Gainesville Eye Associates is on the leading edge of this technology as the first practice in Georgia to perform laser cataract surgery.

Senior couple on cycle ride in countryside

A normal part of the aging process, a cataract is a cloudiness of the natural lens of the eye that dims or blurs vision, often causing a glare or halo around lights at night and difficulty seeing or reading in low light. If your sight becomes too poor to carry on normal activities, the solution is to surgically remove the clouded lens and replace it with an artificial lens or IOL (intraocular lens).

Cataract surgery is a very safe procedure, with more than two million surgeries performed world-wide annually. Laser cataract surgery has improved the precision and visual outcomes as well, with fewer patients needing to wear glasses after the surgery. Gainesville Eye Associates board-certified doctors remove cataracts on an outpatient basis with far greater precision, by microsurgery. After removal of the cataract, we place a new lens in the eye using the same microscopic incision, with faster recuperation and reduced dependence on glasses. As a result of this progress, cataract surgery is significantly simpler, and it means increased comfort for the patient. More than 2 million cataract procedures are performed worldwide annually.

What Are Cataracts?

Cataract Surgery Options

Laser Cataract Surgery

One of the safest ophthalmologic procedures, laser cataract surgery, is now even more precise and recovery time is faster with state-of-the-art bladeless laser technology. Gainesville Eye Associates is on the leading edge of this technology as the first practice in Georgia to perform laser cataract surgery.

Like traditional cataract surgery, an incision is made in the eye, the natural clouded lens is removed and a new lens is inserted. The laser replaces the traditional hand-held blade to allow the most precise and smallest possible incision, about 1/18th inch. The computer-controlled laser allows our cataract surgeons to plan and perform the surgery to exact, individual specifications not attainable with other surgical methods, resulting in better overall vision.

Gainesville Eye Associates continues to invest in technology, bring state-of-the-art procedures to Northeast Georgia

Gainesville Eye Associates ophthalmologists Dr. Jack Chapman Jr. and Dr. Clayton Blehm performed Georgia’s first laser cataract surgery in December 2012, bringing a new advancement in cataract treatment to the state and region. The procedure results in faster recovery and more consistent surgical outcomes.

Similar to LASIK surgery, the LenSx bladeless cataract surgery uses a computer-controlled laser that allows the surgeons to plan and perform the surgery to exact, individual specifications not attainable with other surgical procedures.

“The new laser technology gives us more precision than manual techniques. It’s much less invasive when removing the cataract from the eye, and it helps improve lens placement. The benefit to the patient is that laser surgery is more accurate and offers a faster recovery. It also minimizes changes to refractory vision, meaning fewer patients develop astigmatism or other vision problems after the surgery.”

— Dr. Jack Chapman

All four of Gainesville Eye’s ophthalmologists — Dr. Jack Chapman, Dr. Clayton Blehm, Dr. Lori Lebow and Dr. Zach Balest — are trained and perform the LenSx laser cataract surgery.

vision correction near me - Eye Doctors and Cataract Surgeons Blehm and J. Chapman standing by laser cataract surgery equipment.

Gainesville Eye Associates also is the first practice in Georgia to use an innovative technology called Verion, an image-guided system that guides the laser during cataract surgery, eliminating many of the surgical variables and achieving even better results. Gainesville Eye performed the first Georgia surgery with Verion in March 2014.

“Verion will make cataract surgery even more accurate and add a new level of control to every step of the procedure,” Chapman said. “We are focused on bringing new technology and innovations to Northeast Georgia so that our patients can enjoy the very best treatments, and more importantly, outcomes, available.” Cataracts are a clouding of your eye’s natural lens that occurs in people ages 55 years and older. In fact, half of all Americans have them-or have had cataract surgery-by age 80. Cataracts can make sharp objects appear blurry, make colors look dull, and cause trouble seeing at night.

Gainesville Eye ophthalmologists use the LenSx laser, the LuxOR LX3 ophthalmic microscope and the Centurion vision system to perform laser cataract surgeries. With the addition of the Verion machine, the surgery center is now utilizing the complete Alcon Cataract Refractive Suite.

There are also several lenses to choose from to help patients enjoy crisp, clear, and potentially glasses-free vision, from near to far and everywhere in-between. Gainesville Eye Associates can help you choose the right lens implant to provide optimal vision after surgery.

How to Prepare for Surgery

Your doctor’s office will schedule your procedure. Once scheduled, a nurse from the Surgery Center will call you before your surgery date to review your health history.

We will be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding the Center and your upcoming procedure.

If you develop a fever, rash or cold a few days before your procedure, contact your doctor at once, as your procedure may need to be rescheduled. DO NOT EAT, DRINK, or CHEW anything after midnight the night before your surgery except for a sip of water with blood pressure medication. This includes gum, mints, candy and chewing tobacco.

Morning of Surgery

  • Do not eat or drink anything the morning of surgery, unless you have been given other instructions from our nurses.
  • Take your heart and/or blood pressure medications with a sip of water.  Diabetic patients, we may instruct you to adjust your dose of insulin on the day of your procedure.
  • You may brush your teeth and rinse your mouth with water, but do not swallow any of the water.
  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing (a short sleeved, button-down shirt is best).  Leave all valuables and jewelry at home.  If you wear glasses or contacts, bring a case to store them in.  Please do not wear makeup, perfume or dark colored nail polish.
  • You MUST have a responsible driver with you on the day of your procedure.  Your driver should remain in the facility while you are in surgery.

