Standard and Premium IOLs are good solutions

For Barbara, it was the routines of life and work that finally made her notice. Sorting through emails and logging in to her work computer were once repetitive, daily tasks — morning responsibilities that had become so automatic, she often realized she’d finished them with mindless effort.

This morning, while repeatedly adjusting positions and moving closer and closer to her monitor in a futile effort to find that distance that would allow her the best vision, Barb came to realize that these morning responsibilities had slowly become more challenging, taking longer to complete and growing ever more frustrating due to blurry vision. The drug store reading glasses were piling up as she unsuccessfully replaced the old with newer magnifications.Cataract picture

Barb knew the reason her vision had progressively worsened. She knew why her husband had to do all the night driving due to her inability to make out road signs and even oncoming traffic. It was cataracts.

The cataract evaluation

Several weeks ago, during Barb’s routine eye exam, Tampa ophthalmologist and eye surgeon, Dr. Craig Berger had diagnosed cataracts in both eyes. Dr. Berger had explained to her that cataracts were the 2nd most common cause of vision impairment in the world, mostly affecting folks in Barb’s age group of 60 and older. He told her that cataract development is normally gradual and that many patients, like Barb, are surprised to hear they have lens clouding.

Barb’s cataracts had progressed to the point that glasses were only a temporary solution for a problem that needed to be surgically addressed. Dr. Berger explained the cataract surgery procedure to her, the benefits and risks, and how the cloudy natural lens with the cataract is removed and replaced with an artificial lens, called an intraocular lens, or “IOL”, a clear advanced plastic lens that requires no maintenance and becomes a permanent part of her eye.  It was comforting to Barb to find out that the surgery itself takes very little time, is painless and recovery is very quick too.

Standard intraocular lens implants

Dr. Berger’s staff sat down with Barb and discussed the available options for IOLs. She learned that traditional “standard” IOLs are set to generally focus at one distance — typically either “intermediate” or “far” — but not both near AND far. These lenses are monofocal (also called single-focus) IOLs. Standard IOLs are included in the cost of cataract surgery with most medical insurance plans, including Barb’s. Choosing this economical option would give her the sharpest focus at far distances and would be helpful for her driving but if she wants to see up close for reading, or at a middle range while working on her computer, she’ll need to wear glasses.

Premium intraocular lenses

Premium IOLs She also learned about the “Premium” IOLs, or multifocal IOL” options.  These modern lenses provide the ability to see at various distances without the need for glasses. Some of these lens models would also help to correct her mild astigmatism – an eye condition that involves an imperfection in the curvature of the cornea in her eye that adds to her blurred vision. The multifocal Toric IOL would both treat the astigmatism and allow her to have a larger range of vision without glasses compared to the standard IOL.

This full range of vision offered by the premium IOLs would greatly reduce, if not eliminate, Barb’s dependency on glasses and would be perfect for her lifestyle that still includes part-time computer work, household chores and hobbies.

The premium IOLs weren’t fully covered by Barb’s health plan and, although she felt the premium IOLs would be the best solution for her, she couldn’t make a decision that day – she wanted to sit down with her husband and discuss the surgery and her many IOL choices along with the costs of “upgrading” to premium IOLs. Based on the thorough counseling and brochure materials provide by Dr. Berger and staff, they decided to make a list of all the lens’s features and drawbacks to help them decide.

Standard IOLs

Standard IOLs will be included with Barb’s health plan, they’re dependable, and rarely have side effects — but she will still need to wear glasses to see clearly at closer distances, like checking her daily emails and seeing grocery lists and price tags.

  • Least-expensive option
  • Side effects like glare and halos around lights are very unlikely
  • Wearing glasses isn’t all that bad
  • Berger recommended monovision if she chooses standard IOLs, this will help a lot with vision depth.
  • If Barb ends up developing other eye conditions in the future, like dry eye, glaucoma, or macular degeneration, these could interfere with the way premium IOLs are designed.

Premium IOLs

Possible freedom from glasses! But they are more expensive and come with a very small risk of side effects.

