What is a cataract?
A cataract is the clouding of the eye's naturally clear lens and is part of the regular aging process. The lens focuses light rays on the retina (layer of light-sensing cells lining the back of the eye) to produce sharp images of what we see. When the lens becomes cloudy, light rays cannot pass through it easily and vision is blurred.
What are the symptoms of a cataract?
In their earliest stages, cataracts may not be noticeable. As the eye lens becomes more clouded, vision is blurred and reduced. Signs of cataracts include:
- Blurry vision
- Poor night vision
- Seeing halo around lights
- Faded colors
- Double vision
As the lens becomes more clouded, vision gradually gets worse. When a cataract begins to affect your everyday life, it's time to consult an experienced ophthalmologist such as those at San Antonio Eye Center.
How is a cataract treated?
Once a cataract is detected during a thorough eye examination, the only way to restore clearer vision is to have cataract surgery.
Traditional cataract surgery is one of the most frequently performed and effective surgeries in the U.S., offering satisfying and predictable outcomes. However, thanks to eye care advancements, laser cataract surgery has taken that predictability one step further. By providing an enhanced level of accuracy exceeding that of manual traditional surgery, laser cataract surgery offers better visual results than ever before.
Laser Cataract Surgery Process
First, the cataract surgeon creates a surgical plan using sophisticated imaging technology that maps the unique contours of your eye. With the help of a precise femtosecond laser, the surgeon removes the clouded natural lens, before implanting a clear artificial intraocular replacement lens (IOL).
Studies have shown that laser-assisted surgery can limit damage to your eye during surgery, and that it ensures more predictable and even incisions to help with healing and lens placement.
Implantable Intraocular Lenses (IOLs)
Tiny, clear intraocular lenses (IOLs) are implanted during cataract surgery to replace the natural cloudy lens. There are a variety of IOL types, each designed to improve vision in a specific way. The lens you and your surgeon select will depend on...
- Your unique eye condition
- What kind of vision you want after surgery
- Whether you want more independence from glasses and contacts
Light Adjustable Lens
A Light Adjustable Lens (LAL) is an intraocular lens (IOL) that can be customized and optimized by the doctor after cataract surgery. The adjustability of LALs offer a whole new level of customization to cataract surgery. This customization allows doctors to make slight adjustments (post-operative) to fine-tune the patient’s vision and achieve the best results. Once the patient’s vision has been optimized/maximized, the lens will be locked permanently during the patient’s final light treatment.
At San Antonio Eye Center, your IOL options include a standard monofocal lens or a lifestyle lens. Standard monofocal lenses allow patients to see clearly at one distance, usually far. For those looking for a wider range of clear vision with less dependence on glasses, or who need correction for certain refractive errors (astigmatism and presbyopia), lifestyle lenses may be the best option.
Watch these videos to learn more about the monofocal lens and the various lifestyle lens options. Then request a cataract consultation at San Antonio Eye Center to evaluate your condition and discuss which lens may provide the vision you want after cataract surgery.
Can I afford cataract surgery?
Traditional cataract surgery is often covered by most insurance plans. However, additional costs associated with laser cataract surgery are unlikely to be covered by Medicare or private health insurance. Schedule a consultation with our refractive coordinator to learn about pricing and financing options.
Cataract surgeons who use lasers say that their advantages are especially evident when it comes to high-tech, premium implants such as presbyopia-correcting multifocal IOLs and accommodating IOLs. The advantages can include better lens placement and therefore more accurate visual outcomes.