Cataract Services to Treat the Leading Cause of Vision Loss
Imagine being in a smoky room or an area of dense fog — the scene in front of you is clouded and it’s hard to see people or shapes in clear definition. For those with great eyesight this would be a temporary situation, but for those suffering from cataracts clouded vision like this is how they see the world.
About 20.5 million Americans age 40 and older have a cataract in one or both eyes, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). We’ll discuss what cataracts are and the variations in cataract treatments patients can receive from our physicians at Dean McGee Eye Institute.
What are cataracts?
According to the CDC, cataracts are the leading cause of blindness worldwide and the leading cause of vision loss in the United States. Patients who suffer from cataracts have a clouding of the eye’s lens and typically have blurry, cloudy, dim, or dull vision.
While the beginning stages of a patient’s cataracts might not affect their vision entirely, a patient’s daily routine and vision will be impaired as the cataract progresses.
“Cataracts can be part of the aging process, but fortunately when it becomes problematic for patients, we can do surgery to improve their vision. Of course there can be limitations due to other eye diseases, but generally, patients have vision improvement,” said Ann Acers-Warn, MD, MBA, a Clinical Associate Professor at Dean McGee Eye Institute.
What cataract services does DMEI offer?
“The type of cataract surgery we do depends on the patient’s goals and motivations,” Dr. Acers-Warn said, “whether in our Lawton facility or one of the other DMEI locations.”
The Dean McGee Eye Institute offers patients a choice of four cataract surgery packages from which to choose. Below we’ll feature each cataract package and what each one offers to patients.
With the standard cataract package, patients will receive cataract removal using a phacoemulsifier unit and incisions created with a standard operating scalpel. Phacoemulsifier units are a standard of cataract surgery that breaks up the cataract using emulsification and aspiration. Patients will also have a monofocal lens implanted, allowing them to focus on one location of either distance, intermediate, or near. It’s important to note that this procedure is not for those with astigmatism because it will not be corrected.
“Many patients choose the standard cataract surgery package because insurance often covers most of the cost with standard co-pays and deductibles, and they are aware that they’ll likely need glasses, at least for near vision, following the surgery,” Dr. Acers-Warn said.
Packages that treat astigmatism
“Some patients are motivated by other goals and want their astigmatism addressed during their cataract surgery. For that, there are three ways we can perform the surgery,” Dr. Acers-Warn said.
Each of the following cataract surgery packages include:
- LenSx laser assisted cataract removal
- Astigmatic reduction
- Intraoperative computer-assisted technology to select the optimum lenses
- Reduced dependence on glasses
The following are the differences in the three astigmatic packages:
Advanced diagnostic testing and laser incision
The advanced diagnostic testing and laser incision package can reduce small amounts of astigmatism and includes a monofocal lens implant that allows patients to focus on one location of either distance, intermediate, or near.