«Oregon Eye Specialists, PC YOUR GUIDE TO CATARACT SURGERY Improving VISION. Improving LIFE. Dinelli M. Monson, M.D. Comprehensive Ophthalmology ...»
Eye Specialists, PC
Improving VISION. Improving LIFE.
Dinelli M. Monson, M.D.
Physician and Surgeon
Tualatin Clinic: 19250 SW 65th Ave, Ste 215 • 503.692.3630
Newberg Clinic: 434 Villa Road • 503.538.1341
After hours: 503.499.5801
American Board of Ophthalmology
Oregon Medical Board
Oregon Academy of Ophthalmology
Medical Society of Metropolitan Portland Current Hospital Affiliations Legacy Meridian Park Medical Center Legacy Good Samaritan Medical Center Providence Newberg Medical Center Providence St. Vincent Hospital Providence Portland Medical Center Oregon Health & Science University Medical Center Experience and Training Highly skilled cataract surgeon practicing since 2006 Trained residents cataract surgery at OHSU’s Casey Eye Institute Ophthalmology Residency, OHSU Graduate Training, Internship, Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center Doctor of Medicine, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine Bachelor of Science, University of Wisconsin-Madison Improving VISION. Improving LIFE.
The following information is intended to supplement your medical visit with your ophthalmologist. This document will help you understand cataracts, the risks of cataract surgery, and the type of replacement lens options. If you have additional questions after reading this, please be sure to ask your surgeon.
WHAT IS A CATARACT?
The eye is similar to a camera in that an image is “focused” on the back of the eye by the cornea, the lens, and sometimes with the aid of your glasses.
When the normally clear lens becomes cloudy it is Normal, healthy eye called a cataract. This can cause the image that falls on the back of your eye to be blurry. Cataracts are very common and usually become worse with time.
WHAT SYMPTOMS DO CATARACTS CAUSE?
Cataracts cause decreased vision and often cause Eye with cataract symptoms of glare. Cataracts can make it difficult to see well enough to drive or read. Sometimes cataracts can cause double vision. Cataracts can also cause colors to appear dull or washed out. A new pair of glasses will not usually improve these symptoms.
WHAT CAUSES A CATARACT?
Most cataracts are simply caused by aging, although many people develop cataracts as early as their late 40s or 50s. About 50% of Americans aged 65-74 have some degree of cataract and 70% of those aged 75 or over.
Other causes of cataracts include:
Genetics Diabetes Trauma Inflammation Sunlight or radiation exposure Exposure to medications such as steroids Improving VISION. Improving LIFE.
OES-0046 (Rev. 9/14) Page 1 of 8 There is some association of cataracts with smoking, but it is not conclusive
HOW ARE CATARACTS TREATED?
The definitive treatment is surgery. During surgery a small incision is made in the eye. The lens is broken into multiple pieces with an ultrasound machine and removed. This technique is called phacoemulsification. As part of the same procedure a new, clear artificial lens (intraocular lens or IOL) is used to replace the old lens and provide focusing power to the eye.
This new lens improves vision because it is clear and not cloudy like the cataract.
HOW DO YOU DECIDE IF IT IS TIME FOR CATARACT SURGERY?
Your ophthalmologist will examine you and discuss how significant the cataract appears. Your ophthalmologist will also examine the rest of your eye to make sure there are no other reasons for your visual complaints. If the cataract is significantly affecting your ability to drive safely, read, or live comfortably because of your vision, it may be a good time to consider surgery. The decision to pursue surgery is based on your individual needs;
your ophthalmologist can help you decide if the benefits of surgery appear to outweigh the risks of surgery. If you have other disorders of the eye impacting your vision, such as age-related macular degeneration, the cataract surgery may improve your vision, but any pre-existing disease may limit your final visual outcome.
WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT BEFORE SURGERY?
Your surgeon will need to have some measurements of the eye prior to your surgery. These measurements are critical to help determine what power of lens to insert into the eye during surgery.
