What Is a Cataract?
The term cataracts refers to the eye’s natural lens. Clear at birth, the lens becomes cloudy over time, causing vision problems and can eventually cause blindness if left untreated. Cataracts are completely normal and typically develop sometime in our 50s or 60s. Surgery is the only treatment for a cataract. You should consider surgery when cataracts cause enough loss of vision to interfere with your daily activities.
Can Cataracts Be Prevented?
Most cataracts occur with age. However, a good, balanced diet, protection from the sun, and restraint from smoking can delay the development of cataracts.
What Are My Treatment Options?
Cataract Surgery (Removal)
Cataract surgery is a routine, virtually painless outpatient procedure that replaces your clouded lens with a clear intraocular lens implant. Cataract removal is performed through a procedure called phacoemulsification. In this procedure, high-energy ultrasound waves are used to gently remove your cataract. In most cases, we use only eye drop anesthesia, allowing our patients the fastest possible recovery. Once the cataract is removed, a permanent, artificial lens is inserted. It is not uncommon for our patients to have the benefit of dramatically improved vision within a few hours of their procedure.
For those with presbyopia that are not yet candidates for cataract removal, your surgeon may offer an elective procedure known as clear lens exchange. This procedure uses the same successful techniques as modern cataract surgery by replacing your natural lens with an intraocular lens (IOL) designed to reduce or eliminate your need for readers, bifocals or even trifocals.
Which Lens Is Best for Me?
Distance Correcting Monofocal IOLs
Traditionally, the lens implant used for cataract surgery is a monofocal IOL. In most cases, the monofocal lens provides good distance vision for driving, walking, and some everyday activities. However, most people receiving monofocal lenses still require reading glasses or bifocals to have a full range of vision.
Astigmatism Correcting IOLs
Approximately 20% of cataract surgery patients have a significant degree of astigmatism. Astigmatism creates distortion in vision and is not corrected by traditional cataract or lens replacement surgery. The unique design of the AcrySof Toric IOL makes it possible to provide quality distance vision and reduce or eliminate astigmatism at the same time.
- Acrysof TORIC
- Staar TORIC
Enhanced vision option
This option combines the optics of advanced wavefront-designed monofocal IOL with modern surgical planning and techniques to provide a higher quality and overall enhanced vision with a monofocal designed IOL. These techniques will also further reduce or eliminate your need for distance glasses including low levels of pre-existing astigmatism. In a clinical study, these more advanced optics provided improved visibility, better contrast sensitivity, and reduced glare.
Vision correction decisions are among the most important you will ever make. There are many intraocular lens (IOL) options available, including traditional monofocal, multifocal, and accommodating IOLs. Your doctor will discuss all the options available and recommend the IOL that is best for you.
Presbyopic Correcting IOLs
Previous lens replacement technologies provided only one improved focal point, distance, leaving people dependent on readers or bifocals after cataract surgery. Furthermore, in the past, those who were not yet cataract surgery candidates had no good alternatives to readers, bifocals, or trifocals. Recent advances in lens technology now make it possible to improve vision at all ranges, near through distance, with increased freedom from glasses or contact lenses. Our doctors are proud to offer the most advanced multifocal and accommodating IOLs to give our patients the best possible vision.
- Tecnis Multifocal
- ReSTOR Multifocal
- Crystalens Accommodating
What Are the Risks Associated with Lens Replacement Surgery?
As with any surgical procedure, there are risks involved. These may include infection, retinal detachment, an increase in eye pressure, reactions to medications, and vision changes. Our doctors will discuss all risks and benefits with you before your surgery.
Are There Any Side Effects?
Common side effects include redness, scratchiness, and light sensitivity. You may also experience glare, halos around lights, and blurred vision. These side effects may make it more difficult to see while driving at night or working in low light for a period of time, however they generally resolve over time.
How Long Does the Procedure Take?
Cataract surgery is generally a simple, outpatient procedure requiring only a few hours of your time. Patients should plan on being at the surgery center for about 2-3 hours.
Where Will My Surgery Be Performed?
Your lens replacement procedure will be performed by one of our surgeons in an outpatient surgery center or hospital facility.
What Can I Expect After My Surgery?
After a short stay in the outpatient recovery area, you will be ready to go home. Plan to have someone drive you home. Everyone heals differently, but most patients can return to their normal activities the very next day. You will return to our office for a postoperative visit the next day. You will notice an improvement in your vision at that time which will continue to sharpen over the next 30 days. Eye drops will be prescribed to prevent infection and help your eye to heal.
How Will I See After Cataract Surgery?
Once the cloudy lens is removed, you will see a dramatic improvement in the clarity of your vision. Colors will be brighter, more vivid. And advanced lens implants, such as Tecnis, ReSTOR, and Crystalens, can deliver vision that is uniquely suited to your lifestyle. Dr. Warren or Dr. Alfred will talk with you to understand your vision needs and can recommend a lens implant that gives you a fuller range of vision, allowing you to spend most of your day without glasses.
Will I Need to Wear Glasses After My Cataract Surgery?
During traditional cataract surgery, a single focus lens is implanted. Often times this gives patients good distance vision but still requires them to wear reading glasses for near vision. However, we offer our patient the option for a multifocal or accommodating lens implant that may allow them good vision at any distance, near through far.