A cataract is a common condition that causes a clouding of the eye’s natural lens, and affects millions of people each year, including more than half of all Americans over the age of 65. Cloudiness develops as a result of a thickening of the lens that blocks the light.
Cataracts cause a progressive, painless loss of vision. The lens within the eye clouds naturally as we age, causing people over the age of 65 to see a gradual reduction of vision. There are numerous causes of cataracts, including congenital defects, injury, certain medications, illnesses (such as diabetes), prolonged exposure to ultraviolet light, smoking and eye surgeries.
Cataracts are diagnosed in the course of a comprehensive eye examination by your ophthalmologist or optometrist, or call for an appointment at Eye Florida. The doctors at Eye Florida provide pre-operative consultations, second opinions and post-operative care.
Patients with cataracts often do not experience any symptoms when the condition first develops. Cataracts will continue to progress with no apparent pain, although patients may experience the following symptoms:
If visual impairment begins to interfere with your ability to read, work or do the things you enjoy, you may want to consider cataract surgery to restore your vision. Cataract surgery is the most commonly performed surgical procedure in the US, and can be performed quickly and easily with a success rate of over 90 percent and a minimal risk of complications.
At Eye Florida, we perform a minimally invasive, small-incision, no-stitch cataract surgery called phacoemulsification (“phaco”) surgery. During this procedure, a tiny incision is made in the eye to make room for a small ultrasonic probe. This probe breaks up, or emulsifies, the cloudy lens into tiny pieces. The pieces are then suctioned out through the probe. Because of its small size, the incision can heal on its own and only requires a topical (eye drop) anesthesia, so there is no injections or stitching in the eye at all.
Once the cloudy lens has been removed, an artificial intraocular lens (IOL) is implanted in the eye. Advanced foldable IOLs can be inserted through the same small incision that the original lens was removed from. This significantly reduces recovery times while improving safety and reducing the risk of bleeding, scarring, irritation and distortion.
There are several different IOLs available to help each patient achieve the best possible results from his/her cataract surgery. Multifocal IOLs allow for full vision correction at near, intermediate and far distances, completely eliminating the need for eyeglasses or contact lenses in most patients. Our doctors use the latest FDA-approved Multifocal IOL, because it has a patented optic design that creates a smooth transition of light between the distant, intermediate and near focal points. This Acrysof Restor IOL will allow you to see images clearly at various distances with any need for eyeglasses.
Some IOLs, such as Toric Lenses, can also correct astigmatism, a vision condition that causes blurred vision due either to the irregular shape of the cornea, the clear front cover of the eye, or sometimes the curvature of the lens inside the eye. An irregular shaped cornea or lens prevents light from focusing properly on the retina, the light sensitive surface at the back of the eye. As a result, vision becomes blurred at any distance. Toric IOLs are specially designed to correct astigmatism along with overall vision during cataract surgery.
For more information on these custom IOL, please go to www.alconsurgical.com.
If left untreated, cataracts will worsen over time and may lead to permanent vision loss or even blindness. It is important to see your ophthalmologist regularly in order to detect cataracts as early as possible and to plan an effective treatment method.
Although cataract surgery is considered safe, there are certain risks associated with any surgery. As with any surgical procedure, there are risks associated with cataract surgery. Risks and complications can include:
If you are concerned about developing cataracts or have been diagnosed with cataracts and are considering surgery, contact our office today for an evaluation for custom cataract surgery. For more information, please visit http://www.geteyesmart.org/eyesmart/diseases/cataracts/cataract-surgery.cfm.
*Media courtesy of AAO.org