During your Cataract Examination, our doctors will answer any questions you may have and assess your options for improving your vision.
What Is a Cataract?
A cataract refers to clouding or “browning” of the natural lens in your eye as you age. Some people develop only small cataracts throughout their entire life, while others may develop significant cataracts at a much younger age. For most people, cataracts will begin to affect the quality of their vision sometime after age 80.
For many people, the onset of their cataracts happens slowly over time, making them unaware of just how cloudy their vision has become. Colors become less vivid, night vision is difficult, and everything may appear blurry or cloudy. Once a cataract has developed, it will continue to darken and further impair your vision and the activities you enjoy.
Once a cataract reaches a certain stage, the only treatment option to restore your youthful vision is to work with a trusted surgeon to remove the cataract lens and replace it with an advanced, clear intraocular lens. The new lens implant will restore your vision (either with or without glasses).
If you would like to learn more about whether you may be eligible for cataract surgery, take our self-evaluation survey and we will send you more information about your options.
Lens Affected by Cataracts
Lens with cataract is severely clouded and distorts vision
High Definition Laser Cataract Surgery™
Cataract surgery has seen many advancements over the years, and cataract surgery today offers patients more vision options than even 10 years ago. For your cataract surgery, choosing the right surgeon, technology, lens, and team to care for your vision throughout the process is more important than ever. The team at Valley Eye Associates has performed over 55,000 surgical procedures over a combined 50 years of experience. Our expertise and commitment to excellence helps us provide a premium cataract surgery experience to all patients.
One of the most exciting innovations in cataract surgery was introduced to the United States in 2010 and was first brought to the Fox Valley by Valley Eye Associates. It’s called High Definition Laser Cataract Surgery (HDLCS), and it has changed the precision and accuracy of cataract surgery both in the Fox Valley and around the world.
In traditional cataract surgery, the surgeon will use a handheld blade to make the initial small incisions in the eye to gain access to the cataract. This traditional method results in an incision that is slightly larger and less precise than a laser incision. In addition, the traditional incision requires a slightly longer recovery time and does not offer your surgeon the ability to correct for astigmatism.
In HDLCS, your surgeon will use a femtosecond laser for the important initial steps of your cataract procedure. The laser creates a smaller, more precise incision in the eye and will assist your surgeon in removing the cloudy lens with less impact on your eye. This results in quicker recovery time and more precision than ever before.
As an added benefit, HDLCS can allow your surgeon to treat astigmatism as part of your cataract surgery, which can further improve your vision outcome. Our goal with HDLCS is to make you less dependent on glasses and contact lenses.
Cataract surgery continues to improve and evolve, and whether you choose blade surgery or High Definition Laser Cataract Surgery from Valley Eye Associates, our goal is to achieve the best possible result.
Want to learn more about High Definition Laser Cataract Surgery? Join us for our next seminar with Dr. Michael Vrabec.
Intraocular Lens Implant (IOL) Options
Choosing the type of cataract surgery (laser vs. blade) you want to receive is the first important decision you need to make for your cataract procedure, but it’s not the only one! There are more IOL options available than ever before and choosing the proper IOL for your vision goals and lifestyle will ensure you are completely satisfied with the outcome of your cataract surgery.
In addition to our premier High Definition Laser Cataract Surgery™ program, Valley Eye Associates offers a full menu of the most advanced and innovative IOLs available today. During your Cataract Examination, you’ll learn more about each of these lenses and which one might be the best fit for you.
A monofocal IOL is an advanced acrylic lens that focuses vision on a single point. This lens will allow you to see clearly at one distance and require you to wear glasses or contact lenses to see at other distances. Many people who choose this lens decide they want to see clearly at distance and wear reading glasses for up-close vision (cell phone) or intermediate vision (speedometer). Valley Eye Associates is proud to feature the TECNIS Monofocal lens and the Alcon Acrysof in its cataract program.
For patients with moderate or advanced astigmatism, the TORIC IOL is an excellent option when combined with HDLCS to achieve clear vision at one distance (usually far) without glasses or contact lenses.
A multifocal lens is a premium clear lens that features concentric focus rings, allowing you to focus and see clearly at multiple distances after surgery. The goal of a multifocal lens is to help you see near, far, and everything in between to reduce or eliminate your need for glasses or contact lenses. Multifocal IOLs are a fantastic option for those willing to invest in lens technology for a more active and spectacle-free lifestyle.
