What is a Cataract?
A cataract is an opacity (cloudiness) which occurs in the lens of the eye. The lens is a natural tissue within the eye that is responsible for focusing light onto the retina. Normally, we are born with crystal clear lenses. Over time, the lens turns yellow due to the natural aging process. This yellowing of the lens helps to protect the retina by filtering harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. In some people, however, the lens becomes excessively cloudy and can impair vision. This can occur at any age. If we live long enough, we will all eventually develop cataracts.
How Do I Know if I Have a Cataract?
The most common symptom of a cataract is blurred vision which cannot be corrected by glasses. Many people with cataracts will notice trouble driving at night due to glare from headlights and street lamps. As there are many causes of blurred vision, an eye doctor should examine your eyes to determine the cause of your symptoms.
Are Cataracts a Disease? What Causes Cataracts to Form?
Most cataracts occur naturally with age. They are usually not due to disease. People with certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, will tend to develop cataracts at a younger age. Cataracts have also been found to occur earlier in people who are exposed to the sun and in smokers. There are also several medications that have been shown to cause the development of cataracts to occur at an earlier age.
What Can be Done for Cataracts?
At The Eye Care Institute, we discuss how the cataract is affecting your vision and your lifestyle before we make a recommendation. If a cataract has impaired your vision to the point that you are not able to do things that you would like, such as driving or reading, we will often recommend no- stitch small incision cataract surgery.
In certain instances, we may recommend removing the cataract even if it does not bother you. For instance, if the cataract is too cloudy for the doctor to see the back of your eye, we may recommend that you have cataract surgery so that your eye can be properly examined. Occasionally, a cataract may cause glaucoma, a sight-threatening eye disease, and removing the cataract may be necessary in order to prevent damage to the eye from glaucoma.
How is Cataract Surgery Done?
The surgery is performed while the patient is awake, using local anesthesia. The ophthalmologist will use a local anesthetic to make the eye numb so that you will not have pain during the surgery. A small incision is made into the eye to allow access the lens. The cloudy lens will then be removed with microsurgical instruments using a state-of-the-art technique called phacoemulsification.
After the lens is removed, the surgeon will usually implant an artificial lens which will take the place of the cloudy lens that was removed. The artificial lens is called an Inter Ocular Lens.
After your surgery, you return home. There is sometimes minimal discomfort that may be relieved with over the counter pain reliever.
Dropless cataract information
In an effort to make cataract surgery more convenient to our patients, The Eye Care Institute is proud to offer dropless cataract surgery through the administration of a medication called Trimoxi. Trimoxi is a time released cortisone and antibiotic compounded medicine that is placed inside the eye by your surgeon at the end of surgery.
Since no drops will need to be purchased, Trimoxi is less cost to the patient. As with all medications, Trimoxi has side effects. The most common side effect is the presence of floaters which may appear like a cloud. It is every patient’s choice whether to use this method of medication administration or to use traditional eye drops after surgery.
After I Have Had Cataract Surgery, Can the Cataract Grow Back?
Once a cataract is removed, it does not grow back. However, a clear membrane is left behind the IOL at the time of surgery. Over time, this membrane will haze, causing decreased vision and increased glare. Usually it is several years after surgery when haze becomes significant. When the haze is significant, a laser procedure can be performed (YAG capsulotomy) to clear it. This is a one-time procedure which is performed in the office.
Will I need to wear glasses after Cataract Surgery?
Traditionally the IOL implanted is a monofocal lens, which means that it corrects only one range of vision. After the monofocal lens is implanted, most people will need at least reading glasses. This type of lens is typically covered by your insurance provider. Technological advances have been made that allow patients to be less dependent on glasses. There are two types of Premium IOLs, the multifocal and the astigmatism correcting.
The multifocal IOL, such as the ReSTOR, is designed to correct near, far and intermediate vision, greatly reduces the dependence on glasses. The astigmatism correcting lens, called the Toric IOL, is designed to give the patient crisp, clear distance vision without the need for glasses. Only you and your doctor can decide which lens you may be a candidate for. For more information please visit our premium IOL page.
Why Choose The Eye Care Institute For My Cataract Surgery?
At The Eye Care Institute, Dr. Brennan Greene, Dr. John Meyer, and Dr. Guru Pattar perform cataract surgery. Dr. Greene, Dr. Meyer, and Dr. Pattar have almost 30 combined years’ experience performing cataract surgery and have performed over 35,000 cataract surgeries combined. Although not to be considered a guarantee of your result, our typical cataract surgery patient ends up with 20/20 vision post-operatively. So, our eye doctors have the experience and the proven results to give you the peace of mind to make the right choice for your cataract procedure.