Have you explored all your options for cataract surgery?
Every year, over 3 million cataract surgeries are performed in the United States. Eye doctors are constantly looking to technology to improve patient outcomes. You might be surprised to learn that as of July 2022, the FDA approved a new lens for cataract surgery that dramatically improves patient eyesight. This new lens is the new SBL-3 ClearView Multifocal Intraocular Lens (IOL) which is implanted during cataract surgery and provides visual improvements for distance, intermediate, and near vision. T. Hunter Newsom, MD, and our Newsom Eye team were involved as lead investigators during the FDA trial of this technology. Newsom Eye was the first in Florida and the Eastern US to implant this new lens. The implant is like wearing a pair of progressive lenses where the top portion of the lens focuses on distance vision, and the bottom portion focuses on near vision. One of the key benefits of the ClearView IOL is that the lens does not cause rings and halos at night like other diffractive or multifocal IOLs.
Whether you recently found out you have cataracts or have been exploring surgery options for a while, it is important to learn about new, innovative lens options before making a final decision. Keep reading to learn more about which lens is the right option for you.
What are Cataracts?
Cataracts form when the clear lens of your eye becomes cloudy or discolored. This color change happens because the eye’s lens hardens and changes shape as people age. Cataracts typically affect people 60 years old or older but can occur at any age.
When cataracts first appear, they might only mildly affect your vision. With time, cataracts can make it appear that you are looking through a foggy window, and colors are less vibrant. Initially, these vision changes can be treated with contact lenses or glasses.
As cataracts progress, patients may experience problems with depth perception, blurred vision, trouble seeing in the dark, and a general decline in vision. These issues can no longer be fixed with prescription lenses, and there are no medicines or vitamins that cure cataracts. The only true cure for cataracts and restoring vision is to have them surgically removed.
What Causes Cataracts?
For many people, cataracts are the result of the natural aging process. Cataracts form when the proteins and fibers in the lens begin to stick together and cloud the lens. This affects light entering your eye and, over time, results in vision loss.
People usually develop cataracts in both eyes, although the rate of development and how much it affects your vision can vary between the eyes.
Although most cataracts are due to age, other genetic and medical conditions can increase a person’s risk for cataracts. People with a history of eye problems or past eye surgeries are at greater risk of developing cataracts. Diabetes, high blood pressure, and unprotected exposure to sunlight all put a person at higher risk for developing cataracts.
While there is no guaranteed way to eliminate your chance of developing cataracts, eye doctors recommend having regular eye exams, maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle, not smoking, reducing alcohol consumption, and using sunglasses that block UVB light. These precautions can reduce your risk of cataracts or delay their onset.
When to Have Cataract Surgery?
Deciding when to have cataract surgery can be a difficult decision. For many people, the initial diagnosis of a cataract does not mean you immediately need surgery. Vision loss associated with cataracts can be gradual, but it is essential to consider when surgery is your best option for treating the effects of vision loss.
Surgically removing your cataracts is recommended if the vision loss is beginning to affect your lifestyle. If you are having trouble seeing to work safely, driving, operating machinery, reading, going out in public, or seeing at night, it is time to talk to your eye doctor.
Gradual vision loss can sneak up on people as they slowly adjust to worse vision, but there is a solution that can resort to cataract-related vision loss.
It is important to have regular visits to your eye doctor so they can monitor your eye health. Your eye doctor can help you plan when to schedule cataract surgery.
What Happens During Cataract Surgery
Cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure, so you do not have to spend the night in a hospital. Your Newsom Eye provider will advise you on how to prepare for the surgery. Preparations can include abstaining from eating or drinking or using special eye drops to reduce inflammation and lower the risk of infection.
Before surgery, your Newsom Eye provider will take measurements of your eye and discuss with you what type of intraocular lens (IOL) to replace your damaged lens with. The IOL is an artificial lens made of flexible material that will attach to your eye.
Your eye doctor will help you decide what intraocular lens is best for you based on your hobbies, occupation, and lifestyle. You can choose between monofocal and premium lenses.
For some patients, the best option is to do blended vision. This is when the lens for one eye will correct for distance vision, and the lens for the other will correct for close objects.
The actual surgery to remove cataracts takes less than one hour to complete. During this time, your Newsom Eye ophthalmologist will numb and dilate your eye. The cataract surgeon will then remove your eye’s cloudy lens, replacing it with an artificial lens. As it heals, the artificial lens will become a permanent part of your eye.
During the procedure, you may see some light, but will not feel any pain or be able to see what the eye surgeon is doing.
Recovering From Cataract Surgery
Immediately following the procedure, you may have blurred vision as your eye heals. It would be best if you planned to have someone drive you home from the appointment, but your vision will improve within a few days. If your lens is discolored and cloudy, colors will now appear more vibrant.
You can expect about one week of total recovery time from your cataract surgery. You may be given drops to use or be asked to wear a shield to protect your eye while the lens heals.
Your Newsom Eye provider will follow up with you in the days and months following the surgery and will inform you of any rare, but possible side effects from the procedure. Our team will also discuss when you can resume your normal physical activities.
Depending on the intraocular lens inserted into your eye and your specific needs, you may need to resume wearing glasses or contacts after cataract surgery. Our team will assist you as you adjust to your new vision needs.
Cost of Cataract Surgery
Individuals must verify that their insurance provider covers the cost of cataract surgery.
Medicare and private insurance providers generally cover the cost of cataract surgery when patients meet an age and vision requirement. Often, insurance will cover the cost of the procedure and surgeon, but patients may be required to pay for a premium lens, like the new SBL-3.
Talk to your doctor if you are eager to fix your cataracts, but do not meet your insurance provider’s age or vision requirement.
Our team will help you pick the best lens based on your lifestyle and budget.
Time to Treat Your Cataracts
If you have been diagnosed with cataracts, there is no need to continue to suffer as your vision declines. Do not let vision loss from cataracts stop you from doing the activities you love.
Cataract surgery is safe and effective, and the short recovery times allow you to return to your life. Thankfully, there are great new intraocular lens options for cataract surgery that can eliminate the need for corrective lenses. There is no better time than now to contact us at Newsom Eye. Please schedule your appointment so you can start living life with NEWSOM EYES!