May 26, 2015 1:00 AM

Author: Virginia Rainey

Sooner or later, odds are that you’re going to develop a cataract or two. According to the National Eye Institute, by age 80, more than half of all Americans either have a cataract or have had cataract surgery.  Typically, this condition—a clouding of the normally transparent lens in the eye—shows up after age 65.

The good news is, cataract surgery is a once-in-a-lifetime procedure, and with new laser technologies and advanced lenses, it can actually improve your quality of life for the long term. The surgery involves removing the clouded lens of the eye and replacing it with a new lens called an IOL (which stands for intraocular lens). It’s one of the safest and most commonly performed operations around the world.

Talk to Your Doc

Once you decide on cataract surgery, your main concern is talking to your ophthalmologist about lens options. There’s definitely no “one size fits all” anymore. The lens that’s best for you depends on the unique characteristics of your eyes as well as your lifestyle.

A standard “monofocal” lens will give you good distance vision without glasses, but you will likely need reading glasses; however, with new IOL technology more advanced options can help you be free from glasses altogether. For instance, various types of multifocal lenses may let you see far away and up close without glasses. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, as we now have more IOL choices than ever.

 “In the past, cataract surgery consisted of having surgery and receiving an eyeglass prescription a few weeks later,” says William Barlow, MD, at the Moran Eye Center. “There was no thought of attempting to get away from using glasses.  With technological advancements available today, we have the ability to both improve vision with cataract surgery and potentially reduce dependence on eyeglasses. We do a thorough evaluation with state-of-the-art, specialized measurements to help us determine what IOL options are best for each individual.”

In addition to the technical side of his evaluations, Dr. Barlow suggests going through this lifestyle checklist:

  • What do you do for a living?
  • What do you do for fun?
  • What kind of activities and hobbies do you enjoy?
  • Do you do very close-up work, such as needlepoint?
  • Do you like to read in bed?  Would it be easier for you without glasses?
  • Do you mind wearing glasses?
  • Do you carry reading glasses? How do you feel about taking your glasses on and off?
  • How often do you replace your glasses?
  • How much do your glasses cost?
  • Are you in good health?
Read more about lens and cataract surgery.

Virginia Rainey

Virginia Rainey is a Communications Consultant at Moran Eye Center.

cataracts vision cataract surgery

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