Cataract eye diagram

Did You Know…

With 4,000,000 surgeries in the US performed each year, cataract surgery is one of the most common surgical procedures.1

Improve Your Vision With Cataract Surgery

What Everyone Should Know About Cataracts

Having cataracts can be a good thing! A cataract develops when proteins in the lens of the eye begin to clump together forming clusters that eventually cloud your natural lens. These clusters allow less light to pass through the lens causing issues such as cloudy vision and difficulty seeing at night.
Cataracts are a natural part of aging and affect everyone as they get older. In fact, an estimated 20.5 million Americans over age 40 have cataracts.2  When you have cataract surgery, not only does your vision improve, but depending on which IOL you choose, you can be less dependent on glasses than before developing the cataract.

Terms To Know

  • cataract: A clouding in the lens often due to the aging of the eye. This change in the protein and fibers of the lens cause cloudy or hazy vision, faded colors, glare, double vision, or difficulty seeing at night.
  • lens: The clear part of your eye that helps focus light on the retina, kind of like a camera. The lens provides 30 percent of our focusing power and the cornea (the clear front-most part of your eye) the other 70 percent.

million over 40 affected by cataracts^

Surgeries in the US each year†

%

Overall success rate~

Symptoms

When a cataract is developing, the normally clear lens of the eye is cloudy causing images to not focus clearly on the retina.

Since cataracts develop slowly over time, it is possible to have a cataract and not even know it is distorting your vision. You may have even made lifestyle modifications, such as not driving at night, to adapt to your changing sight. Some common symptoms of a cataract include:

  • Cloudy or blurry vision
  • Glare or “halos” when driving at night
  • Trouble reading in dim light
  • Can’t seem to get the right eyeglasses prescription
  • Colors seem yellowed or faded
  • Double vision in one eye
  • Sensitivity to light

Since cataracts are related to the natural age of the eye, they are most common in people 55 and over. By age 80, 50 percent of Americans either have cataracts or have had them removed.

Diagnosis

Regular eye exams are the best way to monitor and diagnose cataracts. Through a dilated exam (where the pupil is enlarged), your eye doctor can examine the lens of your eye and the visual pathway to the retina at the back of your eye.

As the cataract slowly progresses, you can change your glasses prescription to help compensate for some of the symptoms of the clouding lens.

Cataract Lens

When the cataract is affecting your daily activities, it is time to consider having it removed through catraract surgery. Dr. Shawn Parker and Dr. Brad Stuckenschneider at Eye Care Specialists perform cataract surgery.

Treatment

The only treatment for cataracts is to have the cataract removed surgically. Fortunately, cataract surgery is one of the most common and safest surgical procedures in the United States with excellent results6Ninety-five percent of cataract surgery patients in the U.S. experienced improvements in their vision post-cataract surgery and 90 percent have 20/40 vision or better!7

Through cataract surgery, Dr. Stuckenschneider or Dr.Parker will replace the natural lens of your eye with an intraocular lens (IOL). The IOL is selected based on your prescription and vision preferences. The IOL is permanent and should not need to be replaced again.

With continual advancements in IOL technology, many conditions such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, presbyopia, and astigmatism can be improved lessening your dependence on glasses.

“My cataract surgery has changed my life dramatically! I’ve had to wear strong glasses for over 48 years of my life. Now, no glasses! I have my sight back thanks to Dr. Lumsden.”

-Josie

“I love Eye Care Specialists and Dr. Parker. I had cataracts and was legally blind in one eye. I now have 20/20 and 20/25. I can see again. Thanks Dr. Parker!!”

-Brenda S.

“Just wanted to give Dr. Kinder and his staff, a sincere thank you for my recent two cataract surgeries, from the friendliness of the staff to the professionalism shown by all. I thank you for my much-improved vision.”

-Don

“Dr. Kies and his staff provided me with excellent service. After cataract surgery with a multi-focal implant, I was able to see clearly without glasses for the first time in 30 years.”

-Paul

What Is Great Vision Worth?

Costs Associated with Cataract Surgery

Cataract surgery is covered by insurance or Medicare and is applicable to your deductible. The surgical aspect of correcting your cataracts is typically the same. However, advancements in IOL technology provide more options in the benefits you receive from your cataract surgery but incur out-of-pocket costs. Dr. Parker and Dr. Stuckenschneider can help you choose an IOL that best fits your glasses prescription, lifestyle, and budget.

IOL Options for Cataract Surgery

Standard Monofocal IOL: Traditional Technology

The standard IOL used in cataract surgery is a monofocal lens and is covered by insurance and Medicare. A monofocal lens corrects vision at one range, typically your distance vision. You would still need glasses for reading and possibly for distance if you have an astigmatism. Sometimes, monovision can be achieved with monofocal IOLs to gain some near vision.