Things You Will Need

During the registration process you will be asked to verify your billing and insurance information, and to sign a financial agreement. You will need:

  • Current Driver’s License or photo ID
  • Current Insurance ID card
  • Co-pay, co-insurance, or deductible payment, if applicable
  • A list of current medications including dosage and strength

If the patient or insurance information cannot be verified, the surgery will need to be rescheduled.  If you need to make other financial arrangements or an estimate of your bill, please call 770.532.4444 prior to your surgery day.

Next, you will be taken to the pre-procedure area where a nurse will verify medical information, allergies and your current medications.  The nurse will prepare you for your procedure, and an anesthesia provider will meet with you to discuss your medical history and the type of anesthesia you will have.

Post-Surgery Expectations

You can expect to spend approximately 20-30 minutes in the post-anesthesia care unit, depending upon the type of anesthesia you receive. The nurses in this area will give you instructions for taking care of yourself at home. Should problems or questions arise when you are recovering at home, call your surgeon at the number provided in your discharge instructions.


ORA (Optiwave Refractive Analysis)

The ORA SYSTEM® with VerifEye®+ technology is one of the technologies your doctor will use to tailor your cataract procedure to your unique eye.

Cataracts are a natural part of the aging process. You didn’t choose them, butyou did choose your doctor — and you can choose how they’re treated. By now, you may have heard about customized cataract procedures designed to correct conditions such as astigmatism and  presbyopia during your cataract procedure. The ORA SYSTEM® with VerifEye®+ technology is one of the technologies your doctor will use to tailor your cataract procedure to your unique eye.

Basic cataract surgery is generally a safe and common procedure that removes your cloudy lens but does not address any other visual  disorders. To ensure best-case results after basic cataract surgery, you may need follow-up visits and glasses to correct visual disorders
like astigmatism — potentially delaying improvements to your vision.

Like a GPS, the ORA SYSTEM® helps your doctor navigate your unique eye during surgery. This provides your doctor with the real-time guidance they need for more satisfactory results before you leave the operating room.


The ORA SYSTEM® assesses your eye during cataract surgery, much like a GPS system tracks your progress on the road. With this data, your doctor can
make real-time adjustments to arrive at a better result.

How will customized cataract surgery enhace my outcomes?

Does customized cataract surgery cost more?

During a customized procedure, your doctor can use the ORA SYSTEM® to analyze the state of your eye during the procedure to confirm your vision correction needs. This differs from basic cataract surgery, where visual disorders are addressed afterward, during follow-up visits.

While customized procedures are associated with an increased expense compared with basic cataract surgery, the investment may help reduce the need for glasses.

Intraocular Lenses

The doctors at Gainesville Eye Associates are certified and have ample experience in intraocular lens. We would be happy to discuss which lens options you have.

Portrait of serene mature woman in garden

IOLs (intraocular lenses) are soft, foldable lenses that are inserted to replace the natural lens that developed the cataract. These lenses are also an option for some patients who may not have cataracts but who want to reduce or eliminate the need for glasses with a procedure called Refractive Lens Exchange. It is the same procedure as cataract surgery except that the lens removed is still mostly clear.

There are different kinds of IOLs to choose from:

  • Monofocal IOLs are the traditional single-focus lenses designed to provide distance vision
  • Multifocal IOLs are multiple-focus lenses providing for near, intermediate and distance vision
  • Toric IOLs are similar to traditional monofocal lenses, but also treat astigmatism
  • Monovision is not one lens but a system of varied-power lenses involving both eyes
  • Combined Technologies where you and your physician may choose a combination of lenses to create a personalized treatment plan for your unique visual needs.
  • Light Adjustable Lens is an advanced type of IOL that allows you to fully customize your vision after cataract surgery. To learn if the Light Adjustable Lens may be right for you, schedule an appointment at Gainesville Eye Associates in Gainesville, Georgia!

Whichever IOL you choose, you can be sure that cataract surgery is one of the safest and most effective procedures performed today. While laser cataract surgery is not currently covered by insurance, its benefits outweigh that fact for many patients.

We are happy to consult with you to provide the very best solution for your overall vision needs.


Cataracts form gradually as our eyes get older, and 9 in 10 Americans develop them by the time they’re 65. The good news is that cataract surgery is one of the safest, most common, and most effective procedures performed today. At the time of cataract surgery, you have the opportunity to enhance your vision with the PanOptix® Lens.

The Process

  1. Cataract Removal
    Through a tiny incision, the surgeon removes your clouded lens.
  2. Lens Insertion
    The surgeon replaces your original lens with PanOptix® Lens.
  3. Vision Renewed
    The PanOptix® Lens enhances your vision for clear, complete focus.

Patient Experience

According to Alcon, Inc, in a clinical study, 129 patients were asked about their experience with the PanOptix® Lens:

99% of people with the PanOptix® Lens would choose the same lens again.

99% of people with the PanOptix® Lens would recommend it to family and friends.

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