A cataract is a clouding of the crystalline lens of the eye. Because it is not a film over the lens, it can’t be removed with a laser or eye drops. Surgery is the only way to treat cataracts. Surgery involves removing the cloudy lens and replacing it with a synthetic intraocular lens (IOL). After numbing the eye, the surgeon removes the natural lens with gentle ultrasound and replaces it with an IOL. In standard cataract surgery, the IOL has a fixed focusing power that is set for distant vision.
Patients who choose a presbyopia-correcting IOL can benefit from improved distance and near vision. There are two general types of presbyopia-correcting IOLs: multifocal and accommodative. Multifocal IOLs use diffractive or refractive optics to restore distance, intermediate and near vision to the aging eye. Accommodative IOLs feature a hinged design that allows the lens to move forward as the eye focuses on near objects. Learn more about these specialty IOLs by clicking the links below.
Months or even years after cataract surgery, the posterior capsule (behind the intraocular lens) may become cloudy. If this happens, the surgeon will perform a simple laser procedure (called a YAG Capsulotomy) to make an opening in it. This opening allows light to enter again, restoring clear vision.