Cataract Surgery | Fairbanks, AK

What’s a cataract? For general information about cataracts and cataract surgery, click here.

Decision to Treat

In most cases, cataracts are easily treated with a simple surgery. We only recommend surgery when your symptoms interfere with your activities of daily living, and only you and your surgeon can determine if surgery is right for you. We recommend you schedule an appointment with our ophthalmologist Dr. Katherine Johnson to evaluate your cataracts.

Summary of Procedure

When you schedule your cataract evaluation, your doctor will perform a comprehensive eye exam to determine if you are a good candidate for cataract surgery. Next, you and your surgeon and our helpful staff will go over your surgical options and any recommendations or preferences for your visual outcome. The surgery scheduler will help you pick surgery dates and will schedule you for the IOL measurements and preoperative physical.

All of our cataract surgeries are performed at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital. On the day of surgery, the hospital staff will prepare you to see Dr. Johnson and administer local anesthesia. Dr. Johnson will perform the surgery by making a tiny incision in the cornea and using a phacoemulsifier to break down and remove the cataract, then inserting a new artificial lens in its place. The recovery time for this surgery is minimal, and most patients are able to quickly return to their normal daily activities. Cataract surgery has a very high success rate and low risk for complications.

Surgical Options

Standard Cataract Surgery
Our standard surgery involves the implantation of a monofocal intra-ocular lens (IOL). This standard procedure and IOL is covered by most major payers when cataract symptoms are strong enough to interfere with your activities of daily living. You will need glasses after cataract surgery, as this lens only allows you to see at a distance or up close without correction, not both. Additionally, although the measurements used to determine your lens power are very accurate, they are not an exact science, and you may need glasses for both distance and near vision. Note that this surgical option does not correct astigmatism.

Refractive Cataract Surgery
Our refractive cataract surgery package includes everything in the standard package, but with a few extras. Your surgeon will use Optiwave Refractive Analysis (ORA) during the surgery to take even more accurate measurements of your lens power, allowing for much more precise results and a higher chance of meeting the targeted outcomes. Additionally, if you have astigmatism, your surgeon will select a specialized lens (called a toric lens) and/or make limbal-relaxing incisions (LRI) as needed to reduce or eliminate the effect of your astigmatism on your vision. As with the standard package, you will still need glasses after cataract surgery to see up close; however, with this package, you greatly reduce the chance that you will need a prescription to see clearly at a distance.

Note that your insurance will not cover the charge for the refractive add-on. We recommend asking about your options at your appointment and choosing the package that is right for you.

Multifocal Refractive Cataract Surgery
Our multifocal refractive cataract surgery package includes everything in the standard and refractive packages, but instead of a monofocal lens where you will need glasses to see up close, you will receive a Symfony extended depth of focus multifocal intraocular lens. Multifocal lenses allow you to see normally at both distance and near without the use of glasses, and with the power of ORA lens calculation on your side, you will have a much higher than average chance of meeting your targeted visual outcomes and never needing glasses again.

Note, again, that your insurance will not cover the charge for the multifocal refractive add-on. We recommend asking about your options at your appointment and choosing the package that is right for you.

Surgical Add-ons

Kahook Dual Blade
Kahook dual blade (KDB) is a single-use, surgical grade stainless steel instrument used to perform glaucoma treatment at the time of cataract surgery.  During cataract surgery, your ophthalmologist will make a tiny incision in the eye. She will then remove the lens from your eye, and replace it with an implant. Next, the surgeon will insert the KDB instrument into the incision. She will then use a pointed tip to pierce the trabecular meshwork, and two parallel blades to cut a strip of tissue. This opening creates a direct path for fluid to be carried away, thus relieving pressure inside the eye.  The KDB procedure is an effective treatment that can be efficiently combined with cataract surgery. It does not require any foreign implants, eliminating the risk of rejection. In some cases, KDB may reduce or eliminate the need for glaucoma medication.

Surgeon Facts

Our doctor doesn’t like to brag (though we love to brag about her!), but we want you to know that your cataract surgery is in good hands at Mountain View Eye Center. Here are some reasons why:

  • Dr. Johnson performs over 450 cataract surgeries per year.
  • Since establishing her practice in Fairbanks, Dr. Johnson has performed well over 10,000 total cataract surgeries.
  • Dr. Johnson is a highly efficient cataract surgeon, with an average surgical duration of 6 minutes.
  • Dr. Johnson’s surgical outcomes are among the best, and the data proves it. The ORA device takes measurements and rates her patients’ visual outcomes against national data, full of providers using the same machine, and she comes out ahead of the curve.
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Clinic Hours

Mon-Fri: 8am – 5pm
Sat / Sun: Closed

Optical Hours

Appointment Only

Our hours are back to:
8am to 5pm Monday-Friday
Closed Saturday and Sunday

Optical is open by appointment only.

As of 5/4/2020, we are scheduling ALL types of exams, as we are no longer restricted to urgent/emergent visits only. We will gladly continue to schedule telemedicine appointments when possible and at our patient’s request. We are following state mandates and social distancing protocols, and continue to put great efforts into cleaning and sanitizing to keep our patients and community safe and healthy. Please call 907-328-2920 to schedule an appointment