  • Besides astigmatism, which the premium IOLs could treat, she doesn’t have other eye problems that could interfere with the premium IOL technology.
  • Can afford the extra out-of-pocket cost.
  • Strongly dislike wearing glasses.
  • Lifestyle includes frequent activities that require repeated focusing from near to far, like driving.

After discussing the pros and cons of both intraocular lens choices and discussion and recommendations from Dr. Berger, Barb and her husband decided together that the quality of life benefits she would gain for the rest of her life far outweighed the cost of the premium lenses. She called and booked the appointment and was scheduled for cataract surgery the same week!

Before surgery, the certified eye technicians conducted some painless tests. These tests measured the curvature of Barb’s cornea and the size and shape of her eye. This information helped Dr. Berger to choose the right model and strength of IOL. Dr. Berger chose the Alcon Vivity Toric lens, it would be the perfect tailored solution to treat Barb’s astigmatism and provide extended depth of focus.

I`m seeing more than I thought there was to see!

Cataract surgery was a breeze!

Technicians put drops into Barb’s eye to dilate the pupil. The area around her eye was washed and cleansed thoroughly.premium iols in cataract surgery

Barb chose to stay awake during surgery when given the option to be put to sleep for a short time. She was given anesthetics to numb the nerves in and around her eye. The operation took Dr. Berger less than 15 minutes and was painless.

After the operation, she rested comfortably for a while with nurse technicians caring for her and watching for any post operative problems, like pressure or bleeding. A short time later, she was accompanied out of the recovery room to her husband who took her home that afternoon. She was astonished to be able to easily read the news ticker on television without glasses that very night!

Premium IOLs were the right choice for Barb

It didn’t take long for Barb to confirm that she’d made the right choice in a premium intraocular lens. She called and made the appointment for cataract surgery for her other eye a week later and it went just as smoothly as the first.

Barb donated all her old eyeglasses and now enjoys pristine driving vision and functional computer vision, thanks to the multifocal IOLs recommended and implanted by Dr. Berger. She takes turns driving on out-to-dinner nights with her husband now and doesn’t miss the challenges of trying to see a blurry grocery list and price tags.

Premium intraocular lenses aren’t for everyone. The added out-of-pocket costs can be a roadblock for some. Traditional standard IOLs are excellent and will enable many folks to get back to productive, functional healthy vision. Premium IOLs can be life-altering for some people. It is quite possible to enjoy the vision lifestyle you experienced in younger years. In Barb’s words, “I`m seeing more than I thought there was to see!

Dr. Berger and Bay Area Eye Institute

Craig Berger, MD, Tampa Bay ophthalmologist and cataract surgeonCraig Berger, MD opened the Bay Area Eye Institute in Tampa, Florida in 2007, specializing in the treatment of Dry Eye Disease, cataract and cornea transplant surgery.

Along with Dr. Berger, Doctors Gamell and Kerris, treat and manage a large spectrum of eye conditions and diseases at Bay Area Eye Institute. They accept most health insurances and will accommodate quick new-patient appointments.

The practice focuses on patient satisfaction. Their philosophy is to put the patient first, provide physical and emotional comfort, and strive for the highest care possible. Your time and comfort are paramount. They feel that patient education is an important aspect of treatment and will take the time to explain ocular conditions and treatment plans.

At Bay Area Eye Institute, they offer the most modern premium intraocular lenses as an option during your cataract surgery. Their office employs state-of-the-art technology and careful testing is conducted to tailor your lens choice to your desired lifestyle. They utilize the most modern surgical techniques and technology for cataract, cornea transplantation, and glaucoma and eyelid surgery along with the latest astigmatic and presbyopia correcting intraocular lenses.

Bay Area Eye Institute is conveniently located in north Tampa and is easy to get to from all Tampa Bay area counties. They are open 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 1:00 to 5:00 on Friday. Call them today and ask about setting up a cataract surgery evaluation with Dr. Berger. (813) 265-6940

Check out the Premium IOLs page that discusses the models and types of multifocal IOLs Dr. Berger is currently using.