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What Is a Cataract?
A cataract is not a growth or a film on the eye, rather it is the clouding over of the eye’s natural focusing lens, which is located just behind the pupil. When looking at something, light must travel through the lens and focus onto the retina, a layer of light-sensitive cells at the back of the eye that captures light. A clear lens focuses light properly onto the retina, but when the lens is cloudy, all of the light does not make it to the retina, causing blurred vision. Click here for more details on cataracts and their treatment.
What Are The Symptoms of Cataracts?
Symptoms of cataracts include, but are not limited to:
- Dim or decreased vision
- Film or fog over vision
- Decreased contrast (ability to detect variations in shading)
- Double vision
- Difficulty seeing street signs, curbs, and freeway exits
- Difficulty seeing traffic lights
- Seeing halos or glare around lights
- Difficulty driving at night
- Difficulty seeing TV, movies, or the faces
- Difficulty reading printed materials, even with good light and proper glasses
- Difficulty with handiwork such as needlepoint, sewing, or car repairs
- Difficulty with writing
- Difficulty playing cards, games, or sports activities
- Difficulty navigating around the house
- Difficulty with daily activities such as cooking, ironing, climbing stairs, dialing the telephone, and reading your watch
Many times, the cataract progresses so slowly that you may not notice how poor your vision is until it is removed. It may be that all you need is a change in glasses, but these symptoms can be a sign of cataracts. As the cataract worsens, it may begin to interfere with your daily activities, as listed above. Our physicians can tell you whether cataract or another problem is the cause of your vision loss.
The good news is that cataracts are treatable with cataract surgery. A cataract may not require removal right away if your lifestyle isn't significantly affected. In rare cases, a change to your eyeglasses may improve your vision a little. Once you are diagnosed with a cataract, your ophthalmologist needs to monitor your vision regularly for any changes.
Can I Stop Cataracts From Forming?
Once the focusing lens clouds, there is no way to make it clear again, nor any technique to arrest its progress. It steadily limits a person's ability to do even simple things such as seeing street signs, driving at night, reading, stepping off curbs or steps safely, or performing other activities of an independent lifestyle.
How Does The Eye Center Restore My Vision?
Since most cataracts are part of the normal aging process, they cannot be reversed. There are no medications or eye drops that will improve your vision once cataracts begin to progress. When a cataract is affecting your vision to the point that it interferes with your daily activities, our physicians may recommend cataract surgery to remove it. With cataract surgery, your eye's cloudy natural lens is removed and replaced with a clear artificial lens implant (called an intraocular lens or IOL). For more information on IOL choices, please see the links below. Our patients no longer have to wear thick "cataract glasses" nor learn to wear a contact lens after their surgery.
What Happens On Surgery Day?
When you come in for cataract surgery, you will be given a relaxant to enhance calmness. You will not have to remain under general anesthesia and should neither see nor feel any part of the surgery. Using "nostitch" microincision laser surgery, the clouded lens is removed and replaced with the permanent lens implant. The lens implant should last a lifetime.
For our patients who qualify, Femtosecond Laser Assisted Cataract Surgery is available. With this latest and proven technology, we have the ability to view the cataract in high resolution. Using a computer-controlled laser beam of light, we are able to precisely perform some of the most delicate portions of the procedure, including the treatment of astigmatism. To learn more about Femtosecond Laser Assisted Cataract Surgery, click here.
What Are My Restrictions After Cataract Surgery?
For cataract patients, there are few postoperative limitations. For most cataract surgeries, our surgeons use the "nostitch" method — a brief, painless technique utilizing the very latest innovations in intraocular implant designs. This method allows most patients to resume their normal activities immediately. With this technique, the eye heals more quickly with no discomfort from any stitches. It also enables us to utilize the very latest innovations in intraocular implant designs.
What If I Had Cataract Surgery And My Vision Is Getting Blurry?
Some cataract patients may notice cloudy or hazy vision after having their cataracts removed. If you experience cloudy vision following cataract surgery, make an appointment at the The Eye Center. We will examine your eyes to see if you have a capsular haze.
What Is Post Cataract Capsular Haze?
If you notice your vision is gradually getting blurry, you may have post capsular haze, or posterior capsule opacity (PCO), sometimes referred to as a “secondary cataract,” although it is not really a cataract. Post capsular haze occurs when the epithelial cells of the lens grow over the capsule holding the lens implant.
What Can Be Done For Capsular Haze?
The YAG laser is a safe, effective, and painless treatment for post capsular haze. During the procedure, called a YAG laser capsulotomy, your eye will be dilated using dilating eye drops. The YAG laser is then used to remove the hazy posterior capsule without touching the eye, allowing light to pass through the lens properly again. This is a brief (about one minute), completely painless procedure performed at the surgery center. The procedure requires no recovery period and results last forever.
Is This A Common Problem?
Yes. About 20 percent of patients will experience post capsular haze following cataract surgery. Some patients develop a capsular haze within months of their cataract surgery, and some don't develop it for years.
The Eye Center’s commitment to quality has earned them certification by Medicare and accreditation by Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC).
What is my next step?
Contact us for more information about our life-changing services.