Cataract Removal in Billings, MT

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About Cataract Surgery

At Vance Thompson Vision in Billings, MT, our cataract surgery patients receive thorough consultations where they are given all the information they need about traditional and refractive cataract surgery. Proper patient education is a vital step in ensuring that the ideal treatment is chosen to accommodate unique lifestyles and goals.

During these consultations, we also perform several advanced measurement and testing techniques to determine the best treatment plan and lens implant choice for each patient. These include a tear film analysis, as tear film quality can be addressed after cataract surgery to enhance a patient’s vision. We also evaluate the health of the retina using an OCT and conduct an advanced analysis of the cornea to measure its precise thickness and contour. In addition, we examine the patient's pupil size to help determine the most suitable type of lens implant. In certain cases, we will also check for any risk of angle-closure glaucoma, which can be a risk in patients with advanced cataracts. To determine how much vision impairment is due to cataracts versus other refractive issues, we take density measurements of the natural lens and use Wavefront technology to evaluate the optical properties of the eye. The combination of all of these advanced testing capabilities allows us to determine the optimal type and power of lens implant for each eye.

Cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure done in three steps: 

  1. A tiny incision is created to allow the removal and replacement of the lens.
  2. A special device emits ultrasonic waves to break up the cataract into small pieces to be removed.
  3. The new lens is inserted through the incision to replace the natural lens.

Cataracts FAQs Paying for Surgery Cataracts Checklist

Best Candidates

To find out if you are an ideal candidate for traditional cataract removal surgery, you will need to visit Vance Thompson Vision in Billings, MT for a private consultation. Overall, it is rare for a patient to be considered ineligible for traditional cataract surgery. However, certain factors may limit your suitability for the procedure, including:

  • General poor health
  • Pregnancy or ongoing breastfeeding
  • Preexisting eye disease
  • Certain medications

Treatment Technique

At Vance Thompson Vision, our surgeons use the most advanced small-incision phacoemulsification technology to remove the cataract. Phacoemulsification is the process of using ultrasound waves to break up the cataracted lens into tiny pieces for the easiest removal. Only one incision is necessary to break up the lens, remove it, and insert the implant. This incision is typically made at the very edge of the cornea and is so small that it does not require sutures to close or heal. 

There are multiple types, shapes, and sizes of artificial lens implants, but they all have small, flexible arms called haptics that hold them securely in place inside the lens capsule. Implants are made of surgical-grade materials that do not irritate the eye and are designed to stay in place a lifetime.

Most patients experience significantly improved vision after the full recovery period from cataract surgery, but some do still require glasses to achieve their best vision. This will depend on the lens chosen and other factors, including the patient's previous acuity. Further, it is common for patients to develop posterior capsule opacification (PCO) a few months or years following cataract surgery. This is when the natural capsule supporting the new lens becomes cloudy. It is very easily treatable with a YAG capsulotomy, which is a minimally invasive laser procedure that only takes a few minutes.


One of the most important steps of planning your cataract surgery is learning all about the different implant options, so you and your surgeon can choose the ideal type for your lifestyle.


Monofocal implants are designed to focus clearly at one distance, but that distance may be near, intermediate, or far. Patients who receive monofocal implants do still need to wear glasses or contacts to correct their vision at other distances. For example, most patients choose to have monofocal lenses set for distance vision and then wear glasses for reading. 

At Vance Thompson Vision, we use the most advanced lenses in the monofocal category. The Tecnis monofocal lens is a Wavefront-adjusted artificial lens designed not only for for clear distance vision but for improved night vision and contrast sensitivity, which significantly enhances image quality.

Light Adjustable Lens Implants

At Vance Thompson Vision, we are excited to offer our patients a revolutionary new intraocular lens option called the Light Adjustable Lens (LAL). The Light Adjustable Lens is unique because it allows surgeons to further fine tune and modify vision outcomes after the surgery is complete.

In a typical cataract surgery not using the LAL, the intraocular lens implant is selected well ahead of surgery according to specialized eye mapping, lens and corneal measurements, and other tests. Most patients who undergo cataract surgery involving other artificial lenses have great results; however, there are very limited methods for the surgeon to improve or enhance those results later on. 

