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MDG offers cataract surgery options

  • Published
  • By Maj. (Dr.) Aaron C. Hager
  • 6th Medical Group

Cataracts affect about 25 million Americans and can cause blurry, cloudy or dim vision, as well as glare and halos at night. This condition can also lead to a significant decrease in a person’s ability to perform daily activities in a safe manner.

A cataract occurs when an individual’s natural lens becomes cloudy over time. The solution for this problem is cataract surgery.

Cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure which typically takes less than 20 minutes. During this operation, the cloudy natural lens is removed and replaced with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL). There are several different classes of IOLs to choose from, and your eye surgeon can help you decide on the most appropriate lens for you. Here are some topics to consider as a starting point.


Medicare and TRICARE cover the cost of traditional monofocal IOLs, but most insurance companies do not cover the “premium” IOLs. The monofocal lenses provide the highest quality of image, but at only one distance. Most patients who choose this option desire to be able to see well without glasses at a further distance and wear glasses for closer distances.

Intermediate vision:

If you spend much of your day doing many intermediate distance activities, such as working on a computer, your eye surgeon may recommend using different strength monofocal lenses for monovision. This is where one eye sees well at distance and the other eye sees well up close. This may be a good option for many, but those who require perfect vision out of both eyes may not be thrilled with this setup.

Independence from glasses:

The newer “premium” IOLs include multifocal lenses which give patients a range of vision from distance to near. These can reduce or eliminate the need for glasses and contacts altogether. These lenses are much more expensive and are not typically covered by insurance.

Night driving:

If you frequently drive at night, the multifocal lens may not be the best option for you. The multifocal lenses, especially the higher power ones, can induce glare and halos around lights. Most people adapt to these symptoms, but if you frequently drive at night, you may consider a monofocal lens.


Astigmatism is a problem where the front surface of the eye (the cornea) is shaped more like a football than a basketball. This leads to the image formed on the film of the eye (the retina) being out of focus without glasses or contacts. If you have moderate to severe astigmatism, there are IOLs that may correct much or all of the astigmatism, enabling you to have much more clear vision. Patients with significant astigmatism are very happy with these astigmatism correcting IOLs. However, these IOLs are considered “premium” IOLs, and again not typically covered by insurance.

The MacDill Ophthalmology Clinic has two eye surgeons who are committed to providing the best possible eye care to service members, dependents and retirees. We have the very best diagnostic and therapeutic equipment, and all of our patients have access to whatever IOL the surgeon and patient feel would be most appropriate, regardless of whether it is a standard IOL or a premium IOL. We pride ourselves in our excellent visual outcomes, and do everything in our power to give you the best possible experience.

Please feel free to call the clinic for more information, including how to set up a cataract evaluation, at 813-827-9140.