Introducing the RxSight® Light Adjustable Lens™
The Light Adjustable Lens™ is one of the most exciting new technologies developed for cataract surgery in recent history. With the Light Adjustable Lens, your doctor can offer you a new level of precision, customization, and control of your final visual outcome.
The Revolutionary “Before vs After” Difference
During cataract surgery, with all other intraocular lenses, your doctor will measure your eye and select a lens prescription BEFORE your surgery. However, it can be difficult to predict exactly how your eye will respond to the surgery and lens and what prescription you might need in glasses to achieve your best vision.
With the Light Adjustable Lens, the intraocular lens placed in your eye is adjustable and customizable AFTER your surgery without additional surgery. You will be able to “test drive” and experience for yourself a number of vision options before you decide on your final vision outcome. This ability to adjust and customize your vision after surgery without additional surgery is what makes the Light Adjustable Lens truly remarkable.
The Light Adjustable Lens was designed by a Nobel-winning scientist and is made of a special photosensitive material that changes shape and power in response to ultraviolet (UV) light. This ability to change shape in response to light treatments is what gives the lens the ability to adjust to your needs. Your doctor will use a Light Delivery Device after your implant is placed in your eye to customize your IOL until you are satisfied with your visual outcome.
The Light Adjustable Lens is the ideal lens option for patients who desire a precise and customized approach to their cataract surgery. If you want to learn more about the Light Adjustable Lens, please contact Valley Eye Associates at (920) 739-4361 to schedule a free VIP cataract consultation.
The LAL can be shaped and adjusted to your exact needs.
Test Drive Your Vision
See and experience your vision options before deciding on your final vision.
Remove the guesswork from your lens selection process.
First and Only
The LAL is the first and only lens that is customizable after surgery.
Introducing the PanOptix® Multifocal IOL
New innovations in lens technology have led to the creation of a multifocal (trifocal) IOL option for your cataract surgery. PanOptix is the first and only multifocal trifocal IOL approved for use in the U.S., and it has revolutionized cataract surgery results for our patients.
Previous multifocal IOLs were based off a bifocal design, which meant one of the three distances we generally look at (far, intermediate, and near) would not be as clear as the other two. The PanOptix multifocal trifocal IOL addresses this problem through advanced optical re-engineering, which creates a multifocal IOL with none of the three distances being compromised.
With the PanOptix lens, you can correct astigmatism with the toric version of the IOL. Schedule a Cataract Examination to learn whether the PanOptix trifocal IOL is right for you.
No blurry zones means you can see without straining to focus.
Discover High Definition
The PanOptix lens delivers all-around brighter, more vivid colors.
The PanOptix lens corrects and sharpens your vision, so you’re likely to wear glasses less often.
Stay in the Clear
Patients reported that they were less bothered by glare around bright lights.
Potential Side Effects: Due to the design of multifocal IOLs, there are some side effects that can be associated with them. These may be worse than with a monofocal IOL, including visual disturbances such as glare, rings around lights, starbursts (rays around light sources), and reduced contrast sensitivity (decrease in ability to distinguish objects from their background, especially in dim lighting). These side effects may make it more difficult to see while driving at night or completing tasks in low lighting conditions, such as at night or in fog or in a dimly lit room, after surgery as compared to before surgery. There is a chance that you still may need glasses for distance, intermediate, and/or near vision. You will get the full benefit of the multifocal IOL when it is placed in both eyes.
The ORA™ System
Featuring VerifEye+™ Technology
In addition to our advanced laser and lens technology, Valley Eye Associates is also a leader in offering the most advanced diagnostic measurement and surgical technology available today. These powerful technologies can assist your cataract surgeon in fine-tuning the accuracy and outcome of your cataract surgery.
Traditionally, cataract surgeons have needed to wait weeks after a cataract surgery is completed to fully measure the outcome of your procedure. Since 2012, an intraoperative innovation has allowed us achieve this same outcome measurement quickly and accurately during your actual cataract procedure, which helps us optimize your procedure in real time, for more consistent results. This new technology is called ORA with VerifEye+. ORA is a powerful tool for improving your cataract surgery, and Dr. Vrabec, Dr. Salm, Dr. Unger and the team at Valley Eye Associates is the first in the region to offer this exciting technology.
