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.
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 a more realistic expectation of their post-operative vision. Using this technology allows for a happier, healthier, and more educated patient.
What Is a Cataract?
A cataract is a condition that occurs when a patient’s natural eye lens clouds over and blurs their vision. During cataract surgery, Dr. Murrell removes the natural eye lens that has become clouded and replaces it by inserting an artificial Intraocular Lens (IOL).
What Intraocular Lens (IOL) Does Dr. Murrell Use?
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:
- Standard Lens
- Toric Lens
- Symfony Lens
- Symfony Toric Lens
Standard IOL/Distance Vision Only
This is by far the most common IOL implanted (approximately 84% of the time). It is a spherical lens which 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.
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 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 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 which 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.
How is Cataract Surgery Performed?
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.
Is Cataract Surgery Painful?
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.
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)
The Surgery Center
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.
How long does it take to recover 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 replacement lens. If both eyes have cataracts, we will then schedule the second eye for surgery three weeks after the first 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.
Cataract Surgery Results
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.
Cataract Surgery Risks
Cataract surgery is among the most common and successful surgical procedures performed today. Over three million Americans have cataract surgery yearly with an overall success rate of over 98 percent.
Complications are very rare, but they include:
• Intraocular lens dislocation
• Eye inflammation
• Light sensitivity
• Photopsia (flashes of light)
• Macular edema (swelling of the central retina)
• Ptosis (droopy eyelid)
• Ocular hypertension (elevated eye pressure)
As mentioned, these complications are very rare, but most are minor and can be successfully addressed medically or with additional surgery.
Cataract Surgery Patient Testimonial
I was quite skeptical of having this procedure – cataract removal and lens implant. On our first visit, Dr. Murrell talked with me at length about procedure, lens options, cost and answered every question I had. With full confidence, I had the procedure and am very pleased and happy with the results. There was minimal discomfort for a day and I never knew anything had been done because there was no discomfort or problems. The thing I noticed first was how bright colors are. The entire staff was very friendly, accommodating, professional, efficient, and knowledgeable. My sincere thanks to Dr. Murrell and his staff. It is very comforting to be in a surgical situation and find everyone caring about your comfort. Thanks again.
To read other patient testimonials, click here.
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“You deserve the best, and so do your eyes.” – Dr. Murrell