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Frequently Asked Questions: What is a Cataract?

What is a Cataract? 

Inside of your eye there is a natural lens that helps to focus light from outside your eye. The lens creates images in the back of your eye (called the retina) like a camera focuses images on film. As people age, the lens can become less clear, even cloudy. Just like a dirty camera lens can ruin a picture, a cataract can prevent the light from focusing clearly inside of your eye. 

What causes a Cataract? 

Most cataracts are age-related and quite common in our aging population.  However, cataracts can be caused by several other conditions, such as:

  • Diabetes Mellitus 
  • Certain drugs and/or medications 
  • Ultraviolet radiation 
  • Smoking 
  • Alcohol consumption 
  • Nutritional deficiency 
  • Infection to the eye, or other eye surgeries 
  • Injury 

What are the symptoms of a Cataract? 

  • Your vision may become cloudy or blurry. 
  • You may find it hard to thread a needle,  
  • Colors seem to be faded in appearance. 
  • Glare from headlights, lamps or sunlight may be intensified.  A halo may appear.
  • Your night vision may become impaired. 
  • You may get double vision or multiple images in one eye. 
  • You may require frequent changes to your prescription glasses or contact lenses. 

What is the Treatment for a Cataract?
Cataract Surgery. Today cataract surgery is the most common surgical procedure performed in the United States and one of the most successful. At the time of surgery the cataract (the clouded natural lens behind your pupil) is removed and you will receive a lens implant that will help correct your vision. This artificial lens implant called an intraocular lens or IOL provides clear vision at a distance, but does not help with astigmatism or presbyopia requiring the patient to need eyeglasses, or contacts after surgery. With the advances that have been made in lens implants (IOL) technology, the surgeons at Ozark Eye Center can now offer our patient options to reduce or eliminate the need for glasses after surgery. However there are additional fees for this technology. While Medicare and or private insurance companies have benefits for cataract surgery, they will not pay for the additional up-graded implant options.

Monofocal Implant: This implant will help correct vision but you will most likely need bifocals or progressives to have the sharpest vision for both distance and near.  Medicare and most private insurers will cover up to 80% of the cost of the surgery with a basic monofocal implant. ( Please remember as always with insurance it depends on your policy what benefits you have available. Also keep in mind it is never a guarantee of coverage when you call for benefits.)

Toric Implant: This implant will correct for astigmatism. Astigmatism is when your cornea is steeper in one meridian than another similar to a football shape and not spherical or round like a basketball shape therefore blurring the vision. This implant will allow clear distance vision for daily activities, like driving and watching TV.  You will need glasses for all of your near work, including reading, knitting, and the computer.

Custom Implant: This type of implant will provide you with a full range of vision (near, intermediate, and distance). If you have astigmatism, our surgeons will correct this as well at the time of surgery. It will be done with a small incision in the peripheral cornea (LRI). These implants will allow you to perform 90-95% of your daily activities without the dependency of glasses or contacts.

Please discuss all these options with our physicians at Ozark Eye Center and together you and your surgeon can make the decision on which IOL is right for you. For your convenience we also have Mountain Home Surgery Center located right next to Ozark Eye Center here in Mountain Home, for your surgical needs. 


Ozark Eye Center • Mountain Home Surgery Center • Optical Shop
  360 Hwy 5 North • Mountain Home, AR 72653
800-451-3315 • (870) 425-2277 • Email Us
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American Board of Ophthalmology   |   American Academy of Ophthalmology   |   American Optometric Association   |   Baxter Regional Medical Center