Laser Cataract Surgery & Custom Lens Replacement
At Bennett Walton Vision, we love guiding people through their Laser Cataract Surgery or Custom Lens Replacement journey. Custom Lens Replacement (CLR) simply refers to replacing the natural lens before it becomes a cataract, which allows us to correct the vision with a new, advanced-technology intraocular lens (IOL) sooner, rather than waiting for the cataract to develop and get blurry over time. CLR surgery follows the same steps as Laser Cataract Surgery and has the same lens options. CLR has become popular mostly because Dr. Walton’s cataract patients have often said, “Wow, I wish I had known this was a possibility earlier in life.”
What is a cataract? What is the natural lens?
We have a natural lens in each eye, behind the iris or colored part. When we’re young, it’s typically clear and flexible. Over time, it becomes cloudy, and then it is called a cataract. So, the cataract is actually the now-cloudy natural lens itself. A cataract is not a separate growth inside or on the eye.
Everyone gets a cataract in each eye if we live long enough, though some people feel their vision is bothered at a younger age than others. The most common symptom that people notice is blurred vision or glare, which are typically noticed first in low-contrast activities like nighttime driving and seeing street signs.
How old are most people when they get cataracts?
It varies between individuals. Typically, most patients are in their 50s or beyond, but there are some factors that can make cataracts occur at earlier ages. Some families simply get them younger, and other causes of cataracts in younger people are diabetes, certain medications, smoking history, UV exposure, and physical trauma to the eye.
Do cataracts cause irritation, watering, or discomfort?
No, cataracts are not something people can feel. They only affect the vision. If you are having irritation, watering or discomfort, the most common cause would be having dryness in addition to a cataract, which is actually quite common, because both dry eye and cataracts become more common over time. Dryness is an important thing to evaluate for when preparing for cataract surgery, because dryness affects both comfort and vision and can impact what choice of new replacement lens might be best for your eye. Of course, if you are having eye pain, you should see your eye doctor to evaluate further.
“Dr. Walton is an exceptional doctor. I had cataract surgery with Dr. Walton in both eyes, and he gave me back the gift of sight. I have retina issues, so this successful surgery was extremely important to me. My retina doctor told me that Dr. Walton is the very best! The process, from beginning to end, was easy and customer service focused. Dr. Walton is extremely supportive, uses the latest technology, and is outstanding at what he does. I highly recommend Dr. Walton.”Judy F.
Cataract Symptom Checker
How is a cataract removed?
There are two different ways to remove a cataract or natural lens. One is to manually tear a hole in the natural lens capsule, chop or carve the cataract into pieces by hand, and remove the pieces. A new, manmade, single-focus IOL is inserted. This is the method that Medicare and insurance cover, since Medicare and insurance are concerned with the medical diagnosis of cataract.
The second way to remove a cataract is to use a laser to create a perfectly round hole in the anterior lens capsule, divide the cataract into pieces and help correct astigmatism via corneal relaxing incisions or advanced technology IOL placement. This allows Dr. Walton to be gentler and use less energy inside the eye by removing the pre-cut pieces of cataract. With Laser Cataract Surgery at Bennett Walton Vision, we often use advanced technology IOLs to give crisper and/or more range of vision than the basic monofocal lens.
Does cataract or CLR surgery hurt?
The most common thing we hear after surgery is, “Wait, it’s already over?” Between relaxing medicine, numbing drops to the eye, and numbing medicine inside the eye, most people describe a comfortable experience. Dr. Walton is well known for a gentle patient experience.
There are lots of cataract surgeons. Why should I choose Dr. Walton?
There are indeed many cataract surgeons who are experienced with basic cataract surgery, which involves manually removing the cataract and placing a basic new lens into place. These basic lenses do have good clarity but do not deliver full range of vision or correct any astigmatism, which may be present in your corneal shape even if it’s not in your historical glasses prescription. Dr. Walton’s particular cataract expertise is in laser surgery combined with advanced lens optics designs to capture as much visual freedom as possible in a personalized approach. He is a consultant to most of the companies in the US that make advanced-technology lenses, and he has taught many hundreds of surgeons how to use these lenses and techniques.
What intraocular lens (IOL) options do you offer?
We actually have a whole page dedicated to IOL technologies. We offer most of the advanced lenses available. If you have specific questions, feel free to contact us, but be aware that much of the discussion depends on the specific measurements of your eyes.
What should I expect at a cataract or CLR evaluation?
There will be many measurements taken of your eyes both in anatomy and vision. Dr. Walton will go over your eye health and discuss how to best make a plan to get as much of the world in focus as possible for your eyes’ anatomy and health. This is the perfect time to answer any questions that you have.
What is astigmatism, and why does it matter for cataract surgery?
Astigmatism refers to the focal power of the eye being not like a soccer ball or a basketball – with the same curvature in every measurement direction – but instead more like an American football – with a tighter curvature in the “quarterback grip” direction, and with a flatter curvature in the vertical kicking direction. For another example, think of the difference between seeing your reflection in an equally round soup spoon, which gives a more balanced reflection as if there is no astigmatism, versus a normal spoon, which has an oval shape that warps the reflection of part of your face.
Some people have never needed astigmatism correction in the past, but will at the time of or after cataract surgery. This is because removing the natural lens changes the overall optics of the eye. There are many examples in which people’s natural lens offsets or negates built-in astigmatism from the cornea, or “windshield,” of the eye. Then, when the natural lens or cataract is removed, the total astigmatism is now unbalanced, making the vision blurry. This is typically better shown in your various measurement pictures, which Dr. Walton will review at your cataract evaluation. Most people who have had astigmatism correction in their glasses or contacts in the past will also need it at cataract surgery to see their best.