1) What is Crystalens?
The Crystalens is an intraocular lens replacement that, unlike a standard lens, doesn't just treat your cataracts but is designed to offer you a fuller, more natural range of vision. You probably noticed in your forties that you started to lose some of your up-close vision and had to start wearing reading glasses. The unique Crystalens is designed to give patients a more natural range of vision for most activities including reading a book, working on the computer and driving a car. Many patients hardly if ever need to wear glasses again.
2) How is this different from regular cataract surgery?
In the past, cataract surgery was only able to correct for cataracts and patients would still be dependent on glasses for most of their daily activities, especially for up close and intermediate. You are fortunate that there are options now for people undergoing cataract surgery. The Crystalens can correct for more than just your cataracts. The Crystalens is designed to offer you a fuller, more natural range of vision. Many patients hardly if ever wear glasses after surgery.
3) Will I experience halos or glare? Will this lens effect how I drive at night?
All lenses including traditional standard lenses may have some degree of halos and glare. Glare and halos have been observed with the Crystalens. However, unlike a multifocal lens, the Crystalens works similarly to your natural lens in the way it delivers all available light rays at all distances-near, far, and intermediate. So the Crystalens generally has less halos and glare than a multifocal lens. On the day of your consultation, the doctor will discuss with you all of the risks and benefits associated with a Crystalens procedure.
4) Will Crystalens stop working over time?
The Crystalens surgery is permanent and there is no reason to believe that the lens will stop working over time. Patients have had lenses implanted in their eyes for nearly 7 years with no change in its ability to flex. It is an extremely well tested and durable design. At your consultation the surgeon will be able to assess what your vision will be like after the procedure.
5) Will insurance/Medicare cover any of the procedure?
Insurance coverage varies greatly from policy to policy. Generally speaking private insurance and Medicare will cover the cataract surgical procedure and may also allow a certain additional amount for the artificial lens implants. Please bring your insurance information to your appointment.
Every patient is different and only your surgeon can fully explain the details of your Crystalens procedure. However, the following information may be helpful for most patients.
6) Should I have the procedure in both eyes?
Typically cataracts will develop in both eyes, and we recommend that the surgery be done in both eyes. Your surgeon will typically recommend you have surgery 2 weeks after the first eye.
7) How long will the surgery take?
Cataract surgery is typically an outpatient surgery. The actual surgery itself is approximately 15-20 minutes.
8) Will I feel anything?
No. Topical numbing drops will be placed in your eye and oral medications may be administered to help you relax.
9) When will I be able to return to my normal activities?
Typically you will be able to return to normal activities within several days. You should be able to drive and return to work within 2-3 days.
Your eyes may be sensitive to the touch for a few days, and you should avoid strenuous activity and rubbing your eye. It is important to avoid lifting or straining that would increase pressure on your eye.
You can shower, but avoid getting soap in your eyes. Refrain from eye makeup for several weeks. You should also avoid public pools and hot tubs.
10) What should I expect during the recovery period?
Patients vary widely in how they are affected during the recovery phase. For example, for some patients it takes longer for their near vision to come into focus, while others achieve great near vision almost immediately. The best way to learn about the recovery period is to talk to your surgeon about the procedure.
11) How often will I need to have my eyes checked after surgery?
Your surgeon will advise you based on your procedure. Typically, the surgeon will see you one day after surgery, after 1-4 weeks and again around 3-6 months after surgery. Thereafter, an annual exam is sufficient.
12) Will I have to have cataract surgery again?
Once your cataracts are removed and replaced with an IOL, you will most likely never need to have cataract surgery again. Occasionally, several months after the lens has been placed in the eye, your vision may start to become cloudy again. This can happen with any type of IOL. This is sometimes called a secondary cataract and refers to the clouding of the membrane that surrounds the implant. Your surgeon will go in and quickly remove the clouded cells. This is done painlessly in an outpatient environment and usually takes just a few minutes.