Dr. Murrell specializes in cataract surgery. Performing thousands of cataract surgeries throughout his career, he receives rave reviews from patients and is proud to help clear their cloudy vision. Before each cataract procedure, patients will have one or more consultations, during which Dr. Murrell will help forge a shared plan for the results they want to achieve.
Have Your Cataracts Surgery Performed By Dr. Murrell
Having invested in the latest cataract surgery equipment and technology, Dr. Murrell can detect eye diseases that a standard exam cannot. Dr. Murrell can also treat many of these diseases if he can identify them in advance. This can also to improve the quality of the patient’s post-operation vision. Although other diseases cannot be treated, detecting them in advance allows Dr. Murrell to provide the patient with a more realistic expectation of their post-operative vision. Using this technology allows for a happier, healthier, and more educated patient.
What are Cataracts?
A cataract is when the natural lens is no longer clear. The lens in your eye is initially clear and it focuses the images seen by the eye on the light-sensitive retina at the back of the eye. As cataracts develop the lens begins to become cloudy. This increases to the point where it eventually impacts vision, particularly at night. Cataracts are the most common cause of vision loss in people over the age of 40; they are the principal cause of blindness across the world.
What Causes cataracts to develop?
The most common reason is when the proteins present in the lens start to denature. As this denaturing condition worsens the lens gets yellow and cloudier to the point where it interferes with the vision more, blocking some of the light coming through the lens. This is usually a slow process, and the patient doesn’t often realize their vision is becoming more cloudy. Eventually, the cloudiness will be to a degree that it can appear you’re looking through a perpetually dirty window.
Who Is At Risk For Developing Cataracts?
Cataracts are common as we age. It’s estimated that by the time an American turns 80, he or she has a 50/50 chance of either having cataracts or having already had surgery to address them. Surgery is the only treatment option for cataracts.
Intraocular Lenses (IOL) By Dr. Murrell
Dr. Murrell has chosen two companies that make IOL's. The Alcon Company and Johnson & Johnson Tecnis Company. Dr. Murrell will want you to choose the IOL that is best for you and your lifestyle. The four types of intraocular lens available include:
- Alcon Standard Lens
- Alcon Toric Lens
- Symfony Lens
- Symfony Toric Lens
- Panoptix Lens
- Panoptix Toric Lens
Alcon Standard IOL/Distance Vision Only
This is by far the most common IOL implanted (approximately 84% of the time). It is a spherical lens that will correct for one focal point (usually for distance) and will not correct the eye for astigmatism (irregular cornea). After surgery with this IOL, the patient will always need prescription glasses (usually for astigmatism and for reading). Most insurers cover this IOL. Dr. Murrell’s office can help with the insurance pre-certification and costs upon verification of benefits.
Alcon Toric IOL/Distance Vision with Astigmatism Correction
This is the second most common IOL implanted (approximately 15% of the time). It will correct both spherical error and astigmatism (irregular cornea). The patient will usually select this lens with a focal point at distance. This allows the patient to see well at distance without prescription glasses. However, the patient may still need a weak pair of glasses for distance to see perfectly and will definitely require reading glasses. There is an extra cost associated with this IOL that is not covered by insurance.
Symfony® IOL/Full Range of Vision
This is the least common IOL implanted (approximately 1% of the time) The regular Symfony IOL will correct the spherical error and will be multifocal (focus distance, intermediate and near). This IOL has the least chromatic aberration and best contrast sensitivity of any IOL currently available. This means that you will see sharper, crisper and will be able to better distinguish objects that are on the background with similar color (i.e. black on a grey background). Patients can expect very good distance and intermediate vision and good near vision. Dr. Murrell tells the patient to expect to need a weak pair of reading glasses. The Symfony IOL is a Premium IOL and is not covered by insurance.
Symfony® IOL Toric/Full Range Of Vision With Astigmatism Correction
The Symfony IOL has a Toric version that can correct astigmatism (irregular cornea). It has all the other advantages of the Symfony IOL (sharper, crisper and will be able to better distinguish objects that are on the background with similar color).
Like the Symfony IOL, Dr. Murrell tells the patient that they will need a weak pair of reading glasses to wear. The Symfony Toric is the most advanced IOL currently in the market. The Symfony Toric IOL is a Premium IOL and is not covered by insurance.
This is the Alcon company's latest multifolcal IOL. It has been out on the market since late 2019 and is similar to the Symfony IOL. Its advantage over the Symfony is that it will give a better near vision. The disadvantage is it might not have as much contrast sensitivity.
This is similar to the Symfony Toric IOL. It has the same advantage and disadvantage as mentioned above.
The Cataract Surgery Procedure
Dr. Murrell performs a minimally invasive, small-incision, no-stitch cataract surgery called phacoemulsification (phaco) surgery. During the procedure, a tiny incision is made in the eye to make room for a small ultrasonic probe. This probe breaks up or emulsifies, the cloudy lens into tiny pieces. The pieces are then suctioned out through the probe. Because of its small size, the incision can heal on its own and only requires topical (eye drop) anesthesia, although you do have other options (see Anesthesia). There are no sutures needed.
Once the cloudy lens has been removed, the artificial IOL (that you have chosen), is implanted in the eye. Advanced foldable IOLs can be inserted through the same small incision through which the original lens was removed. The entire procedure with Dr. Murrell lasts just 10-15 minutes.
