Kaiser Permanente Laser Vision Correction
Phone: tel:+18883300665

Cataracts

At our Kaiser Permanente locations throughout the San Francisco and Sacramento areas, cataract surgery is one of the most commonly performed procedures. This is because virtually everyone develops cataracts if they live long enough, and the condition — characterized by a clouding of the eye’s natural lens — is the leading cause of vision loss in people over 40.

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Symptoms of cataracts include blurred or murky vision, glare, or a decrease in the brightness of colors.

Standard cataract surgery is a covered benefit under most health plans, including Medicare. However, premium IOLs, such as multifocal lenses or Toric lenses, are typically not covered and must be paid by you as an out-of-pocket expense. To assist you in your planning and decision-making, we have provided information about cost and payment options on our Cost & Payment Options page.

If you have cataracts, or think you might, request a consultation online or call Kaiser Laser Vision Correction at (888) 330-0665.

Standard Cataract Surgery

In modern cataract surgery, an intraocular lens (also called an “IOL” or lens implant) is implanted when the cataract is removed. The new lens implant serves to focus light entering the eye. If the cataract is simply removed and nothing further is done to focus the light, vision would be very blurred. Using the intraocular lens to focus the light is currently the most common way of solving the problem.

The implant is intended to be permanent and does not require removal for cleaning. The traditional lens implant is monofocal, which means it has an optimal focus at one pre-chosen distance. This surgery does not eliminate the need for eyeglasses, as they’re likely required to focus at other distances.

Standard cataract surgery is a covered benefit with most Kaiser Permanente plans as well as other health plans. Copays do apply, however, and vary according to your plan. Please refer to your Evidence of Coverage for details.

In Their Own Words...

Just wanted to let you know that I am flat-out amazed at how well I am seeing the world. Small print, colors, shapes, reading the text on TV and on my reader. No glasses needed…Thank you for giving me a better life. Dr. Carnahan you are THE best!”

— Elaine M., Toric IOL patient in Santa Rosa Read More Patient Testimonials

Multifocal IOLs

Many people who undergo cataract surgery choose to “upgrade” to multifocal IOLs which enable the eye to focus at a range of distances – near, intermediate, and far. This can reduce a patient’s dependence on glasses or corrective lenses for either distance or reading. Cataract surgery is performed in the same way regardless of which type of lens (monofocal or multifocal) is used.

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Monovision IOLs

Occasionally, patients may find that monovision is the best option for them. This is especially true of patients with presbyopia in addition to cataracts. Even people with good vision typically have one “dominant” eye that does more work than the other eye. In surgically induced monovision, the dominant eye receives an IOL that helps it to see distance. The less dominant eye gets an IOL that helps it focus on near objects. This approach can greatly reduce the need for glasses. Although it takes some getting used to, patients with monovision IOLs are typically quick to adapt.

Toric IOL for Patients With Astigmatism

Many patients have corneal astigmatism, which requires them to use glasses even after cataract surgery. A Toric lens can reduce or even eliminate the need for glasses to correct your astigmatism.

If you have astigmatism and you’re concerned primarily with improving your distance vision, AcrySof® Toric, made by Alcon Laboratories, eliminates the need to undergo two corrective procedures. It provides improved quality distance vision while decreasing the dependence on glasses as compared to traditional lenses.

Vision with cataract and astigmatism.

Vision with cataract and astigmatism.

Vision with a standard cataract lens. Vision may be blurred or distorted if astigmatism is not also corrected.

Vision with a standard cataract lens. Vision may be blurred or distorted if astigmatism is not also corrected.

Vision with a Toric IOL. Your dependence on glasses is decreased.

Vision with a Toric IOL. Your dependence on glasses is decreased.

Cataract Surgery Options at a Glance

Our providers offer several types of IOLs for our cataract surgery patients. The following chart is intended to help you understand your options. You may want to consult with your Kaiser Permanente Eye Care Services provider for complete information.

  Monofocal Toric Multifocal
Examples of lenses Standard cataract lens Toric IOL ReZoom, Restor, Crystalens
Procedure Cataract removed Cataract removed Cataract removed
What the lens does Corrects cataract only Corrects astigmatism Corrects distances (near, intermediate and distance)
Patient type All cataract patients Cataract patients with astigmatism Some cataract patients
Eyeglasses May be needed to enhance chosen distance

Needed for distances not chosen

Glasses may be needed to enhance vision, but the quality of vision may be greatly increased Greater independence from glasses

Glasses potentially needed to fine tune vision for selected activities

Covered (if Kaiser Permanente member) Cataract Surgery Cataract Surgery Cataract Surgery
Additional cost None Cost of lens

Refractive counseling, comprehensive testing

Cost of lens

Refractive counseling, comprehensive testing

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