Cataracts are one of the most common eye issues. Most often, cataracts form as a direct result of the aging process. A cataract is created when there is a clouding of the eye’s natural lens, which is located behind the iris and the pupil. When the lens becomes cloudy, the lens cannot allow light to pass through and focus an image on the retina.
The good news is that cataract surgery is one of the most common, safe and painless surgeries performed in America. Most people who undergo cataract surgery experience a quick recovery time and extremely effective results. In cataract surgery, your doctor will remove your deteriorated lens and replace it with an artificial lens made of silicone or plastic called an intraocular lens (IOL). Often, the surgery can be performed with a micro-incision just a few millimeters in length and usually does not need sutures.
IOLs can be customized to reduce the need for eyeglasses. Many people with cataracts claim that, after surgery, they have the best vision they have ever experienced. IOLs come in three types: monofocal, astigmatism-correcting monofocal and multifocal.
A multifocal lens is considered a premium lens because it has so much capability. It can correct near vision, intermediate vision and distance vision, and sometimes this lens can eliminate the need for glasses completely. If you are an active adult or athlete who would find eyeglasses to be uncomfortable or cumbersome, a multifocal lens may be perfect for you.
The disadvantage of a multifocal lens is that it is most likely not covered by insurance because it is considered a luxury or cosmetic lens. It is important to remember that eye prescriptions change as you age. A multifocal IOL may eliminate the need for eyeglasses for a time, but in the future you may need glasses for near or distance vision. Many people may assume that surgeons will simply insert a new IOL every time an eye prescription changes, but this is not the case. The need for glasses may return, but this is not a reason to not consider a multifocal lens. Even though Medicare and private insurance companies do not contribute toward a multifocal lens, the convenience and freedom that the lens provides may be worth the expense, especially when considering the cost of your glasses or contact lenses.
If you know that cataract surgery is in your future, talk to your eye doctor about whether a multifocal IOL is an option for you. Reducing the need for glasses sounds quite appealing, doesn’t it?
Take a few moments to read our Questions for Your Surgeon page so you can know what to expect during every step of the surgery process.