What is a Cataract?

A cataract occurs when the normally clear lens of the eye becomes cloudy and interferes with light passing through the eye. Cataracts usually begin developing around midlife and progress with age. Approximately 60% of people over the age of 60 and 70% of people over 75 have cataracts.  In addition to the aging process diabetes, glaucoma, eye trauma, and smoking can cause cataracts. The process is generally gradual, and people often do not realize what is happening until they have an eye exam. They can affect one eye or both eyes. As cataracts become denser, they produce visual symptoms; these typically include blur, glare, halos around lights, and double vision. Colors can become dull, a brown-yellow tint is common, and driving can become dangerous. Untreated, cataracts can cause blindness. In the U.S., however, cataracts are usually treated when they begin to interfere with activities of daily living such as reading and driving.

How are cataracts treated?

The experts at Jones Eye Clinic specialize in advanced surgical techniques to surgically treat cataracts. The virtually painless procedure takes a few minutes at our surgery center adjacent to the clinic. Topical anesthesia ensures your comfort during surgery and allows the surgery to be done without a needle stick near the eye. A process called phacoemulsification is used to break up the cataract and then vacuum it away. Then the surgeon inserts an intraocular lens or IOL to replace the natural lens that was removed. Most patients return to the clinic for a post-operative check within a few hours of the surgery. As an added convenience you may be able to return to your local eye doctor for the remainder of your care. You will typically enjoy an improvement to your vision a few hours after surgery.


What is an Intraocular Lens?

An intraocular lens or IOL is usually implanted during cataract surgery to replace the clouded natural lens that is being removed. A comprehensive eye examination prior to surgery and discussion with your doctor will determine what type, size and power of IOL is needed. These lens implants are made from a flexible material and folded for insertion into the micro incision used to remove the cataract. Doctors at Jones Eye Clinic were pioneers of IOL implant lens in the early 1970s. Since that time many advances have increased the number of lens choices available to patients. Your vision is achieved through a process of consultation with your eye surgeon to select the best lens to achieve your goals.

Standard Lens
For more than 30 years, doctors have treated cataracts by replacing them with a conventional IOL, which allows you to focus clearly at one distance only. Typically, patients would choose to have the doctor aim for the best distance vision with the understanding that glasses would still be needed for close work, such as reading.

Premium Lens
In recent years, however, IOLs have undergone tremendous advances. While your choice was previously limited to selecting a Standard IOL for one focal point, and using eye glasses for everything else; premium lenses can now provide good distance, intermediate and near vision. Our goal when using one of these premium IOL lenses is to provide you with a full range of vision, thus minimizing your dependence on glasses, including reading glasses or bifocals.


Multi-focal lenses work by using various optical zones seen as rings on the surface of the lens. These optical zones have different powers which determine the focal point based on what you are looking at.

Accommodating lenses work by shifting the focal point on hinges to mimic the natural change of focusing power you enjoyed up until about age 40-50. As you get older you develop presbyopic vision which simply means that your eyes have lost the ability to shift a focus point. Reading glasses are commonly required so that you can see things up close. The accommodating lens is designed to allow you to change the focal point of the lens.

These lenses are not for everyone and some additional testing will need to be completed to determine if you are a good candidate for these premium lenses. The majority of patients who have chosen premium IOLs are absolutely amazed with the results and would recommend the procedure to their friends and family who have cataracts.

For patients with astigmatism who are having cataract surgery, you now have an additional option; an IOL that makes it possible to treat the cataract and correct your astigmatism at the same time. These IOLs are called Toric IOLs. Your doctor will recommend the option that is best for you.

If you want to learn more about the life changing procedures involved in modern cataract surgery, we will be happy to answer all your questions. Although most insurance companies cover the cost for removal of your cataract, no insurance company will pay the additional amount charged for Toric, Multi-focal or Accommodative Lenses. If you are interested in any of these products or services, please understand that you will pay an additional fee per eye.