By Dr. Jean Keamy
Cataracts typically occur in patients over 50. At birth the lens is crystal clear, but with time it gets cloudy. This cloudy lens or cataract can appear like a film over the eye, but the lens inside the eye actually changes color and density. It often resembles a dark amber marble. The cataract compromises vision because it is difficult to see through opaque lens.
Cataract surgery is the only means to eliminate the cataract. In an ambulatory surgical setting, cataract surgeons perform small incision cataract surgery with phacoemulsification of the lens in less than 15 minute. During the surgery, the surgeon removes the cataract and replaces the cloudy lens with an artificial clear intraocular lens. With the artificial lens, the need for glasses can be reduced or even eliminated.
Many options exist today in the selection of an intraocular lens. Most insurance companies cover the basic option for a monofocal lens. A monofocal lens allows patients to see either distance or up close without glasses but not both distances. It does not correct for astigmatism.
Refractive cataract surgery offers specialty lenses to correct astigmatism and others to correct both near and distance vision simultaneously. These are respectively called toric lenses or multifocal lenses. Most insurance companies do not cover these premium lenses. Additional out of pocket charges apply for these lenses. The premium lenses significantly reduce the need for glasses after cataract surgery.
Dr. Jean Keamy is a board certified ophthalmologist specializing in cataract surgery, refractive cataract surgery, LASIK, PRK, eyelid surgery, and diseases of the eye, and routine eye exams. She owns Keamy Eye & Laser Centre on 24 Lyman St. in Westborough and can be reached at 508-836-8733. Learn more at www.seemedrkeamy.com or www.facebook.com/Keamyeye. Archives of articles from previous issues may be read at www.fiftyplusadvocate.com.