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Cataracts & Lens Implants

Premium Lens ImplantsTwenty five years ago the usual treatment for cataracts was removal of the clouded lens followed by wearing glasses with very thick lenses, while presbyopia required the use of reading glasses.

Today, due to the amazing advancements in IOL technology, a patient can hope for and achieve good to excellent vision quality from a lens implant without the need for glasses at all.

A lens implant or intraocular lens (IOL) is an implanted synthetic lens that replaces the eye’s natural lens.

Depending on the type selected, an IOL can also correct the eye’s existing refractive error (nearsightedness or farsightedness) and a patient who has received an IOL can still have his or her vision further improved with laser vision correction.

The type of lifestyle IOL determines the quality of vision improvement.

Monofocal IOLs are the ‘standard’ or conventional type of lifestyle IOL. By definition, a monofocal IOL provides good vision correction for one distance only. The power of the lens is pre-calculated for each individual, generally for far vision. However, some patients, with their doctor's recommendation, may choose to correct for near vision. If corrected for far vision, glasses for reading will still be needed and patients with astigmatism may still require glasses to sharpen their distance vision.

Multifocal IOLs provide vision correction at all distances. Multifocal IOLs are more costly and generally not fully covered by insurance, but are frequently preferred over monofocal IOLs because they can reduce or completely eliminate the need for reading glasses.

The surgical procedure for presbyopia is essentially the same as for cataracts and offers a permanent solution to the effects of this cause of impaired vision.

The direct translation of presbyopia is “elder eye”. This condition is due to the loss of flexibility of the natural lens of the eye.

As a person ages beyond his or her 40s, the lens gradually becomes more rigid and the eye muscles can no longer flex enough to focus for close-up vision. In the past, presbyopia was usually addressed with bifocal lenses, reading glasses, or monovision contact lenses.

Common symptoms of presbyopia are:

  • Difficulty reading fine print, particularly in low light conditions
  • Eyestrain when reading for long periods
  • Blurred near vision
  • Difficulty transitioning between viewing distances from close to far
  • The feeling that your arms have become “too short” to hold reading material at a comfortable distance
Toric IOL

Toric IOLToric IOLs are engineered something like the shape of a donut and are specifically designed to correct astigmatism. The donut shape of the lens offsets the imbalance created by the irregular shape of the cornea, which is the same technology as in contact lenses.

Cataract Surgery

Cataract Surgery Procedure

More than three million cataract surgeries are performed in the United States each year. Cataract surgery is considered one of the safest and most effective of all medical procedures.

The virtually painless procedure usually takes 15-30 minutes. The surgeon makes a small incision at or near the cornea and removes the cloudy or inflexible lens. The new lens (IOL) is then inserted into its permanent position.

The most advanced type of surgical procedure – and the one performed at Thomas Eye Group – is called phacoemulsification, which does not require needles or stitches.

With this advanced technique the affected lens is removed and replaced with an IOL. Clear vision is restored and the eye heals rapidly. More than 97% of patients who undergo phacoemulsification experience no complications at all.

Patients can usually return to their normal activities the following day.

CataractUnderstanding cataracts
What is a cataract?

Some vision problems like nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism affect us from birth because they are related to irregularities of the cornea. Others, like the development of cataracts, slowly creep up on us as we age.

CataractA cataract is a"clouding" of the eye's natural lens, which results in blurred or defocused vision. Cataracts are often described as looking through wax paper or cloudy cellophane. People with cataracts also have color differentiation issues and may not be able to tell the difference between two black socks. According to a recent article published in the Archives of Ophthalmology, more than 20 million adults in the U.S. have developed cataracts making it the number one cause of poor vision in the United States. In most cases cataract surgery is required where the natural lens is replaced with a man made lens, often referred to as IOL or intraocular lens. This surgery is highly successful and has been drastically improved over the years.

  • Blurred or cloudy vision
  • Colors appear faded or dull
  • Lamps such as headlights or streetlights have glare or halos; sunlight may appear too bright
  • Poor night vision
  • Double or multiple vision in one eye; this effect may disappear as the cataract grows
  • Frequent prescription changes in your eyeglasses or contact lenses

Important Note: These symptoms can indicate other eye problems that may also result in blindness if left untreated. If you have any of these symptoms, make an appointment with Thomas Eye Group immediately for a complete eye examination.

Cataract surgery is almost always highly successful. Over 90% of patients who have the surgery enjoy improved vision. Many patients find that their vision improvement begins immediately and they can often resume normal activities within hours after surgery.

Some find their vision better than ever after the procedure, while others may need to wear glasses for reading (known as Presbyopia) and other activities.

During the initial healing period there may be a few limitations on strenuous activities, but most people can return to normal life quickly. They are surprised to find that they can also engage in activities that were once off-limits due to cataracts, such as reading and social activities.

If you choose to have the new lifestyle lens implanted, you will have the benefit of improved distance and near vision. This lens will further reduce your dependency on glasses. Your doctor can help you determine if you are a candidate for this lens.

Of course, there is some risk with any surgery, and a perfect result, no matter how likely, cannot be guaranteed. Make sure you discuss the surgery in detail with your doctor, and get all of your questions answered. At Thomas Eye Group, we welcome and encourage our patients' questions.

Researchers believe that there are several causes:

  • Aging
  • Diabetes
  • Long-term exposure to ultraviolet light
  • Exposure to radiation
  • Hypertension
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Eye injuries
  • Genetic factors (a parent or grandparent who had cataracts)

In the early stages of cataracts, one sees colors less vibrantly. In the later stages, the lens becomes almost opaque and has to be replaced with a clear artificial lens. This procedure is called refractive lens exchange.

Take our Free Cataracts Self-Evaluation here.

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The available services at Thomas Eye Group range from comprehensive eye exams to specialty services in LASIK, retinal and corneal disorders, glaucoma, and plastic surgery. To correct vision problems, our doctors are trained in the most current refractive surgery techniques. We also offer contact lenses and glasses to those who prefer a traditional solution.

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"To say that I am pleased with the outcome of my surgery is an understatement. What a difference this surgery has made in my life! It is so great to be able to read street signs - even the green ones - at night. Thank you so much!"
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- Paige Morris

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At Thomas Eye Group Atlanta, our board-certified ophthalmologists and optometrists have decades of combined experience in eye care. We work together as a team to bring you specialized, state-of-the-art care from caring professionals.

Our team of doctors is comprised of ophthalmologists, optometrists, and skilled support staff. Within our group of ophthalmologists, we have several sub-specialists, including LASIK, glaucoma, retina, and plastic surgery or Oculoplastics. At six locations throughout the greater Atlanta area, our group provides services ranging from comprehensive eye examinations and contact lens care to sophisticated microsurgery for cataracts, cornea and retinal disease, and refractive surgery, including LASIK.

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