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Standard vs. Custom Cataract Surgery

Standard Cataract Surgery

Standard cataract surgery has advanced dramatically over the past few decades. In most cases the cataract is extracted through a tiny incision and a monofocal, or single focus, intraocular lens (IOL) is inserted to replace the cloudy natural lens. Standard IOLs used by our eye doctors at The Eye Institute of Utah have UVA/UVB protection built into the lenses to continue protecting your retina after surgery. We perform the procedure on each eye on separate days, but often within a week or two of each other. While the procedure itself only takes 10-20 minutes, you should plan on being at the surgical facility for up to 3 hours for admission, a physical exam, anesthesia and for time to dilate your eyes. After your procedure, you will need to take prescription eye drops for a few weeks, and you may experience minor fluctuations in your vision for the first couple weeks after surgery as your eye heals. Most patients are able to see clearly and even drive the day after surgery.

After standard cataract surgery, your vision will be much clearer, but you may still need to wear glasses for reading and some other activities, especially if you have astigmatism. Standard cataract surgery is covered by Medicare and most medical insurances, but it is important to do your research to determine what percentage your insurance will cover, and how much remaining expenses you will owe out-of-pocket.


This video illustrates the differences between standard (or traditional) cataract surgery compared to laser cataract surgery. Many of our Custom Cataract Surgery packages include the use of the LenSx® Femtosecond Laser to more precisely create the incisions during cataract surgery and also allows for better management of a patient’s astigmatism.

Custom Cataract Surgery

While standard cataract surgery is a wonderfully successful procedure, there are now options for patients wishing to have less dependence on glasses and contact lenses. For most cataract patients, life without glasses is something they either experienced when they were very young or they just dreamed about for most of their lives. Custom Cataract Surgery surpasses standard cataract surgery by including advanced testing and technology, and providing the added benefit of using advanced technology IOLs to enhance vision and provide you with decreased dependence on glasses. Custom Cataract Surgery primarily addresses presbyopia and astigmatism. These are the conditions, or refractive errors, that remain even after standard cataract surgery. Custom Cataract Surgery is also a great option for those who have had previous LASIK, PRK or RK surgery.

It is important to note that Medicare and most major insurance companies will cover standard cataract surgery, but they do not cover advanced technology IOLs, premium testing or Custom Cataract Surgery. While you are in our office for your cataract examination, our surgical coordinators will assist with reviewing your insurance coverage, out of pocket expenses, and review financing options if you are interested in choosing a Custom Cataract Surgery package.

What type of cataract surgery is right for me?

In general, removing a cataract will always lead to improved vision. Other conditions in the eye can, however, affect the visual outcome with surgery. In order to determine the proper timing to surgery and have a complete understanding of the potential benefits and outcome, a comprehensive examination is required. Many people delay having cataract surgery until their vision is impacted to the point of not being able to drive. If your vision is 20/40 or worse, or if you feel that your vision is prohibiting your ability to perform normal daily tasks, you me be ready to have your cataracts removed.

During your cataract examination, you and your surgeon will determine which option is best suited for you eye condition and lifestyle. To learn more about Standard or Custom Cataract Surgery or to schedule an appointment with one of our world renowned cataract surgeons, contact our office today!

1. Nagy Z, Takacs A, Filkorn T, Sarayba M. Initial clinical evaluation of an intraocular femtosecond laser in cataract surgery. J Refract Surg. 2009;25(12):1053-1060 (view data)

2. Refractive Surgery 2011: Precision in Vision: The Latest in Cornea- and Lens-Based Refractive Surgery – The Annual Meeting of ISRS (view data)

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