Types Of Anesthesia Used For Cataract Surgery
There are five choices of anesthesia:
- Topical 1: numbing eye drops
- Topical 2: numbing eye drops + IV sedation
- Block 1: a pre-operative shot of anesthesia medication to numb your eye
- Block 2: a pre-operative shot of anesthesia medication to numb your eye + IV sedation
- General anesthesia (in extremely rare, special cases)
Where Will My Cataract Surgery Be Performed?
The cataract surgery takes place at the Amarillo Cataract and Eye Surgery Center. It's important to realize that this is Amarillo’s first, and only, outpatient surgery center dedicated exclusively to eye and eyelid surgery. Another key point is that the surgery center has an outstanding reputation and a well trained and certified staff. Dr. Murrell has been a proud owner of the Surgery Center since its initial year of inception in 1991. Additionally, it has grown into one of the busiest outpatient cataract surgery centers in the United States, currently ranking #2 in the nation for the number of cataract procedures performed per year.
Recovery From Cataract Surgery
Immediately after surgery, the patient will wear an eye patch. Someone will need to drive you home. We will also give you a protective shield to wear when sleeping for several days. Vision may be blurry at first but rapidly improves within a few days. This is completely normal. There may be some itching and irritation, but its important not to rub or exert pressure on the treated eye. Heavy lifting is out, as it puts pressure on the eyes. Eye drops prevent inflammation and infection.
Patients can resume normal activities in a few days. Full healing should be complete in about one month. Most patients need to wear eyeglasses, at least for some tasks, after their surgery. This can depend on your choice of the replacement lens. If both eyes have cataracts, we will then schedule the second eye for surgery three weeks after the first surgery.
Can cataracts grow back or redevelop After Surgery?
Cataracts occur in the eye’s natural lens through the buildup of proteins over time. This cannot happen to the artificial intraocular lens Dr. Murrell has placed after removing your cataract-clouded natural lens. So, no, cataracts cannot return in the eye or eyes you have had surgery upon. If you’ve only had surgery on one eye, there is a good possibility the other eye will also need cataract surgery one day.
Does Cataract Surgery Hurt?
Some people put off replacing their cataract-clouded lenses because they fear the surgery will be painful. The reality is that this procedure has minimal to no discomfort. You can choose your anesthetic. Some patients opt for a mild sedative to help them relax, and then use only anesthetic eye drops prior to the procedure and during if needed.
After your surgery, you may have some minor eye discomfort, but this is easily manageable with over-the-counter pain medication.
What Happens After My Cataract Surgery?
Following the surgery, you will have three post-op visits. During your first visit, our certified technicians will check your vision, incision, IOL, eye pressure, and make sure your eye is comfortable. At your two week visit, we will dilate your eyes (enlarge your pupils with eye drops) in order to check your retina (the back of your eye). Finally, we will see you four weeks after surgery if you don’t have an optometrist to continue your care. We will also check you for glasses at your post-op appointment.
When can I resume normal activities after cataract surgery?
For the first week after your cataract surgery with Dr. Murrell, you need to take it easy. You need to limit the blood pressure to your face, so anything strenuous is completely off-limits. You can take easy walks.
From there, Dr. Murrell will give you an idea of the timeframe for different activities. It’s important to avoid strenuous activities or heavy lifting for a few weeks to be sure your eye fully heals. You’ll have a follow-up within a few days after your surgery, so Dr. Murrell can see how well you are progressing then. You’ll be cleared to drive at this time, or possibly earlier.
Any swimming will need to wait for about one month. It’s also a good idea to avoid getting dust or debris in your eyes; this minimizes the risk of infection
Results Of Cataract Surgery
Cataract surgery with Dr. Murrell is incredibly rewarding. Where your vision had become cloudy, as if looking through really dirty eyeglasses, everything is clear once again. Plus, it’s no longer simply a matter of removing the clouded lens and replacing it. Advances in technology and techniques allow the correction of nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism with this surgery. Modern multifocal IOLs also are able to reduce the need for prescription glasses after cataract surgery, something that was basically a requirement just a decade ago.
Risks of Cataract Surgery
Cataract surgery is the most successful surgery performed across the world. It takes just a few minutes, doesn’t involve a difficult recovery, and is immensely rewarding for the patient. This surgery is incredibly common — over half the population will develop cataracts at some point in their lives. Complications are very rare, and if any of these happen they can usually be successfully treated. These are the risks:
- Drooping eyelid
- Dislocation of the IOL
- Retinal detachment
- Loss of vision
What Is The Cost Of cataract surgery?
The actual amount you pay for cataract surgery is contingent upon the type of intraocular lens you select. If you select a standard IOL and you are over 65, Medicare could cover the entire procedure, after any deductible or co-pays are covered. If you opt to have more advanced IOLs, such as multifocal (they allow for excellent vision at all distances and can remove the need for reading glasses) or toric (they correct for astigmatism) options, your cost will be higher. Dr. Murrell will estimate the possible costs of your cataract surgery during your consultation.
But when you really think about it, what’s the value of having crystal clear vision that may not even require reading glasses any longer? If you’ve been seeing the world through cloudy cataract lenses, you’ll be amazed at your eyesight after this procedure. Your only question will likely be why you waited so long.
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"You deserve the best, and so do your eyes." – Dr. Murrell