  • Covered by insurance and Medicare
  • Corrects distance vision
  • Corrects astigmatism
  • Corrects intermediate vision
  • Corrects near vision
  • Incurs additional out-of-pocket upgrade fees

Premium Toric IOL: Two Conditions, One Solution!

The toric IOL is an elective upgrade because it corrects two conditions with one solution. The advanced technology of this IOL corrects your cataract AND your astigmatism. You would still need glasses for reading.

  • Covered by insurance and Medicare
  • Corrects distance vision
  • Corrects astigmatism
  • Corrects intermediate vision
  • Corrects near vision
  • Incurs additional out-of-pocket upgrade fees

Premium Multifocal IOL: Vision Correction at Near, Far, and In-Between!

The multifocal IOL is an elective upgrade and allows you to be less dependent on glasses for all distances: near, far, and in-between. You may experience glare and halos at night and difficulty in low lighting situations.

  • Covered by insurance and Medicare
  • Corrects distance vision
  • Corrects astigmatism
  • Corrects intermediate vision
  • Corrects near vision
  • Incurs additional out-of-pocket upgrade fees

Premium Multifocal Toric IOL: The All-In-One Lens

The multifocal toric IOL is an elective upgrade and offers the same features as the multifocal IOL, but also corrects for astigmatism making you less dependent on glasses for all distances and refractive errors. You may experience glare/halos at night and difficulty in low lighting situations.

  • Covered by insurance and Medicare
  • Corrects distance vision
  • Corrects astigmatism
  • Corrects intermediate vision
  • Corrects near vision
  • Incurs additional out-of-pocket upgrade fees

Premium Accommodative IOL: Working Like Your Natural Lens

The accommodative IOL is an elective upgrade. This IOL is “hinged” to work in coordination with your eye muscles. The design allows the lens to move forward to focus at near and backward when focusing at a distance, much like your natural lens, providing varying distances and a continuous range of vision.

  • Covered by insurance and Medicare
  • Corrects distance vision
  • Corrects astigmatism
  • Corrects intermediate vision
  • Corrects near vision
  • Incurs additional out-of-pocket upgrade fees

Getting Your Vision Back With Cataract Surgery

Three easy steps to clear vision

Cataract surgery is a painless, outpatient procedure performed at a surgery center or hospital. You are awake but are given local anesthetic via IV. Surgery only takes about 20-30 minutes, then you will spend about an hour in the post-op room while the anesthesia wears off. Once home, you’ll need to take it easy the rest of the day and follow your prescription drop regiment over a month’s time to ensure a successful recovery!

Step 1:  Cataract Removal

In this first step, your surgeon will use a process called phacoemulsification. He will make a small incision in the cornea and insert a probe, about the size of a pen tip, which uses sound waves to break up the cataract, then suction it out to prepare for step 2.

Step 1:  Cataract Removal

In this first step, Dr. Parker or Dr. Stuckenschneider will use a process called phacoemulsification. He will make a small incision in the cornea and insert a probe, about the size of a pen tip, which uses sound waves to break up the cataract, then suction it out to prepare for step 2.

Step 2: IOL Insertion

Now that the cataract lens is removed, your surgeon uses a specialized instrument to position the new lens. The IOL is actually rolled up inside the instrument so it can be inserted into the lens capsule through the tiny incision. The lens flattens inside the capsule and the haptics, or “arms,” unfold to keep the IOL in the proper position.

Step 2: IOL Insertion

Now that the cataract lens is removed, Dr. Stuckenschneider or Dr. Parker uses a specialized instrument to position the new lens. The IOL is actually rolled up inside the instrument so it can be inserted into the lens capsule through the tiny incision. The lens flattens inside the capsule and the haptics, or “arms,” unfold to keep the IOL in the proper position.

Step 3: New Vision

Now that the cataract is removed and a clear IOL is in place, the light needed to focus images on the retina can once again enter the eye providing clear vision. After surgery you may feel as if you have “new eyes” and are able to see colors more vividly and objects more clearly than you have in years.

Step 3: New Vision

Now that the cataract is removed and a clear IOL is in place, the light needed to focus images on the retina can once again enter the eye providing clear vision. After surgery you may feel as if you have “new eyes” and are able to see colors more vividly and objects more clearly than you have in years.

Cataract Surgery FAQ

Can you get cataracts again?

You may have heard the term “secondary cataract” or “after-cataract”. Once your natural lens is replaced with an IOL, the new intraocular lens will not develop a cataract like your natural lens. Although it’s not technically a “cataract”, a secondary or after-cataract occurs when the capsule holding the IOL becomes cloudy. A secondary cataract can develop months or even years after your cataract surgery. You may notice changes in your vision similar to when you had cataracts.

