Traditional vs. Refractive Cataract Surgery

Surgery Options

Traditional cataract surgery can restore natural vision and make colors appear more vivid.  But patients who want the most out of life choose refractive cataract surgery – a customized approach to vision correction using the latest lens implants, diagnostics, lasers and operating room technologies for an opportunity to reduce their dependence on glasses all the time.

Lens Selection

There are two IOL replacement options. One is the monofocal IOL used for traditional cataract surgery which allows you to see at a distance, sometimes called a standard lens. However, for most intermediate and/or up-close tasks, glasses may be necessary.  If astigmatism is present, glasses for distance may be necessary, as well.

The other IOL option is a multifocal lens, or accommodating implant, sometimes called presbyopic correcting lenses. With these lenses, like the standard lens, they provide very good distance vision but also focus for intermediate and near vision.

A combination of two lens types may be used to create monofocal vision.  This technique is especially useful to those who are currently using mono vision contact lenses, where one eye is set for distance and the other for near. Mono vision allow patients to see well at all range of distances. One of the drawbacks to mono vision is depth perception. However, to those experienced with mono vision have trained their brain to function well using this technique and have no problem with depth perception.

For patients with a lot of astigmatism, other specialty lenses, called a toric lens, are available. Astigmatism is responsible for causing distorted images and blurry vision. For this condition, the toric lens has an astigmatism correction built into the implant itself and corrects distance vision.

Our knowledgeable and skilled refractive cataract specialists have the experience and expertise to match the right lens implant and technology to improve your vision so you may enjoy life to its fullest.

Which Lens is Right for You?

Matching the right lens to your eye is important.  Some patients don’t mind wearing glasses and will do fine selecting traditional cataract surgery and the standard IOL. However, most patients don’t want to be tied to glasses or dependent upon them for the rest of their lives.  Many have grown up wearing glasses or contacts all their lives and wish to invest in refractive cataract surgery with the possibility of achieving the best possible outcome and never having to wear glasses full time ever again. This is why it is important to have a discussion with your surgeon to go over lens options so we can understand what your desire is for vision outcome.

We will be glad to review all your options during your exam.

Astigmatism Correction

The shape of your cornea can determine how clearly you see. A round shaped cornea, shaped like a basketball, evenly bends light passing through the eye and onto the retina. An oval shaped cornea, similar to a football, bends light unevenly causing a distortion of images on the retina. Patients with astigmatism often complain of blurry or shadowed images. Left uncorrected, patients with astigmatism will be dependent upon glasses all the time after cataract surgery.

Refractive cataract surgery provide patients with options for correcting astigmatism at the time of their surgery. Depending on the severity of the astigmatism will determine which treatment option the doctor will prescribe. A little astigmatism (less than 4 diopters), can be corrected using precision guided lasers to relax the corneal surface and giving it a symmetrically rounded shape. Eyes with a lot of astigmatism (greater than 4) may choose a toric lens implant, custom matched to bend light evenly across the retina.

Refractive cataract surgery combines the experience of a well-trained surgeon using the latest advanced surgical methods and operating room technologies to bring your vision into sharper focus without the aid of glasses or contacts all the time. How well you see after cataract surgery depends upon your decision of lens selection and astigmatism correction. Be sure to ask us if refractive cataract surgery is right for you.

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Our Specialists

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Stephen M. Weinstock, M.D., F.A.C.S.

Founder of The Eye Institute of West Florida in 1974, pioneering sub-specialty eye care in Pinellas County.
Cataract and LASIK specialist
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Robert J. Weinstock, M.D.

Board-certified ophthalmologist and is fellowship-trained in cataract and refractive surgery.
Refractive Cataract & LASIK Surgery
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Neel R. Desai, M.D.

A fellowship-trained ophthalmologist strictly specializing in LASIK, cataract and corneal diseases of the eye.
Refractive Cataract, Cornea & LASIK Surgery