Contact lenses can mold the shape of your cornea and can make the above measurements less accurate. You must be out of your contact lenses for a period of time PRIOR to good measurements being taken. If you wear soft contact lenses, please leave them out for at least 1 week Improving VISION. Improving LIFE.
OES-0046 (Rev. 9/14) Page 2 of 8 prior to getting your measurements. If you wear a hard or rigid contact lens, please consult your surgeon as 1-4 weeks is often desired.
Your doctor may prescribe drops to begin using before your surgery.
WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT THE DAY OF SURGERY?
Cataract surgery is performed on an outpatient basis in state of the art eye surgery facilities. Your doctor and surgical team will make every effort to help you feel comfortable before, during and right after your surgery. The procedure itself takes less than half an hour, however the whole process takes 2-3 hours. Light sedatives are given to provide a relaxing experience and you remain awake during the procedure. The eye is “numbed” with anesthetic solution. If you are nervous (this is normal!), an intravenous sedative can be given to you which will help you to feel more relaxed.
Please note that you will be required to eat nothing 8 hours before your surgery. Critical medications are okay which you can take with a few sips of water.
WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT AFTER THE SURGERY?
You are expected to have minimal to no pain following the surgery. Your vision may be blurry after the surgery and you may be light sensitive. It is common for you to feel a foreign body sensation for days after the surgery.
Your pupil may be dilated for 1-2 days after surgery; this is normal. It is common to see some shimmering in the periphery of your vision after surgery; this usually gets better with some time.
Your doctor will prescribe eye drops that are often used for a month after your surgery. These drops will help the eye heal and may reduce your risk for infection. You will be given an eye shield to wear over the eye for the week following your surgery.
For the first week after surgery, avoid eye rubbing and heavy lifting (over 20 pounds). This avoids unnecessary pressure on the eye. Take things easy for 1-2 weeks after the surgery. Do not go swimming or use a hot tub for 1-2 weeks after the surgery. Most people take a week off from work Improving VISION. Improving LIFE.
OES-0046 (Rev. 9/14) Page 3 of 8 after the surgery (this may not be necessary depending on your job specifics).
If you have a cataract in the other eye and it is bothersome, you can proceed with the second eye surgery, if this was your plan with your doctor.
You are not obligated to do the surgery in the second eye.
Your prescription for glasses will be prescribed approximately 3-4 weeks after your eye surgery. In the meantime, over the counter reading glasses are often helpful. Check with our expert optical staff in The Sight Shop for a convenient selection.
HOW DO I KNOW WHAT INTRAOCULAR LENS (IOL) TO CHOOSE?
There are multiple types of lenses that can be used during the surgery.
Below is a brief description of options. Choosing the right lens can be complex; the choice of what lens is best for you should be made after a thorough understanding of your options and a careful discussion with your
ophthalmologist. There are three main options to choose from:
A. Standard IOL B. Astigmatism correcting IOL C. Multifocal and Accommodating IOLs A. STANDARD IOL A standard IOL, also referred to as “monofocal” or “single focus,” gives excellent clarity of vision and is the most common IOL chosen. Insurance companies often cover the cost of a standard IOL. With a monofocal lens
patients often choose one of three options:
Monofocal option 1: Correcting for distance vision Most patients who have a standard IOL choose to have the lens correct their distance vision as best as possible. A small glasses correction for distance may still be needed, especially if you have astigmatism (see below). In this option you will still need glasses for near (e.g. reading) and intermediate (e.g. computer) work.
Improving VISION. Improving LIFE.
OES-0046 (Rev. 9/14) Page 4 of 8 Monofocal option 2: Correcting for near vision Some patients who have a standard IOL choose to have the lens correct their near vision as best as possible. In this situation a patient may not need to wear glasses for near, however may need them to drive (or other tasks to see at distance); glasses will be needed for optimum clarity.
