Senior Citizen's Guide digital books
Senior Citizen's Guide to Chicago
Healthy Lifestyle:
Choices in Cataract Surgery

The improvements in cataract surgery over the last 20 years have been dramatic. Researchers have developed much less invasive techniques that make this operation safer and more effective than ever before. Today, about 2.8 million cataract surgeries are done each year, almost exclusively on an outpatient basis, and 95 percent of these patients now enjoy improved vision.

Most cataract surgeries take about as long as a typical visit to your dentist. Surgeons use advanced ultrasonic equipment to fragment cataracts and intraocular replacement lenses that can be folded to allow extremely small incisions. Most people can remain awake during the procedure, requiring only local anesthetic. Patients notice improved vision within a few days.

One area where additional progress is being made is in replacement lenses. There is now a variety of these lenses available. The most common is the fixed focus monofocal lens, which is used in the majority of cataract procedures. It provides excellent distance vision, but reading glasses are usually required for near tasks. In some cases, doctors can adjust for this problem by inserting a lens with a different focal point in each eye, but this compromise may reduce depth perception.

In response to these issues, researchers have produced two additional alternatives. The first, the accommodating monofocal lens, works much like a natural lens. It has a fixed focal point, which changes as you look at different objects to provide good distance and near vision. The second new alternative is the multifocal lens. It works much like bifocals, with multiple areas of distance and near vision on the same lens.

There are now FDA-approved accommodating monofocal and multifocal lenses on the market, but they may not be covered by your insurance. If you're contemplating a cataract operation, you should discuss your lens options with your doctor so that you get the replacement that works best for you.

Home    Featured Programs    Choose Local Area     Request Information
A JR Media Publication • www.jrmediallc.comSite Index