- ORA allows your surgeon to accurately review your vision during your cataract procedure
- ORA offers measurements for more accurate calculations to guide your cataract procedure
- VerifEye+ Technology validates the ORA data in real-time during your surgery, adding another layer of precision
- ORA is clinically proven to result in more consistent accuracy for your cataract procedure, leading to higher patient satisfaction
- ORA is highly beneficial for patients with astigmatism and patients who have previously had an eye procedure such as LASIK or PRK
- ORA reduces the need for follow-up treatments after your cataract surgery
What are the symptoms of cataracts?
Cataracts can create a wide variety of vision symptoms for people, but most people suffering from cataracts experience some of the following symptoms:
- Cloudy vision
- Blurry vision
- Colors that don’t appear bright or vivid
- Trouble seeing or driving at night or in low-light environments
- Increased sensitivity to glare
- Frequent prescription changes in your glasses or contacts
If you are experiencing any of these vision symptoms, schedule a Cataract Examination with your eye doctor to determine if cataract surgery can improve your vision and lifestyle.
When are my cataracts bad enough to require surgery?
For many people, cataracts develop slowly, over months and even years. They don’t notice how much their vision has declined until it begins affecting their daily lives in many ways. This is one of the most frustrating parts of cataracts for many people — they slowly create poor vision without people noticing the slow decline.
The best time to have cataract surgery is whenever your cataracts begin to affect your daily vision and lifestyle. Whether your cataracts are small or large, our advanced cataract surgery technology ensures you no longer need to wait or suffer from blurry, cloudy vision due to cataracts. Your doctor can give you more information about how cataracts are affecting your vision at your Cataract Examination.
What happens during cataract surgery?
Cataract surgery is the most commonly performed outpatient surgery in the United States — it is a predictable, comfortable, and precise surgery experience. At Valley Eye Associates, we do everything possible to ensure your surgery experience is professional, comfortable, and convenient. During the procedure, you will receive intravenous medication to keep you relaxed throughout the procedure. Your surgeon will gently remove the cloudy cataract lens and replace it with an Intraocular Lens (IOL). With the latest advancements in cataract surgery, your eye will not need stitches after your cataract surgery, leading to quicker recovery and more precise outcomes. Cataract surgery at Valley Eye Associates is a premium experience that will get you back to seeing clearly.
How long will it take to recover after cataract surgery?
After your outpatient procedure, you will return home and rest for 12-24 hours. Your eye will feel comfortable very quickly after cataract surgery, and most patients experience improvement in their vision just one to two days after cataract surgery as their eyes adapt to the new IOL. It’s very important that you use your prescribed medications and follow your doctor’s instructions after your surgery.
Most patients resume normal daily activities just two to three days after cataract surgery. Your doctor will give you detailed instructions after your surgery and will check on your recovery during your follow-up visits. After this short recovery period, you’ll be free to enjoy your new vision for a lifetime!
Is cataract surgery expensive?
Thanks to advances in cataract surgery technology, you have more options than ever before to improve and customize your vision during cataract surgery. Traditional parts of your cataract surgery may be covered by Medicare or your insurance provider, while premium technology innovations offered by Valley Eye Associates carry elective fees to be paid by the patient. When you come in for your Cataract Examination, we will discuss your options, the fees associated with each option, and make a recommendation of what we think will be best for you.
Will I need to wear glasses after my cataract surgery?
Your need for glasses or contact lenses after cataract surgery will depend on the type of cataract surgery you receive (blade or laser) and the type of IOL you choose (monofocal or multifocal). Some people are comfortable wearing glasses after cataract surgery, while others desire the option to reduce or eliminate their need for glasses or contact lenses.
Be sure to discuss with your doctor your lifestyle goals and whether you want to wear glasses after your cataract surgery. This will help us understand your goals and make the best possible recommendations for your cataract surgery.
Cataract Surgery Affordability
Cataract surgery is a fantastic investment in your vision and your future. Valley Eye Associates is committed to providing the best cataract program in the region, and we’re also committed to making High Definition Laser Cataract Surgery affordable for as many people as possible. That’s why we’ve partnered with CareCredit to create a variety of payment plan options for you. We hope these payment plan options can help you envision how High Definition Laser Cataract Surgery might fit into your budget. Schedule your Cataract Examination or call our office at (800) 344‑4443 to learn more about all the options available to you!