cataracts OVERVIEW

As light enters the front of the eye, it passes through the cornea and the pupil and is then focused by the lens. Normally, the lens is clear and provides clean detailed vision. With time the lens becomes cloudy, a cataract is present.

Cataracts can progress slowly and take years to impair your vision or advance quickly and impair your vision in a matter of months especially in settings of trauma, surgery and with certain medications. The development of cataracts are a natural part of the aging process and is usually found in persons in their sixties and seventies, even though younger persons can develop them as well.

signs & Symptoms

Clouded, blurred or dim vision, increasing difficulty with vision at night, sensitivity to light and glare, seeing “halos” around lights, frequent changes in eyeglasses or contact lens prescriptions, fading or yellowing of colors, double vision in a single eye. People often describe their vision as having a film over it. If you notice any changes in your vision or develop sudden vision changes such as double vision or blurriness, see your doctor right away.



Cataract Surgery is one of the world’s most frequently performed procedures and has a very low rate of complications. Most cataract surgery is performed in a hospital or surgical center. The most common form of cataract surgery uses a process called phacoemulsification. With the use of an operating microscope, your surgeon will make a very small incision in the surface of your eye in or near the cornea. A thin ultrasound probe is then placed in the eye that causes ultrasonic vibrations to dissolve the clouded lens. The resulting tiny fragmented pieces are then removed out through the incision. Once removed, an artificial lens is placed into the same thin capsular bag the cataract occupied. This intraocular lens helps focus the light after your surgery, providing clear vision.

Either local anesthesia or topical anesthetic eye drops are used during surgery. An anesthesiologist specialist monitors the patient for safety throughout the surgery. The actual operation usually takes 20 minutes or less.

IOL Options

We are fortunate to have a variety of intraocular lens (IOL) options available at the time of cataract surgery now. Your physician will review the following options with you and make recommendations based on your visual desires at the time of surgery.

image1   Monofocal Lenses

Monofocal lenses are the most commonly implanted lenses today and are covered in the cost of your procedure. They have equal power in all regions of the lens and can provide high quality vision at a single focal point (usually at a distance). These lenses will not correct astigmatism, and individuals will likely need glasses after surgery for near vision tasks such as reading and writing.

image1   Toric Lenses

Toric lenses are similar to monofocal lenses but have the added benefit of being able to correct for astigmatism at the time of surgery. For individuals with a significant amount of astigmatism, toric lenses can decrease an individual’s dependence on glasses following surgery. Your physician will measure the amount of astigmatism present prior to surgery let you know if a toric lens is a good option for you. While toric lenses can provide sharp distance vision, glasses may still be required for near vision tasks.

image1   Multifocal Lenses

Multifocal Lenses have been available for many years and continue to show improvement since they first became available for implantation. They typically have two focal points, one for distance and one for near (or intermediate). These lenses allow individuals to see clearly at a variety of distances. Although there is a good chance individuals will be less dependent on glasses following surgery, some glare and halos may be present around lights at night. The Alcon Restor 2.5 with Activefocus and Alcon Restor 3.0 are both available for implantation at Utah Valley Eye Center.

image1   Symfony Lenses

Symfony lenses are the first extended depth of focus lens approved for cataract surgery in the United States. In comparison with other lenses, the Symfony lens provides a continuous range of vision from distance to near. While the Symfony lens can significantly decrease your dependence on glasses following surgery, some individuals may notice glare, halos, or starbursts around lights at night. Talk to your ophthalmologist to see if Symfony lens is a good option for you.

image1  Trifocal Lenses

Trifocal lenses are now available for implantation at Utah Valley Eye Center and allow patients to have excellent distance, intermediate, and near vision. These lenses have been available in Europe for many years and now the Alcon Panoptix lens is FDA approved for use in the United States. In the clinic trials leading up to FDA approval, 99% of patients who had cataract surgery with the Alcon Panoptix lens said they would choose the same lens again. We are pleased to offer the latest in premium cataract surgery with the Alcon Panoptix lens at Utah Valley Eye Center.

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