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 and Cataract Surgery?
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 Lenses Does Dr. Murrell Use?
Dr. Murrell has chosen the Alcon Company for the IOLs for his cataract patients. This is one of the largest and most respected eye product companies in the world and is located in Fort Worth, TX. Alcon has three types of lenses:
- Standard Lens
- Toric Lens
- ReStor Lens
The Standard IOL
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 (warpage of the 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.
The Toric IOL
This is the second most common IOL implanted (approximately 15% of the time). It will correct both spherical error and astigmatism. 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 most insurers do not cover.
The ReStor IOL
This is the least common IOL implanted (approximately 1% of the time). It will correct the spherical error and will be multifocal (focus at distance, intermediate, and near). Although, it will not correct astigmatism. For this IOL to work, the eye must have no astigmatism and no diseases. The patient also needs to be very tolerant. As a result, this lens will give a patient good vision at distance, intermediate, and near. However, perfect vision at all three focal points is not likely. Glasses are usually not necessary with this lens. There is an extra cost for this IOL that most insurers do not cover.
The technology for IOLs keeps improving. The Tecnis company, which makes IOLs, has introduced a new IOL called Symfony®. It will focus light at distance, intermediate, and near. It will also allow for more contrast sensitivity than any other IOL. Finally, it can also treat astigmatism. The Symfony® IOL is a premium IOL that is not covered by your insurance plan.
Dr. Murrell performs a minimally invasive, small-incision, no-stitch cataract surgery called phacoemulsification (phaco) surgery. During this 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 injections or stitches.
Once the cloudy lens has been removed the artificial IOL is implanted in the eye. Advanced foldable IOLs can be inserted through the same small incision through which the original lens was removed. This significantly reduces recovery times while improving safety and reducing the risk of bleeding, scarring, irritation, and distortion. 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 is painless. You can choose your anesthetic. Most patients opt for a mild sedative to help them relax, and then use only anesthetic eye drops during the procedure.
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 and co-founder 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 #3 in the nation for the number of cataract procedures performed per year.
Cataract Surgery Recovery
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 will be some itching and discomfort, but it is 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 and control eye pressure.
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 one or two months after the first.
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 your glasses at this 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 reading 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:
• Posterior capsule opacity
• 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