Monofocal option 3: Monovision (one eye distance, one eye near) Monovision is when one eye is corrected for distance vision and the other eye is corrected for near vision in an attempt to decrease your dependence on wearing glasses. This option works best if you have minimal astigmatism. It’s recommended to first try monovision with contact lenses to see if you can adapt to this type of vision. Some find it too difficult to adjust to each eye working differently; while many enjoy the benefits of this option.
B. ASTIGMATISM CORRECTING IOLAstigmatism simply means that the front part of your eye is not perfectly spherical. It is very common, and for most people is not a sign of anything serious. Contact lenses or glasses usually correct astigmatism.
A “toric” or “astigmatism correcting” IOL is an option for patients with moderate amounts of astigmatism. Choosing this option if you have astigmatism can reduce your need for glasses after your surgery. If you choose a standard lens implant (i.e. no astigmatism correction) and you have astigmatism, you could wear glasses to correct the astigmatism.
However, if it is desirable to have better vision when you are NOT wearing glasses, you may want to consider a toric lens implant. This lens option is usually not covered by insurance companies. Your surgery scheduler can provide you with a guide to the costs.
A different option (not related to IOLs) for correcting astigmatism involves creating Limbal Relaxing Incisions (or LRIs). Your surgeon may perform this at the time of cataract surgery. These are extra incisions in the cornea Improving VISION. Improving LIFE.
OES-0046 (Rev. 9/14) Page 5 of 8 to help reshape the cornea and can reduce the amount of astigmatism.
LRIs are also not covered by insurance.
C. MULTIFOCAL AND ACCOMMODATING IOLSThese lens options can help reduce your dependence on glasses. A multifocal lens offers a range of focus for both distance and near vision, while an accommodating lens offers a continuous range between distance, intermediate and near. These lenses are not covered by insurance; your surgery scheduler can provide you with the current cost analysis.
There are many pros and cons for the options in this category and these lens choices should be considered only if the eye has no other health problems. Adjusting to these type of lenses can take time (sometimes months), and glare and halos can be a side effect. If you choose one of these lenses and are unhappy with it, your surgeon may be able to replace it; however, this will mean additional risks from surgery.
Unfortunately, there are no guarantees that choosing a multifocal or accommodating lens will eliminate your need for glasses. Some degree of glasses will often still be needed, because there is no perfect lens technology available.
WILL I STILL NEED GLASSES AFTER SURGERY?
Most patients will still need to wear glasses for optimal vision after cataract surgery. However, your doctor can often reduce your glasses prescription (i.e. the thickness of your glasses can significantly be improved) and potentially decrease your dependence on glasses after surgery.
If you have a cataract, your cataract prevents you from seeing well even with glasses. The goal of cataract surgery is to improve your vision, although glasses are often still needed for optimized vision in different visual situations. As discussed above, there are multiple options that can help reduce your dependence on glasses. However, there is no guarantee that cataract surgery can completely eliminate your need for glasses, regardless of lens choice, even though some lenses reduce your likelihood for dependence more so than others.
Improving VISION. Improving LIFE.
OES-0046 (Rev. 9/14) Page 6 of 8 After your cataract surgery, if you are frustrated with your dependence on glasses you may consider laser refractive surgery (e.g. LASIK) to improve your uncorrected vision. This is a “cosmetic” type of procedure; therefore the cost will not be covered by your insurance and will be an “out of pocket” expense. The great majority of patients do not need this option.
DOES INSURANCE COVER CATARACT SURGERY?
Most medical insurances cover cataract surgery costs per plan specifications when it is considered medically necessary. If you are in a managed care plan, your insurance plan may need to authorize the surgery.
If you have Medicare coverage, please note that they cover the surgery and a pair of glasses following the surgery, but they do not cover the refraction (test measuring your vision correction) which costs $40-$50.
Any fees not covered by insurance (co-pay, deductible, co-insurance or other uncovered amount) are due at the time of service. Oregon Eye Specialists accepts cash, checks, Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, and Care Credit. Your surgery scheduler will discuss the cost estimate for your particular case.
WHAT ARE THE RISKS OF CATARACT SURGERY?