3101 W. 57th St., Sioux Falls, SD 57108
(605) 361-EYES (3937) or (877) 522-EYES (3937)

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1925 N 22nd Ave, Suite 201, Bozeman, MT 59718
(701) 566-5390 or (866) 907-EYES (3937)

3101 W. 57th St., Sioux Falls, SD 57108

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CATARACTS

My Cataract

In a healthy eye, the iris (the colored part of the eye) regulates the amount of light that enters the eye through the pupil. The light passes through the lens, where it is focused onto the retina at the back of the eye. Signals are then sent from the retina to the brain via the optic nerve, where they are translated into the images you see.

A cataract is a clouding of the normally-clear lens in your eye. Though painless, cataracts can blur your vision by restricting the amount of light that enters your eye. In addition to hazy vision, indications of cataracts include unusual glare, poor night vision, and a change in how your eyes perceive colors. An eye with a cataract functions normally except that the lens has grown cloudy. Light enters the eye as usual, but the clouded lens disperses the light, causing the retina to have difficulty transmitting a clear image. Therefore, because the light that the retina receives is patchy, the retina's transmissions to the brain are also affected, resulting in hazy, blurred vision.

Most people's lenses will naturally become at least a bit cloudy as they age, and because cataracts tend to develop slowly, surgery may not be immediately necessary. But when your ability to read, drive, or carry out other normal activities is hindered, cataract surgery will likely be the best possible solution.

Identifying a Cataract

So how do you know if you have cataracts? The most important step is to visit your eye doctor so that he or she can evaluate your vision. This exam will generally include vision tests, an eye exam, and a review of your medical history to uncover any other vision problems you may have. If you are found to have cataracts, there are many surgical options to remove the clouded lenses and restore your vision that we specialize in here at Vance Thompson Vision.

Implant Options For Cataracts

When considering cataract surgery, it is important to go to a center that offers the following implant options and can discuss which implant best matches your lifestyle.

Lens Options

Standard Lens Implants :

Standard lens implants have been used for many years and are both effective and inexpensive. However, they have no ability to provide vision at more than one distance. Patients who select a standard implant still need to wear corrective lenses for most activities like driving or reading.

Aspheric Lens Implants :

Aspheric lens implants have been specially designed to reduce glare and visual disturbances occasionally noticeable with standard lens implants. These cost slightly more than a standard lens implant, so your insurance may not cover the entire cost of this lens. Patients who desire the best possible distance vision after cataract surgery may consider this option.

Accommodating Lens Implants :

An accommodating lens implant is one that can focus at variable distances. It has the ability to shift position in the eye and change focus points, just as your natural lens did when you were young. This often allows for very good distance and near vision without corrective lenses. Because of the nature of this lens implant, there is an additional cost to you beyond what your insurance would normally pay. If you are interested in a lens implant that will minimize your need for glasses after surgery, ask about the Crystalens accommodating intraocular lens.

Patient Testimonial: Carla Youngworth

Determining the Right Fit

To further determine the best cataract treatment for your eyes, we use a variety of advanced measurement and testing technologies.

We test your tear film analysis, which can contribute to poor vision and be treated after cataract surgery to improve a patient’s vision. Using an OCT, we assess the health of the retina. We perform an advanced corneal analysis, which measures corneal curvature and thickness. We measure the size of the patient’s pupil, as a patient’s pupil size can cause certain implants to be better than others. If needed, we can image the angle created where the cornea and iris meet, which can determine whether a patient is at risk for angle closure glaucoma, a serious condition caused by a thick cataract.

We perform density measurements of your natural lens where cataracts form, which can help us determine how much the cataract is affecting your vision. We determine whether a cataract is the source of blurry vision by using Wavefront technology to measure the optical properties of an eye. Using Optical Biometry or A-scan capabilities, we can accurately measure the length of a patient’s eye, the curvature of the cornea, and the distance between the cornea and the lens, which helps calculate what power of implant is best for a patient’s eye.

During the surgery, we can determine the optical power of a patient’s eye using ORA with verify, so we do not need to wait until the next day to see if the implant has the proper power.

By extensively testing the patient’s eyes, we can determine a patient’s individual needs for cataract surgery.

The Procedure

During surgery, the doctor will begin by making an incision on the eye in order to remove the clouded lens, which will then be replaced by a new artificial lens called an intraocular lens (IOL). The implant will not change the outward appearance of your eye, but it can drastically improve your vision. 

At Vance Thompson Vision, we offer both manual and ReLACS cataract surgery. In the traditional manual cataract surgery, the surgeon uses blade to make the small opening through which the cataract is removed. 

In ReLACS cataract surgery, a laser is used to make the incision. Dr. Vance Thompson assisted in the research and development of the ReLACS surgery by being involved in its clinical trials and FDA approval process. The difference with ReLACS cataract surgery is that the measurements available with the advanced lasers allow for a better implantable lens fit for the individual patient’s needs. 

Cataract Surgery: Benefits

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When removing the cataract, the doctor will use one of two standard methods. Phacoemulsification uses ultrasound to break the lens into pieces for removal through a small incision, while extracapsular extraction involves removing the entire lens at once through a large incision. Our doctors use the most advanced form of small incision phacoemulsification technology. The incision is made either at the far edge of the cornea or in the sclera (the white of the eye), and is also used for the placement of the implant. Small incisions tend to heal quickly and usually do not require stitches, but a large incision will need stitches to ensure that it closes and heals properly.

The exact shape and size of each implant varies from eye to eye, but all are held in place by small flexible loops called haptics that are attached to the lens. Implants are intended to last a lifetime, and are made of materials like silicone and acrylic that will not irritate your eye.

Once your eye has completely healed following the surgery, your vision should be clearer, though you may still need glasses to optimize your vision. There is also a possibility that, down the road, a secondary cataract will form. This occurs when the capsule that holds the new lens becomes cloudy. In such cases, a laser treatment (YAG capsulotomy) is used to make a small opening in the capsule, which clears up your vision by allowing more light to enter. This treatment takes just a few minutes to perform.

Identifying a Cataract

So how do you know if you have cataracts? The most important step is to visit your eye doctor so that he or she can evaluate your vision. This exam will generally include vision tests, an eye exam, and a review of your medical history to uncover any other vision problems you may have. If you are found to have cataracts, there are many surgical options to remove the clouded lenses and restore your vision that we specialize in here at Vance Thompson Vision.