A normal part of the aging process, a cataract is a clouding of the natural lens in the eye that dims or blurs vision, often causing glare or halo around lights at night and difficulty seeing or reading in low light. If your sight becomes too poor to carry on normal activities, the solution is to surgically remove the clouded lens and replace it with an artificial lens or IOL (intraocular lens).
The Atlantic Eye Institute surgeons perform cataract surgery in the Jacksonville Beach Surgery Center. The procedure takes 10-15 minutes. Cataract surgery is performed on one eye at a time with a 2-3 week interval between each eye.
Before the surgery, you will receive medication to help you relax and ensure that you feel no pain. The eye area will be cleaned and draped, and your lids will be positioned open, so you don’t have to worry about blinking. During traditional cataract surgery, a tiny, self-healing incision is made on the edge of the cornea using a blade, and a tiny probe is inserted into the eye. The probe emits ultrasound waves that soften and break up the lens into little pieces so it can be suctioned out. After the cataract is removed, your surgeon will insert the new lens where it gently folds into place. You will spend a few minutes in recovery before going home with a shield over your eye to protect it from accidental rubbing or bumping. Most patients can drive and resume normal activities the very next day.
Laser Cataract Surgery
Cataract surgery is a very safe procedure, with more than two million operations performed worldwide annually. Laser cataract surgery with the LenSx Laser has improved the precision and visual outcomes as well, with fewer patients needing to wear glasses after the surgery. By adding computer control to key steps of the cataract surgery, the LenSx Laser enables the surgeon to precisely program the size, shape and location of each incision. The laser is also used to reshape the cornea to reduce astigmatism, making the vision clearer without glasses.
Studies have shown that less than 10% of manual incisions have been able to achieve the same accuracy that is produced with laser cataract surgery.
IOL’s are soft, foldable lenses that are inserted to replace the natural lens that developed the cataract. These lenses are also an option for some patients who may not have cataracts but want to reduce or eliminate the need for glasses with a procedure called Clear Lens Replacement (CLR). It is the same procedure as cataract surgery except that the lens removed is still mostly clear.
Traditional single-focus lenses designed to provide either distance or near vision.
Multiple-focus lenses providing for near, intermediate and distance vision.
Similar to traditional monofocal lenses but also treat astigmatism.
If independence from glasses is important to you, “blended vision” may be another option for you. Before proceeding with blended vision, Atlantic Eye Institute will assure that you can adjust to the different powered lenses by giving you a complimentary simulation of it with contact lenses.
Whichever IOL you choose, you can be sure that cataract surgery is one of the safest and most effective procedures performed today. While laser cataract surgery and multifocal and Toric IOLs are not currently covered by insurance, their benefits outweigh that fact for many patients. Atlantic Eye Institute is pleased to offer Alphaeon Credit- no interest payment plans for up to 24 months. Alphaeon Credit lets you begin your treatment or procedure immediately-then pay for it over time with low monthly payments that are easy to fit into your monthly budget. Now you do not have to save up for years to finally get the vision you’ve always wanted.
Our physicians realize that every patient is different and has unique goals for their vision after cataract surgery. Fortunately, you have encountered cataracts at a time when both surgical procedures and lens implant technology have taken great leaps of progress. Measurements obtained at your pre-operative consultation allow us to incorporate most or all of your glasses prescription in your lens implant. Microincision surgical techniques allow for quick healing and vision recovery. These advances allow us to not only treat the cloudy lens but potentially to give you the best vision of your life!
Cataracts & Glaucoma
Additional surgical options are available for those who suffer from glaucoma, as well as cataracts. If you have been managing your glaucoma with medication, and are now preparing for cataract surgery, one of these procedures may be an ideal option for you.
iStent Inject is the smallest device known to be implanted in the human body, and it can have remarkable benefits for cataract patients with glaucoma.
Glaucoma is commonly associated with increased pressure in the eye. To help control this pressure, iStent Inject creates two openings between the front part of your eye and its natural drainage pathway, restoring your eye’s natural ability to drain fluid.
Implanted at the time of cataract surgery, two tiny iStent Inject stents are gently inserted into your eye. Once inserted, you will not be able to see or feel the device, but it will be working to help reduce your eye pressure, which can prevent the progression of glaucoma. In some cases, iStent Inject may even allow your doctor to reduce your glaucoma medication.
Endoscopic Cyclophotocoagulation (ECP):
ECP is a laser procedure typically performed at the same time as cataract surgery. ECP lowers pressure by reducing the amount of fluid produced by treating the ciliary body – the gland behind the iris that produces aqueous fluid.
Goniotomy with the Kahook Dual Blade®
A goniotomy is a procedure in which your eye doctor removes diseased tissue that blocks fluid from flowing out of the eye. Goniotomy procedures have been safely performed for decades in both adults and children. Over the years, the procedure has improved, and new instruments have been developed such as the Kahook Dual Blade®. A goniotomy can be performed as an independent procedure or in conjunction with cataract surgery.
Enhancements after Cataract Surgery
YAG Laser Capsulotomy
Sometimes, months or even years after cataract surgery, your vision may seem to fade. This is often because of something called posterior capsular clouding.
During cataract surgery, an Intraocular lens (or IOL) was implanted within the lens capsule, a thin, elastic, and transparent envelope that once held your natural lens. Within a few weeks after lens implant surgery, the capsule shrinks and seals itself to the IOL which is what holds it firmly in place. As time goes by, the capsule may become cloudy. This often occurs sooner with premium IOLs, but patients with any IOL may develop it as well. This is not a cataract “coming back,” but a very common side-effect following lens replacement.
The YAG laser will make an opening in the center of the posterior capsule about the size of your pupil, creating a clear visual pathway. Once the YAG procedure has been performed, you should see a rapid improvement in your overall vision. This typically painless procedure is covered by insurance, performed in the office and only takes about 1-2 minutes.
LASIK or PRK
After your cataract surgery is complete, most residual refractive errors such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism can be removed using our WaveLight EX500 Excimer laser-as long as you are considered a good candidate. This procedure, commonly known as LASIK or PRK (Photorefractive keratectomy), is safe and effective for treating moderate to advanced prescriptions.
This procedure is considered not medically necessary and therefore not covered by insurance. However, if you elected for a premium refractive option during cataract surgery, such as the LenSx laser, toric IOL, or multifocal IOL, enhancements with the WaveLight EX500 Excimer laser is included in the cost you initially paid for the first year following cataract surgery.