What exactly is cataract surgery? How does traditional surgery differ from refractive surgery? Elmquist Eye Group has been performing both traditional cataract surgery and refractive cataract surgery in SW Florida for over two decades. We would love for you to be our next patient and to answer all your questions about these vision-saving and vision-restoring procedures.
What is cataract surgery in general?
Cataracts are a natural part of aging. As we age, natural proteins in the eye break down and begin to clump on the lens. By age 60, many patients will have started forming cataracts, and by age 75, the cataract is usually significant enough to blur and impair vision.
The eye lens functions to bend light rays that enter the eye. This helps us see, but when the lens is cloudy instead of clear, the light bends a different way, making vision often look blurry or hazy. Many of our patients describe it as if looking through a dirty windshield.
The only way to remove a cataract is via surgery. Refractive cataract surgery and standard cataract surgery both involve removal of the natural lens that has been clouded by the cataract. During traditional cataract surgery, the surgeon will remove the cloudy natural lens and replace it with a clear artificial lens called an intraocular lens implant or IOL.
How is refractive cataract surgery different?
What makes refractive cataract surgery different is that we implant a multifocal lens to correct vision. There are many different lens options available, and we will do a thorough cataract and vision assessment to determine your best lens option. The good news is that the implant lenses are designed to last a lifetime, so you shouldn’t have to have another lens replacement surgery.
Refractive cataract surgery is a great choice if you already have vision issues independent of your cataract. You can kill two birds with one stone, so to speak, in the same surgery: repair your cataract and improve your vision, thereby reducing the need for separate contact lenses or eyeglasses.
Before surgery, the surgeon will measure your eye to determine the proper size and power for your corrective IOL. The surgery will be done on an outpatient basis in our state-of-the-art surgical facility. While you will be awake during the surgery, your eye will be numbed. You may see light but will not be able to actually see the procedure being performed.
The surgeon will use a laser to create a small incision, then will break up the cataract and remove it. The new lens will then be implanted. No stitches are required; the lens will heal in place and the laser incision will heal on its own as well. Very few patients have any complications after surgery, although you may experience some mild irritation or dry eye for a couple of days. We will monitor you post-surgery for about a half hour, then someone can drive you home where you can rest for the remainder of the day.
Cataract surgery is one of the safest and most effective surgeries around. If you are considering refractive cataract surgery in SW Florida, come visit either our convenient Cape Coral or Fort Myers location. We will answer all your questions about this amazing procedure. Call us at Elmquist Eye Group today to schedule your appointment.