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Understanding Cataracts & Your Surgical Options

Understanding Cataracts & Your Surgical Options
Image Credit: Simpotich Photography/

What Are Cataracts?

Let’s start at the beginning…

Cataracts cause clouding of the lens of your eye, which is normally clear. Most cataracts develop slowly and don’t interfere with vision early-on, but with time they will eventually become bothersome. Cataracts can cause symptoms such as blurry vision, fading colors and halos around lights.

Our patients who have cataracts say that seeing through cloudy lenses is like looking through a foggy window. They most often complain that it’s difficult to drive at night, watch tv, read or see the expression on someone’s face.

Initially, stronger lighting and an update to your eyeglasses may help you function with cataracts. But when your vision becomes blurry to the point it interferes with your usual activities and lifestyle, it might be time to consider cataract surgery. Today cataract surgery is generally a safe and effective procedure.

What Happens During Cataract Surgery?

During cataract surgery, the cloudy lens is removed and replaced with a clear lens implant (also called an intraocular lens, or IOL). Just like prescription eyeglasses and contact lenses, IOLs are available in different strengths (also known as powers). To calculate the correct power for your implant, measurements of your eye will be taken before surgery, including the length of the eye and curvature of the cornea.

Today there are also different types of IOLs thanks to advances in technology. Each type works in a different way and offers various advantages for post-surgery vision. For instance, after cataract surgery some IOLs can reduce a person’s dependence on glasses or contacts. Ultimately, the type of IOL that’s right for you will depend on your lifestyle and visual goals, plus your medical and eye health history. Eye Care of Delaware offers four cataract surgical options.

4 Cataract Surgery Options

1. Basic Cataract Surgery Plan

The most common type of lens used with cataract surgery is called a monofocal IOL. It is the standard type of IOL, and by definition provides good vision correction for one distance only. The power of the lens is calculated for each patient, usually for distance (far away) vision. Monofocal IOLs can correct myopia (nearsightedness) and hyperopia (farsightedness), but they cannot correct astigmatism or presbyopia. To deliver the best vision after basic cataract surgery, eyeglasses will still be needed full-time for reading, and also to correct any residual nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism.

  • Manual method to remove the cataract with a blade, not laser
  • A monofocal IOL, chosen based on your desired focal point
  • This option does not treat astigmatism or presbyopia
  • For best vision, will likely still need glasses most of the time

Monofocal lenses are typically covered by health insurance companies as part of a cataract surgery procedure, unless you have a copay or deductible that hasn’t been met. The next three options use newer technology and will bring some additional charges. All of these factors will be discussed during your cataract evaluation.

2. Basic Plus Plan

The Basic Plus option adds the safety and precision of our laser, along with an enhanced-function lens implant that adds a slight measurable improvement in visual range. The laser can reduce small amounts of astigmatism to enhance visual outcome. Other benefits of laser-assisted cataract surgery include more precise incisions, less corneal swelling – and a quicker recovery.

  • Laser-assisted surgery allows Dr. Boyd to achieve greater precision using less ultrasonic energy to remove the cataract
  • Treatment of astigmatism with the femtosecond laser can increase visual outcomes
  • An enhanced-function IOL provides improvement in visual range

3. Toric Lens Plan

Astigmatism occurs when the cornea is not perfectly spherical – it has more of a football shape than a basketball shape and can blur vision at all distances. Patients who have higher amounts of astigmatism (beyond what the laser can correct) may want to consider a toric IOL. Toric IOLs are specifically designed to treat astigmatism. At the time of cataract surgery they are precisely aligned to correct any pre-existing corneal based astigmatism. This allows for improved quality of vision and also decreases the need to use glasses for distance. It’s important to note that patients will still need reading glasses for both intermediate and near vision.

  • Specialized implant for patients with higher amounts of astigmatism
  • A customized aspheric IOL to further clarify distance vision
  • This option does not treat presbyopia; patients will still require reading glasses all the time

4. Expanded Range of Vision Plan

To expand your range of vision these IOLs contain added magnification strengths in different parts of the lens. They can help provide the most independence from glasses, allowing you to see objects at all distances.

With our “Expanded Range of Vision Plan” Dr. Boyd uses the latest ophthalmic technology to achieve your personal best vision. This option provides patients with a more useful range of vision for everyday activities, such as driving, working on a computer, reading a text message and so on. However, reading glasses may still be needed in dim lighting or with very small print.

  • Customized surgical astigmatism management
  • An advanced presbyopia-correcting IOL
  • Can choose a mixed/blended strategy to optimize performance

Eye Care of Delaware Can Help You Make the Right Cataract Surgery Choice

If you have cataracts call Eye Care of Delaware today at (302) 454-8800. We will explain the different options and help you make the best choice for your situation. Schedule a consultation appointment today. Let’s reset your vision!

Eye Care of Delaware Treatments & Surgeries

Our Delaware cataract and laser surgery center is home to many advanced eye surgery procedures and treatments. We offer solutions for these most common eye disorders.

Eye that has a cataract because it hasn't had cataract removal surgery


Cataract surgery can correct a cloudy, natural lens, while also correcting one’s vision with an IOL replacement.

Eye that has damage to the cornea and needs treatment


Resolve corneal infections with effective treatments ranging from dry eye to ocular surface disease.

Cloudy eye ball because it hasn't been treated for Glaucoma


Accurate glaucoma testing and treatment is essential to reduce the risk of vision loss as you age.

Eye on a person's face after refractive surgery


Refractive lens exchange will correct farsightedness, nearsightedness or astigmatism.

Eyelid getting marketing for eyelid surgery


Reshape and remove excess skin and fatty tissue from the eyelids with eyelid surgery.

Eye that needs a retinal treatment


Retinal treatments stop gradual vision loss from macular degeneration, retinal tears or detachment.