There is no reason for alarm. PCO is very common and can affect up to 50 percent of post-cataract patients9 and can be treated with a simple, painless, in-office procedure using a YAG laser to restore your vision.

What are the risks and potential side effects of cataract surgery?

Cataract surgery is very safe. According to the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS), cataract surgery has an overall success rate of more than 98 percent making it one of the most successful surgeries performed today.8

Following the care instructions of your surgeon is the best way to ensure a successful surgery with excellent outcomes. Some normal conditions you may experience 1-2 days after cataract surgery include:

  • Mild discomfort, soreness or scratchiness
  • Mild light sensitivity
  • Varying degrees of redness
  • Mild blurring of your vision
  • Droopy eyelid
  • Mild discharge
  • Flickering of light or a shadow in the peripheral vision

Complications with cataract surgery are rare but can include:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Inflammation (pain, redness, swelling)
  • Loss of vision
  • Double Vision
  • Change in eye pressure

If you notice your vision returning to how it was before your cataract surgery months or even years later, you may have posterior capsule opacification (PCO). PCO, or also known as a “secondary cataract” or “after-cataract,” occurs when the lens capsule becomes cloudy. Vision can be restored with a simple, painless, in-office YAG laser treatment.

How will my eyes feel after surgery?

You will likely experience some of the following conditions the first couple days to one week after surgery

  • Mild discomfort, soreness or scratchiness
  • Varying degrees of redness
  • Mild light sensitivity (light may seem very bright to both eyes)
  • Mild blurring of your vision
  • Drooping of the eyelid
  • Mild discharge (if excessive, call your dr)
  • Flickering of light or a shadow in your peripheral vision
Is cataract surgery covered by insurance?

The surgery with a standard, monofocal IOL is covered by insurance and Medicare and is applicable to your deductible. If you elect to upgrade to a premium IOL (toric, multifocal, or toric multifocal), the additional cost for the lens and surgical fee will be out of pocket.

If I choose a premium IOL, how much extra does it cost?

If you qualify for a premium IOL, the most up-to-date pricing is included on your elective upgrade consent form. Typically, the following fees apply:

  • Toric IOL
    • Surgeon’s fee and associated care: $500 due prior to surgery to Eye Care Specialists
    • Toric IOL: $400 due the day of surgery to the surgery center
  • Multifocal IOL
    • Surgeon’s fee and associated care: $1000 due prior to surgery to Eye Care Specialists
    • Multifocal IOL: $850 due the day of surgery to the surgery center
  • Toric Multifocal IOL
    • Surgeon’s fee and associated care: $1000 due prior to surgery to Eye Care Specialists
    • Toric Multifocal IOL: $850 due the day of surgery to the surgery center
  • Accommodative IOL
    • Surgeon’s fee and associated care: $500 due prior to surgery to Eye Care Specialists
    • Accommodative IOL: $1200 due the day of surgery to the surgery center
Why do some people need glasses after cataract surgery and others do not?

Not everyone is a candidate for a premium IOL. Not everyone who is a candidate for a premium IOL, elects to incur the extra out-of-pocket costs associated with the more advanced technology lens. Depending on your prescription and the IOL you choose, you can lessen your dependence on glasses. Your surgeon will help you determine which IOL options best fit your prescription, lifestyle, and budget.

What is cause for concern after cataract surgery?

You should call the office immediately if you experience any of the following:

  • Sudden or nauseating pain in or around the eye that lasts for several hours and is not relieved by Tylenol or pain that continues to get worse
  • A sudden, significant decrease or clouding of vision or loss of sight
  • Part of your vision is missing or a curtain or shade comes over your vision with or without pain
  • Onset of new flashes of light or floaters
  • Bleeding around the eye

If you have any questions or concerns, contact our office:

Dr. Parker: 573.335.3577

Dr. Stuckenschneider: 573.686.5579

Will cataracts correct issues with my night vision?

Cataracts can cause a loss of contrast in dim lighting, glare, and difficulty seeing at night. Surgery should alleviate these issues if they are due to the cataract. However, nighttime glare and halos around lights are possible with a multifocal IOL.

If I have a cataract, why do I have to wait to remove it?

Although there are great benefits to cataract surgery, it is still a surgical procedure and with all surgical procedures there are risks. In addition, insurance sometimes requires the cataract be at a specified stage to where it is hindering your activities before it can be removed. The best time to have cataract surgery is when the cataract is interfering with your vision to the point it is affecting your daily activities and lifestyle.

