Cataracts are the leading cause of vision loss in the world; however, advances in technology have made cataract surgery one of the safest and most successful surgical procedures performed today. Cataract surgery restores vision to patients, allowing them to return to their hobbies and daily activities. Cataracts are usually age-related and can affect your vision. Other causes of cataracts include trauma, medications such as steroids, prolonged exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light, and systemic diseases such as diabetes and lung disease.
What Are Cataracts?
A cataract occurs when the eye’s natural lens becomes cloudy and the light reaching the retina is reduced. Before cataracts develop, the lens is clear.
Development of a cataract can take several months to years. Some patients may not even be aware that they suffer from cataracts. Others may not be able to see well enough to perform daily activities such as reading, driving, or golfing.
Symptoms of Cataracts
The most common symptom of cataracts is vision loss. Want to learn more about what causes cataracts? Click on this YouTube link to watch Dr. Tokuhara discuss symptoms of cataracts.
Other symptoms include:
- Sensitivity to light
- Clouding or blurring of vision
- Poor night vision
- Frequent changes in glasses or contact lens prescription
- Double vision
- Fading or yellowing of colors
How Are Cataracts Treated?
The only treatment available for cataracts is surgery. When your cataract begins to interfere with your normal daily activities, surgery may be necessary. Dr. Tokuhara will go over the options that accommodate your individual needs, and he will help you determine when surgery is best for you.
With over four million cataract surgeries performed in the United States alone, cataract surgery has become the safest and most common surgical procedure in the world. The surgery is performed as an outpatient procedure and is generally completed in about 10-15 minutes.
Advancements in new technology, such as intraoperative aberrometry (ORA), allow Dr. Tokuhara to perform a cataract surgery customized just for you. Cataract surgery can be performed with and without laser technology. The LenSx laser helps soften cataracts prior to removal and corrects astigmatism with precise laser incisions.
There are several different lens implants available including premium intraocular lenses (IOLs). Dr. Tokuhara will go over all of your options with you.
Recovering From Cataract Surgery
Patients are typically concerned about what to expect while recovering from cataract surgery. Dr. Tokuhara provides the highest quality care and thoroughly explains what you can expect during the surgery and recovery process. Recovery from cataract surgery is generally very quick. Most patients go home with a clear shield (no patch needed), and are able to use their improved vision right away.
Refractive Clear Lens Exchange
Refractive lens exchange, or Clear Lens replacement surgery, is often used for pre-cataract patients as a preventative vision correction solution. A refractive lens exchange replaces your eye’s natural, clear lens with a lens implant to correct your refractive error and reduce your need for glasses.
If you have been diagnosed with cataracts and are interested in discussing your options, contact us to schedule a consultation.
How Successful is Refractive Lens Exchange?
While all surgeries carry a possibility of complications, refractive lens exchange is just as safe and effective as cataract surgery. Cataract surgery and refractive lens exchange share a lot of the same risks since they are so similar. However, if any complications do arise, they can be successfully treated with medication or additional surgery. It is also worth noting that by removing the aging lens in your eye, you’re eliminating the need for cataract surgery down the road. Overall, refractive lens exchange is a highly effective and safe procedure.
How Much Does Refractive Lens Exchange Cost?
Depending on the insurance company, refractive lens exchange may or may not be covered by your insurance. Insurance companies tend not to cover elective surgical procedures, so unless refractive lens exchange is a “medically necessary” procedure, it may not be covered by your insurance. However, when you consider the many costs of maintaining eyeglasses and contact lenses, the cost of refractive lens exchange begins to make much more sense. Especially if you are at risk for cataracts in the future, RLE may be an excellent option to improve your vision while also preventing cataracts from developing. Overall. RLE acts as an investment in your vision and overall well-being.
Who is a Candidate for Refractive Lens Exchange?
Like LASIK, not everyone who may want refractive lens exchange may be a good candidate for it. Some of the traits of a good candidate for refractive lens exchange include:
- Moderate to high farsightedness
- Presbyopia (or not high myopia)
- Want to reduce or eliminate dependency on glasses or contact lenses.
- Need an alternative to LASIK
- Those with early cataracts who are nearsighted, farsighted, or have astigmatism
- Usually over the age of 45
While older patients may be a better candidate for refractive lens exchange, younger individuals can still be accommodated. To find out if you’re a candidate for refractive lens exchange, schedule an appointment today!
Secondary Lens Placement (Yamane Technique)
This surgery is for patients who have had traumatic loss, damage, or dislocation of their previously implanted lens implant. In such cases, a new secondary lens can be implanted to help regain focus and vision. Depending on the health and condition of the eye after trauma, there may be surgical options to implant a new lens, such as securing the lens into position without sutures with intrascleral haptic fixation (Yamane Technique).
Can a Lens Implant be Redone?
Yes, a lens implant can be removed and replaced. However, this procedure is usually rare unless there is a problem with the implanted lens. Once an intraocular lens is planted, it is meant to be permanent. A lens implant is usually only redone if the IOL functions at an incorrect power or if the position shifts.
Can a Lens Implant Come Loose?
In very uncommon cases, yes, an intraocular lens can become dislocated. Although this is extremely rare, and if this does occur, a surgeon can put it back in its place quite easily. You may not notice any pain if your IOL becomes dislocated. However, if you experience any blurry, unfocused, or loss of vision, contact your doctor immediately.
Can Intraocular Lenses Fail?
While intraocular lenses can become dislocated, they are designed not to be replaced. Therefore, you can expect your IOL to not break down over your lifetime and will, more than likely, never need to be replaced. If need be, you can exchange your implants for another pair.