laser. Cataract eye surgery must be performed. One cataract treatment option is a surgical procedure called phacoemulsification with implantation of an intraocular lens (IOL).

Cataract surgery using phacoemulsification involves a small (3-millimeter) (less than 3.0 mm) incision that is made with an ultrasonic tip that vibrates at 40,000 times per second to remove the cataract from the eye surgically. A permanent intraocular lens (IOL), which is individually selected for each eye care patient, replaces the cataract lens. The IOL also has an ultraviolet filter to protect the retina, in the back of the eye, from sunlight injury.

The incision is self-sealing, requiring no sutures.

Monofocal Intra Ocular Lens (IOL)

The monofocal lens has a set focal point. The lens will bring into focus an object that is at a certain distance from the eye. Objects that are not at that distance are less clear. Usually your doctor will choose a monofocal IOL that will allow you to see the clearest at a distance of twenty feet and greater. Anything that is twenty feet or further from your eye will be seen the clearest. However you will need to wear glasses if you want to see objects closer than twenty feet. Examples of activities that may require glasses are reading or using the computer. If you decide to have a monofocal IOL that focus at your reading distance or computer, you will need glasses to see at a distance clearly. Other conditions, such as astigmatism (discussed below) may limit the clarity of your vision as well. Most insurance companies and Medicare pay for the implantation of a monofocal lens. However there are IOL types that may offer you a greater range of vision clarity than a monofocal IOL. These lenses are not however covered by most insurance companies and Medicare. These lenses are described below.

Presbyopic Correcting Implants for Cataract Surgery

Multifocal or accommodative lenses

The newer IOL (intra ocular lens) types reduce or eliminate the need for glasses or contact lenses.

  • In the multifocal type, a series of focal zones or rings are designed into the IOL. Depending on where incoming light focuses through the zones, the person may be able to see both near and distant objects clearly.
  • The design of the accommodative lens allows certain eye muscles to move the IOL forward and backward, changing the focus much as it would with a natural lens, allowing near and distance vision.
  • The ability to read and perform other tasks without glasses varies from person to person but is generally best when multifocal or accommodative IOLs are placed in both eyes.
  • It usually takes 6 to 12 weeks after surgery on the second eye for the brain to adapt and vision improvement to be complete with either of these IOL types.
  • Examples of these lenses are:
    • Tecnis Multifocal
    • ReSTOR
    • Crystalens

Considerations with multifocal or accommodative IOLs

  • For many people, these IOL types reduce but do not eliminate the need for glasses or contact lenses. For example, a person can read without glasses, but the words appear less clear than with glasses.
  • Each person's success with these IOLs may depend on the size of his/her pupils and other eye health factors. People with astigmatism can ask their eye doctor about Toric IOLs and related treatments.
  • Side effects such as glare or halos around lights, or decreased sharpness of vision (contrast sensitivity) may occur, especially at night or in dim light. Most people adapt to and are not bothered by these effects, but those who frequently drive at night or need to focus on close-up work may be more satisfied with monofocal IOLs.
  • Medicare, and most other insurances, will not pay for the implantation of this lens.

Astigmatism Correcting Implants for Cataract Surgery

Toric IOL for astigmatism

This is a monofocal IOL with astigmatism correction built into the lens.

  • Astigmatism: This eye condition distorts or blurs the ability to see both near and distant objects. With astigmatism the cornea (the clear front window of the eye) is not round like a basketball, but instead is curved like a football. People with significant degrees of astigmatism are usually most satisfied with toric IOLs.

Medicare, and most other insurances, will not pay for the implantation of this lens. It is considered a Premium lens even though it only has one focal point, much like a monofocal IOL. It corrects astigmatism, but does not allow you to focus at both distant and near objects as does the accommodating or multifocal lenses do.

Protective IOL filters

IOLs include filters to protect the eye's retina from exposure to UV and other potentially damaging light radiation.

Other important cataract lens replacement considerations

  • In some cases, after healing completely from the cataract lens surgery, some people may need further correction to achieve the best vision possible. Their ophthalmologist may recommend additional surgery to exchange an IOL for another type, implant an additional IOL, or make limbal relaxing incisions in the cornea. Other laser refractive surgery may be recommended in some cases.
  • People who have had refractive surgery such as LASIK need to be carefully evaluated before getting IOLs because the ability to calculate the correct IOL prescription may be affected by the previous refractive surgery. The target refraction following cataract surgery in a patient that had previous refractive surgery may not be as accurately predicted. At Omni Eye Specialists we use several techniques to minimize the unpredictability of the refractive target.

After Cataract Surgery: Recovery

The entire cataract surgery procedure is performed in about 15 minutes with local anesthesia and anesthetic drops. You are typically in the facility for about two hours. After the operation, the healing period of recovery from cataract surgery takes about three weeks.