One of the first questions many people ask about cataract surgery is "Will I need to wear glasses after surgery?" Today, you may choose advanced technology lens implants to help decrease your dependence on glasses or contact lenses. To understand if this is the right choice for you, it helps to give you some background information. With cataract surgery, Dr. Dale can address two concerns: cloudy vision due to the cataract, and focus problems due to the shape and power of your eye. Medicare and private insurance plans cover the cost of manual cataract surgery with a basic, single-focus intraocular lens implant. Essentially, your cloudy lens is replaced with a clear lens. However, at the same time as your cataract surgery, if you want to decrease your need for glasses or contacts, you can also elect an additional procedure or an advanced-technology lens implant to help with focus issues. It can be confusing to keep the different options straight, so let's look at a couple of examples of patients and how the choices they make affect their vision.
Whatever your choice, our team will do our best for you. Our first goal is for every patient to have a safe, comfortable and positive experience.
Diane wants to decrease her need for glasses as much as possible.
Diane works as a computer programmer and enjoys reading. She would prefer to decrease her need for glasses as much as possible. Diane knows she will still need to wear glasses sometimes but would be happy if she did not have to rely on glasses to focus 100% of the time. A great choice for Diane would be a multifocal lens. For the right patients, a multifocal lens can allow you to see both near and distant activities without the help of glasses. If you are interested in this option, Dr. Dale will determine if you are a good candidate at your consultation visit.
Paul wants to hike without needing glasses to focus.
Paul loves hiking and normally wears glasses all of the time because he has a moderate amount of astigmatism in both eyes. He would love to be able to hike and work outside without prescription glasses on but doesn't mind glasses for reading. A great choice for Paul would be an astigmatism-correcting intraocular lens. The astigmatism-correcting, or "toric" lens, can bring the distance into focus and significantly decrease Paul's dependence on glasses for distance activities, but he will still need glasses for reading, computer work, and playing cards.
Jill wants one eye for distance and one eye for reading (monovision).
Jill wears contact lenses with one eye corrected for distance vision and one eye corrected for near vision. This is called “monovision”. Now that she has cataracts, Jill has a couple of options. She could consider having multifocal lenses implanted in each eye, to give her both distance and near focus in each eye (like Diane, above). She could also have single focus lens implants in each eye, but have Dr. Dale select the lens implant powers so that just as with her contacts one eye is focused for distance and one eye is focused for near. Monovision is a compromise that some patients love, and some patients have difficulty adapting to. Patients who have already experienced monovision in contact lenses are the best candidates for this option.
Sara likes her glasses, and is happy to keep wearing them after cataract surgery.
Sara enjoys a wide variety of activities. She’s worn glasses for much of her life and has fun with picking frames that fit her personal style. Sara doesn’t mind continuing to wear glasses for all of her activities after cataract surgery, and so for Sara, a great choice is the basic single focus lens implants. Her uncorrected (without glasses) focus may be improved with surgery, but she’ll continue to have her sharpest focus with glasses for both distance and near activities.