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Cataract Surgery

Cataract surgery today is safe, effective, and quite common. Thanks to advanced cataract surgical procedures and intraocular lens implant technology, cataract surgery is not only one of the most frequently performed surgical procedures in the United States, but it is also one of the safest and most successful surgical procedures that you can have.

Cataract surgery is usually done on an outpatient basis either in a hospital or an ambulatory surgery center. Although the surgery may only take 20 minutes, you should expect to be in the hospital for about 4 hours on the day of your procedure.

When you arrive for surgery, you will be given eyedrops and a mild sedative to help make you comfortable. A local anesthetic will be used to numb your eye. The skin around your eye will be thoroughly cleansed, and sterile coverings will be placed around your head. You may see light and movement, but you will not be able to see the surgery while it is happening.


Under an operating microscope, a small, beveled incision, about 2.6mm wide, is made in the eye. In most cataract surgeries, microsurgical instruments are inserted through this opening and used to break apart and remove the cloudy lens from the eye. The back membrane of the lens (called the posterior capsule) is usually left in place.

A plastic, acrylic, or silicone intraocular lens is implanted in the eye to replace the natural lens that was removed.

After the surgery is complete, your doctor may place a shield over your eye. After a short stay in the outpatient recovery area, you will be ready to go home.

Intraocular Lens Implants (IOL)

Monofocal IOL


In the past, all lens implants used in cataract surgery were monofocal. A monofocal lens implant is the result of years of research and development and offer very good vision at one distance after surgery. Since they do not correct for presbyopia or astigmatism, the main limitation is that many patients still need to wear glasses after surgery in order to obtain their best vision for distance and/or near. A monofocal IOL is typically covered by most health insurance plans, and this type of lens implant is the one that most of our patients select.


Multifocal IOL

Multifocal or accommodating intraocular lens implants have the added advantage of being able to help you focus at both distance and near. Most patients electing to have these implants will not require eyeglasses in most daily situations. In order to have an optimal outcome with these implants, typically both eyes will need to have surgery with a similar type of lens implant.

Toric IOL


Toric intraocular lens implants have the advantage of correcting for astigmatism as well simple myopia or hyperopia. These implants can significantly reduce the amount of astigmatism you have after cataract surgery. With these implants, many patients are able to be less dependent on their eyeglasses for distance after surgery. This is a very good option for patients who want to optimize their distance vision with surgery, and who don’t mind using over-the-counter glasses only for reading.

Limbal Relaxing Incisions (LRI)


A limbal relaxing incision is an additional surgical procedure that can be performed at the same time you undergo cataract surgery. Like a toric IOL, an LRI procedure can reduce the amount of astigmatism you have after cataract surgery, and further reduce your dependence on eyeglasses for distance.

These technologies and procedures are exciting modern developments that can further reduce your dependence on eyeglasses and enhance your lifestyle after cataract surgery. Despite their added benefits, some people will still require eyeglasses after surgery for distance an/or near vision. If you are interested in hearing more about these options or about cataract surgery in general, please feel free to contact us.

At Central Vermont Eye Care, we take great pride in providing you with the TRUTH about all refractive surgical procedures including cataract surgery. These procedures and intraocular lens technologies can do many great things for many people. But there are many things that these procedures cannot do. We are committed to helping you make the right decision based on your eyes, your expectations, and your needs.

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