Cataracts are the leading cause of vision loss among people older than 55. In the United States, 20.5 million people have cataracts, which is about one in six Americans older than 40.
How Does a Cataract Form?
The eye is similar to a camera, and it uses a lens to focus. The lens is comprised of water and protein, arranged in a specific way to allow light to pass through it. A cataract forms when the proteins in the lens begin to clump together, and create cloudiness. This cloudiness is called a cataract, and it causes images to appear blurry or distorted.
What is Cataract Surgery?
Cataract surgery is one of the most commonly performed surgeries in the United States. The procedure is simple, virtually painless and usually has a rapid recovery time. A skilled surgeon will remove your cloudy lens during cataract surgery and replace it with an intraocular lens (IOL) customized to your vision needs. Cataract surgery can often provide people with the best vision they have ever experienced. In fact, many patients comment after surgery that they wish they had chosen cataract surgery sooner.
What Type of IOL is Right for You?
There are many types of IOLs from which to choose:
- Monofocal lens — This lens is designed to provide sharp distance vision. Medicare and other insurance plans usually cover it. Glasses may still be necessary for reading, and in some cases, distance vision, especially if you have astigmatism.
- Astigmatism-correcting monofocal lens — Your surgeon may be able to correct your astigmatism as well as your cataracts during one simple procedure. With the advanced technology of astigmatism-correcting monofocal lenses, most people only need glasses for reading after surgery.
- Multifocal Lens — Imagine not needing to rely on corrective glasses anymore. Multifocal lenses can help you see both near and far, so you may have the luxury of being glasses-free after cataract surgery.
Although most insurance and Medicare only cover the cost of a monofocal lens, there are many factors to consider. For example, selecting a multifocal lens may reduce your dependence on glasses after surgery. When making your decision regarding the type of lens you prefer for your cataract procedure, compare the one-time cost of purchasing the multifocal lens with the cumulative cost of buying contacts or glasses for the rest of your life. You may find that a multifocal lens proves to be the most affordable choice.
Find an Ophthalmologist Near You
Are you interested in cataract surgery? You have many IOL choices that can help meet your vision needs. You may think you need to wait until your vision is significantly impaired, but recent studies cite many benefits of getting cataract surgery at a younger age. Therefore, you may not need to wait.
Your eye doctor can help you decide the best lens choice for you. Call today to schedule a consultation or a comprehensive eye exam.