Cataracts

Cataract surgery is a safe and effective way to replace the cloudy lens in your eye with an artificial clear lens implant, in order for you to see clearly.

  • What are Cataracts?
    • The natural lens in the eye is perfectly clear, but will naturally become cloudy with age at which time it is referred to as a “cataract.” Eventually, the vision becomes hazy and the lens will need to be removed, as it causes burred vision, and often times is associated with nighttime glare.
  • What Are the Symptoms of Cataracts?
    • Symptoms of cataract include: Clouded, blurred, or dim vision. Also reduced quality of night vison, often associated with nighttime glare with driving. Many patients will also note difficulty reading, and the fading of colors.
  • How are Cataracts Treated?
    • Before cataract surgery, you will meet with your doctor to talk about lens options, and clarify any questions you may have. Cataract surgery is one of the safest, most common, and most effective procedures performed in the United States. It is an outpatient procedure that is usually completed in approximately 20 minutes. During the procedure, anesthetic is applied to your eye, and you are also given an IV “twilight” sedative by an anesthesiologist. The cataract is broken up and removed, and your chosen IOL is implanted to replace the original lens. Most people experience little or no discomfort during the process and say that cataract surgery was easier than they expected.
  • When is the Best Time for Cataract Surgery?
    • You must ultimately decide when the best time will be to proceed with the surgery. The decision is based on your symptoms, and how much difficulty you may be having with visual tasks. Ultimately, the right time is when you wish to see better, and improve your vision.

Lens Implants

  • What is a lens implant?
    • An intraocular lens (IOL) is an artificial clear lens implanted during surgery to restore clear vision. You may choose from various types of IOLs which can correct distance vision, as well as astigmatism, There are also specialty trifocal lenses that can provide some reading vision.

  • What lens implant should I get? Which IOL is best for me?
    • Choosing a type of lens implant that is ideally suited for your needs is done in conjunction with your doctor after a careful ocular examination and involves detailed measurements of your eyes, including a measure of the contour, or topography, of your cornea; the axial length of your eye; and an assessment of the the overall health of your eye, including retinal imaging.
      • A standard, monofocal lens implant is optimized for one distance, typically for faraway objects such as driving, seeing outdoors, and seeing across the room. These lenses have a very high quality aspheric optic and provide excellent brightness, color, and sharpness. Fortunately, these lenses are typically covered by insurance. Note that you may still need to wear glasses for the best vision possible depending on your eyes, and in most cases reading glasses are necessary for tasks at arm’s length or closer, such as computer work and reading print.
      • A toric lens implant is specifically designed to correct astigmatism. During your pre-operative evaluation, it will be determined if you are above a threshold level for astigmatism. If this is the case, the lens will be an option that will be considered for you and may help reduce your dependence on glasses for some tasks.
      • A multifocal lens implant is an advanced optic designed to allow for a more natural and extended range of vision, including distance, intermediate, and near. Results may vary but many patients can go without using glasses for reading or computer work. There are many considerations in choosing this type of IOL and this must be discussed in a personalized way during your pre-operative visit. For example, some patients may notice starbursts around lights at night such as with oncoming headlights, or still needing reading glasses for fine print or in dim settings. The newest generation of these lenses have improved dramatically and are designed to minimize these side effects.

Interested in learning more? Check out the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s page on cataracts.

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