For patients who HAVE NOT been diagnosed with visually significant cataracts, this intraocular lens implant is STILL AN OPTION to consider if there is a desire to eliminate glasses. Before these new technology IOL’s were available, a patient’s only option was to have a refractive procedure (RK, LASIK, or PRK) that could not – and still cannot – correct both eyes for clear distance, intermediate, and near vision. In time, many of these patients would develop cataracts and their vision would decrease, and many would eventually require cataract surgery to once again improve vision. A clear lens extraction procedure is similar to cataract surgery. The difference is that instead of removing a cataract (a cloudy lens), the clear lens of the eye is removed and the IOL is used as a replacement.
One of the benefits of this option is that patients who undergo this procedure will never develop cataracts in the future because the lens of the eye has been removed and replaced already. Another is that while Medicare and private insurance companies do not cover this option, patients do not find themselves paying out of pocket for a LASIK or PRK procedure then again paying the copays, co-insurance, and deductibles related to cataract surgery.
Finally, patients that have had LASIK or PRK that now need cataract surgery have a greater risk for a “refractive surprise” and may find they need additional surgery or laser treatments to reach their refractive goal. A refractive surprise can occur because the natural corneal tissue is reshaped with LASIK or PRK resulting in altered corneal measurements. Corneal measurements are one of the measurements used in the formula to calculate the power selection for the intraocular lens implants (conventional or premium).
Surgeons cannot guarantee results with ANY surgery or procedure regardless of intended results. Risks, benefits, alternatives, and complications will be reviewed with every surgery patient individually.
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