Cataracts & Cataract Surgery
A cataract is a common condition that occurs when the natural lens of the eye becomes cloudy.
Cataracts may cause blurry vision, create halos around lights, and make seeing at night difficult. They can also make colors appear dull and cause frequent changes in glasses prescriptions.
The most common cause of cataract is aging, but they can occur in children and young adults. Certain health conditions and medications can accelerate the clouding of the lens. Cataracts may take months or years to progress to a point where the vision is adversely affected.
How to diagnose cataracts
The only way to diagnose cataracts is through a comprehensive eye examination performed by an optometrist or ophthalmologist. This examination will consist of checking visual acuity, performing a refraction for glasses and examining the health of the eye through dilation and/or retinal photography.
If cataracts are found during the examination, the severity and impairment of visual function will be assessed. Together, our doctors will work with you to determine if cataracts are adversely affecting your vision and need to be surgically removed.
Currently, the only way to treat cataracts is to remove the cloudy lens and replace it with a clear, artificial intraocular lens (“IOL”). Cataract surgery is a minimally invasive, outpatient procedure and is usually performed in less than ten minutes. It is one of the most commonly performed surgeries today.
The first step to cataract surgery is to dilate and numb the eye. Some patients will also receive medicine to help them relax, but all patients remain awake during cataract surgery. Next, a very small incision will be made either by a blade or a laser. The surgeon will then break up the cataract into tiny fragments and remove them. After all the lens fragments are removed, a foldable IOL will be inserted. The IOL will usually restore vision to what it was prior to the cataract surgery and once it is placed, the surgery is finished. Stitches are not needed due to the self-sealing nature of the incision, but a shield is usually placed over the eye at night. Patients will be monitored closely following surgery and have a follow up appointment the next day. Also, drops will be used prior to and after surgery to reduce the risk of infection and inflammation.