The Light Adjustable Lens is an innovation from a Nobel Prize-winning scientist and is composed of a revolutionary new material that can be manipulated via special light treatments after it is implanted. The LAL cataract surgery involves all the same steps as a traditional or laser cataract surgery, but the vision results can be tweaked and optimized even more in the months following the surgery. Once the Light Adjustable Lens is in place within the eye, the surgeon can perform a series of the specialized light treatments during the recovery period until the patient's ideal vision outcome has been achieved. 

Clinical studies have shown that the majority of LAL cataract surgery patients obtain vision outcomes of 20/20 or better without the need for glasses or contacts. 


Multifocal and accommodating IOLs are designed for cataract patients who have also developed presbyopia. Presbyopia is the name for the age-related loss of near or close-up vision that occurs due to the decrease in flexibility of the lens and its surrounding muscles. It is the most common type of vision impairment in the country, and virtually everyone begins to develop the condition sometime after the age of 40. Unlike monofocal lenses, multifocal and accommodating lenses allow patients to have clear near and distance vision after surgery, which reduces their dependence on glasses or contact lenses.

Our surgeons use the ReStor and Tecnis advanced multifocal IOLs designed to decrease the effects of presbyopia. These lenses are created with special concentric circles that cover their surfaces and properly focus light that enters the eye from different angles. This design creates clear vision at distant, intermediate, and near ranges.


Accommodating lens implants are designed to work within the eye more like the eye's natural lens. Part of the way the natural lens is able to focus is by changing shape with the contracting or relaxing of its surrounding muscles. With other types of artificial lenses, the haptics that hold them in place are designed to ensure that the lens doesn't move at all, and the vision correction is achieved by the shape and design of the lens.

The haptics of an accommodating lens, however, allow it to respond to the surrounding muscles in order to change focus more naturally. Our surgeons use the Crystalens accommodating IOL, which is designed to create clear vision and smooth focusing transitions for all ranges of distance. The Crystalens is available for both cataract and refractive exchange surgery patients. Most patients who choose an accommodating IOL significantly reduce or even eliminate the need for any corrective lenses after surgery.


For most of the history of cataract surgery, patients who also had astigmatism still had to use some kind of corrective lenses after surgery to achieve their best vision. However, a recent advancement in IOL technology is now available for patients with astigmatism. 

Astigmatism is a refractive vision impairment that occurs when the surface of the cornea is irregular. Toric IOLs are custom designed for each patient to specifically correct for the surface irregularities of the cornea from inside the eye. In addition, they are able to improve both night vision and contrast sensitivity. The revolutionary new toric IOLs allow cataract patients with astigmatism to finally obtain their best vision with a dramatically reduced or eliminated dependency on glasses.

Premium Lens Implants

If you are interested in receiving advanced intraocular lenses (IOL) during your cataract surgery to free yourself from the continuous need for glasses or contacts, Vance Thompson Vision is the clear choice for your procedure. We offer multiple types of FDA-approved IOLs that can provide sharper, clearer vision at all ranges of distance. Our world-class team of surgeons has extensive training and experience with implanting these premium lenses. Whether you want to enhance your near, intermediate, or distance vision, or all three, our surgeons are here to help you choose the ideal premium lens for your vision and lifestyle.

What to Expect

Your specific aftercare instructions will vary depending on your unique treatment. Following your procedure, your surgeon or someone on our staff will make sure you fully understand all of your aftercare instructions so you can properly care for your eyes as they heal. You will be given prescriptions for eye drops that you'll need to use for a few weeks following your procedure, and you may need to wear a protective covering for a while, especially while sleeping. You will need to completely avoid touching or rubbing your eyes while they heal and be diligent about attending all of your follow-up appointments. 

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Procedure Information

Recovery Time  
1 - 2 days
Procedure Time  
30 minutes (15 per eye)
Follow Up Time  
1 day, 1 week, 1 month
Recovery Location  
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We are here for you

With our incredible team of ophthalmologist surgeons and wide selection of lens implants, Vance Thompson Vision in Billings, MT is the place to find your ideal surgeon for your ideal procedure. When you visit us for your cataract surgery consultation, we will perform a thorough evaluation including acuity testing, an eye health exam, and a medical history review to find out if you are a good candidate. Once you are approved for the surgery, we can determine best treatment plan for your vision goals and lifestyle.

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*Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary from person to person. Images may contain models.