Some facilities perform what is called clear lens extraction. This procedure is essentially cataract surgery without the cataract. When someone is not a candidate for LASIK, they may opt to have their healthy, natural lens replaced by an IOL to make them less dependent on glasses and contacts. The doctors at Eye Care Specialists do not perform clear lens extraction. They do not feel a patient should undergo surgery to remove a perfectly healthy lens.

What are the symptoms?

It is possible to have a cataract and not have any noticeable vision problems. Some common symptoms include:

  • Dim vision or faded colors
  • Difficulty seeing at night
  • Increased glare or halos around lights
  • Double vision in one eye
  • Light sensitivity
  • Not being able to get the right glasses prescription
What options are available for cataract treatment?

There are no drops, injections, or medications that treat cataracts. Sometimes updating your contacts or glasses prescription can help your vision but the only true solution to correct a cataract is to replace the clouded lens with an intraocular lens implant. If you do not remove the cataract, the lens will continue to become more cloudy and vision will continue to decrease. Eventually changes in prescription will no longer help clear your vision.

When is it time to have cataract surgery?

Regular eye exams with your optometrist will follow the progression of your cataract. Be sure to communicate with your eye doctor any changes in your vision and effects these changes have on your daily activities and lifestyle. When changes in your contacts and glasses prescription no longer help, your optometrist will refer you to an ophthalmologist, an eye M.D., for surgery.

The surgeon will conduct a pre-operative exam and detailed measurements, perform the surgery, then you can follow-up with your regular eye doctor for your post-operative care. Eye Care Specialists works closely many optometrists in the tri-state area.

Insurance may also play a factor in when you can have cataract surgery. Medicare and some insurance companies require cataract surgery to be “medically necessary” which they deem as your best corrected vision is 20/40 or worse. This means if you can still get glasses and contacts that allow you to see 20/20, you will have to wait to have the cataract removed.

Can I have cataract surgery after LASIK?

You can have cataract surgery after LASIK. Be sure to share with your surgeon any information you have from your LASIK procedure. Dr. Parker provides a “manifest label” for your medical records after LASIK. This label shows what your prescription and measurements were prior to LASIK which can be helpful to your surgeon when choosing your IOL.

Can I have LASIK after cataract surgery?

Occasionally the IOL implanted during your cataract surgery may not clear your vision as well as anticipated. In this instance, it is possible to perform LASIK to make minor adjustments to you vision after cataract surgery.

Do I need a referral to see Dr. Parker or Dr. Stuckenschneider?

If you would like to be evaluated for cataracts you do not need a referral from your regular eye doctor. Eye Care Specialists has a large referral network of optometrists we work closely with so you will have the option to follow-up with an optometrist or see Dr. Stuckenschneider or Dr. Parker for your post-operative care following surgery.

Can I have cataract surgery if I have glaucoma?

It is possible to have cataract surgery if you have glaucoma. Your doctor will advise you on your options and provide instructions for your glaucoma medications before and after surgery.

Cataract Surgery Details

Cataract surgery is a quick, painless, outpatient procedure and typically lasts 20-30 minutes.

  • You will start using prescription drops 2 days BEFORE surgery
  • Surgery is performed one eye at a time with about two weeks between procedures
  • You are awake but you will receive a sedative and will not feel any pain
  • A small incision is made, usually no sutures are required
  • You will need a driver the day of and day after your surgery
  • Recovery is quick; you are back to most activities the next day to one week but will use prescription drops for one month

SOURCES / REFERENCES:

1,† “Cataract surgery: replacing your cloudy lens.” Alcon, a Novartis Division, Web. Accessed April 3, 2017.
2,^ “Common Eye Disorders – Cataract.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Web. Sep 2015. Accessed April 3, 2017.
3 “Facts About Cataract – Is cataract surgery effective?” National Eye Institute, Web. Sep 2015. Accessed April 3, 2017.
4 “What Are Cataracts? – Types of Cataracts” Alcon, a Novartis Division, Web. Accessed March 28, 2017
5 “Eye Health Information: Cataract” National Eye Institute (NEI), Web. Accessed April 3, 2017

6 “Treating Cataracts with Surgery – Understanding the Surgery” Alcon, a Novartis Division, Web. Accessed April 3, 2017.
7 “Wilmer Eye Institute: Cataracts FAQ – Prognosis” Johns Hopkins Medicine, Web. Accessed April 3, 2017.
8,~ “My Cataract Journey – Potential Risks and Complications” All About Vision, Web. Accessed March 28, 2017.
9 “Cataract Surgery: What is a secondary cataract.” American Optometric Association (AOA), Web. Accessed March 28, 2017.

Eye Care Specialists

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