Dr. Darin Smith is a board-certified ophthalmologist here at Baptist Eye Surgeons. He joined us in 1998 and has primarily focused on comprehensive ophthalmology and his primary surgical focuses are cataracts and LASIK. We sat down with him to get answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about intraocular lenses and the role they play in cataract surgery.
Intraocular lenses replace your clouded natural lens after cataract surgery. They come in three types — standard, toric, and multifocal — with each having its own unique benefits. Intraocular lenses only become necessary once cataracts progress to the point that surgery is required. The best way to learn if you need cataract surgery is to see your Knoxville ophthalmologist for your annual comprehensive eye exam.
Watch the video below to see our full interview with Dr. Darin Smith!
What Are Intraocular Lenses?
Let’s back up and talk about cataracts briefly. A cataract is where your natural lens in the eye gets cloudy, usually due to age. When that gets bad enough, people end up needing cataract surgery. What we do in cataract surgery is remove the natural cloudy lens and replace that with a clear plastic lens implant. A lens implant is usually a silicone or acrylic lens implant that goes inside the eye after cataract surgery.
Other Causes of Cataracts
Aging isn’t the only cause of cataracts, although it is the most common. Other factors that can affect your risk of developing cataracts include:
- Family history
- Prolonged UV exposure
- Eye injuries
Everyone will develop cataracts eventually, but your family history can put you at a higher risk of developing them sooner. Having a close relative with cataracts can increase your chances compared to someone who doesn’t. Along with a host of other health problems, smoking makes you two or three times more likely to develop cataracts than non-smokers.
Although the reasons aren’t understood yet, diabetes is a major risk factor for cataracts. According to Diabetes.co.uk, diabetics are 60% more likely to develop cataracts than non-diabetics. Prolonged UV exposure can do long-term damage to your eyes, making owning a quality pair of sunglasses all the more important.
Click here to learn more about the surprising causes of cataracts!
Are There Different Types of Intraocular Lenses?
You have different options when you get a lens implant after cataract surgery. All lens implants come in different powers and different types. The power is individualized for each patient’s needs and patients get to choose from the different types of lens implants.
There a three different types of intraocular lens implants:
- Standard lens implants
- Toric lens implants
- Multifocal lens implants
The first one is considered a standard lens implant. Usually, that’s what’s covered by insurance. It will help for either distance vision or up close but not both. It also doesn’t do anything for astigmatism which has to do with the curvature of the cornea.
The second is called a toric lens implant and they are for correcting astigmatism. Patients who opt for the toric lens are trying to get out of glasses for either distance vision or up-close vision but not both.
The third type is called a multifocal lens implant which can fix everything. It can give you distance vision, up-close vision, and it treats astigmatism. The idea with this type of lens implant is to try and get out of glasses for everything.
When Would I Need Intraocular Lenses?
As far as when someone knows if they need cataract surgery, a lot of that has to do with being seen by your ophthalmologist on a regular basis. Symptoms of cataracts can cause:
- Blurry vision
- Hazy vision
- Trouble driving at night
- Trouble reading
There are a lot of different ways cataracts can cause problems. It’s pretty obvious that you might need cataract surgery when it’s really bad. However, cataracts grow very slowly over years and it’s very common for cataracts to get bad but it’s happened so subtly that people don’t recognize that until they’ve gotten worse. That’s why it’s important to get an annual comprehensive eye exam for routine eye care.
To read our complete guide to comprehensive eye exams in Knoxville, TN, click here!
How Do I Know if I Need Cataract Surgery?
As far as learning more about cataracts and when you might need cataract surgery, it comes down to being seen by an ophthalmologist. That’s going to be the most important thing. Now there’s a lot of information on the internet as far as learning about the different kinds of lens implants and that sort of thing.
Of course, you need to be a little bit careful about what you see on the internet. However, it can be a decent source of help. The main thing is scheduling a comprehensive eye exam with your ophthalmologist.
Want to learn more about your options for intraocular lenses in Knoxville, TN? Contact us today to schedule an appointment
Your natural, clouded lens is replaced with an intraocular lens after cataract surgery. They come in standard, toric, and multifocal varieties with their own unique strengths. These special lenses are only necessary once your cataracts have developed to the point that they require surgery. To learn if you require cataract surgery, schedule and attend your annual comprehensive eye exams in Knoxville, Tennessee.
Baptist Eye Surgeons is an ophthalmological practice in Knoxville, TN, and Morristown, TN. Give us a call at 865-579-3920 for more information or to schedule an appointment.