A cataract is the clouding of the natural lens inside the eye. This leads to decreased vision. Cataracts usually develop slowly, but certain types may develop more rapidly. Cataracts often affect both eyes, but can affect one eye more than the other, or one eye alone.
Cataracts usually occur due to aging, but there are numerous other reasons why cataracts may develop.
The main symptoms of cataracts are blurred vision, glare and halos around lights (this may be particularly bothersome with oncoming headlights in night time driving), washed out colors and light sensitivity.
Early cataracts may be treated simply with a change in your glasses prescription, but once the glasses prescription no longer helps to improve your vision, cataract surgery may be recommended.
During cataract surgery, your surgeon will remove the cataract and, if possible, replace it with a clear artificial lens. This is a quick and painless outpatient procedure. It usually takes approximately 10-15 minutes and most patients do not experience any pain during the procedure. Most patients will notice a very bright light and feel some pressure. Your surgeon will work with an anesthesiologist who will give you some medicine through a vein to make you relaxed and drowsy during the surgery, but you will be awake.
After the procedure, you will stay in the surgery center for approximately 30 minutes to recover and will then be cleared to go home. Most patients do not have severe pain after the procedure, but some will notice a foreign body sensation or a feeling like there is an eyelash in the eye. You will be given drops to use after surgery.
There are several options you have at the time of cataract surgery.
Traditional cataract surgery - during traditional cataract surgery your surgeon will perform all of the steps of the surgery by hand. Blades will be used to create the incisions, an opening in the sack that holds the cataract will be made by hand and the cataract will be removed using an ultrasound device.
Laser assisted cataract surgery - laser assisted cataract surgery is one of the most state of the art, advanced techniques available for the removal of cataract. During this procedure a laser will be used to perform many of the steps of the cataract surgery described above. In addition to making the incisions, the laser will also begin to soften the cataract so it is easier for your surgeon to complete the procedure. Additionally, the laser can also be used to help with improving your vision by treating moderate amounts of astigmatism. Your surgeon will let you know if you are a good candidate for this exciting new surgical option.
Monofocal (Standard) Lens - This is the most basic lens option that is covered by your insurance company. It will allow your surgeon to replace your cataract, but will not always fully correct your vision and you may still need to wear glasses for both distance and near.
Toric Lens - This lens is an advanced technology lens that will correct astigmatism. Astigmatism is related to the shape of the eye. In people with astigmatism, the front of the eye is shaped more like a football than a basketball. If you have astigmatism, your doctor may suggest a toric lens to correct this astigmatism. If astigmatism is not corrected, you may still experience blurred and distorted vision without glasses at both distance and near.
Multifocal Lens - This is another advanced technology lens and will give you both better distance AND near vision. If you are interested in increasing your independence from glasses for both distance and near vision, this type of lens may be a good option for you. Multifocal lenses allow patients to see well at distance as well as near/intermediate distances.
When performing cataract surgery, a lens must be selected to replace your cataract. Before your cataract surgery, measurements are taken of your eye to determine the correct strength for this lens implant. Although these measurements are fairly good, there can be a margin of error when choosing the proper lens. These errors are magnified if you have had prior eye surgery such as RK, LASIK or PRK.
We are now pleased to be able to offer ORA (Optiwave Refractive Analysis) in order to further customize the selection of your lens so that we can be more certain we have the right fit for your eye. ORA with VerifEye™ is the latest technological advancement that allows us to more accurately select the proper lens for your eye at the time of surgery. This optimizes lens selection and helps to improve the chances you will have excellent post-operative vision.
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