A cataract is a condition of the natural lens inside your eye. The lens is located behind the iris and functions and like the lens of a camera ¬- focusing light images on the retina. When this lens becomes cloudy (develops into a cataract) less light passes through the lens to the retina. This is like trying to take a picture with a foggy camera lens. There are several things that can cause a cataract such as trauma and certain diseases but most commonly, it is caused by the aging process. Regardless of the cause, the result is blurry vision, dull colors and problems seeing well to drive safely at night. Adjustments to a person’s eyeglass prescription does not help improve vision and the only option for better vision is to surgically remove the cloudy, diseased lens and replace it with an artificial one (Intraocular lens or IOL).
The ideal time to have your cataracts removed is when the quality of your vision begins to put limits on your activities and enjoyment of life. Waiting too long to remove a cataract may significantly increases the risk of complications. Advancements in cataract surgical procedures and lens implant technology have made it one of the safest and most successful surgeries that you can have. In the United States, over 2.5 million people have cataract surgery each year.
Your cataract will be removed with an advanced small incision technique called phacoemulsification. After your eye is completely numbed with topical anesthetic eye drops, a very small, self-sealing incision is made in a predetermined area of the cornea. A tiny ultrasonic probe is used to break apart the cloudy lens and gently remove it. Then, a carefully selected, intraocular lens (IOL) is inserted into the same position where your natural lens was located.
If you are considering cataract surgery, there are several vision correcting options available that give you the opportunity to have distance and near vision after cataract surgery, without dependence on glasses or contacts. The following are is a list of conditions and options that will be discussed with you at your exam:
This advanced surgical cataract procedure is performed on site at our attached (Ambulatory Surgery Centers). This nearly painless 10-minute outpatient procedure can give you dramatically improved vision the next day, with little to no ‘downtime’. This decision about your cataract surgery is important, so please take the time to review all options and ask questions during your visit to our office.
Patients who have cataracts will eventually develop or already have presbyopia. This condition is caused by the natural aging process and develops when your eyes lose ability to focus from distance to near vision. Presbyopia is the reason that reading glasses become necessary, typically after age 40, even for people who have never needed glasses before. Years ago the only options for correcting presbyopia, before or after cataract surgery, were: bifocals, reading glasses and monovision. Now, with recent advancements in intraocular lens implant technology, we can correct or reduce the effects of presbyopia. Enhancing your quality of life by reducing or eliminating your dependence on glasses or contacts!
In the past, the choice of which type of lens implant to have was made by the surgeon. The only option was a mono-focal lens. A mono-focal lens, often referred to as a “standard or traditional” lens, is a single vision lens that provides distance vision only. These lenses do not correct presbyopia or corneal astigmatism. Patients that choose a mono-focal lens implant will need glasses or contacts for best visual acuity after surgery this is because astigmatism may need to be corrected for the best Distance vision also Near vision will need to corrected with reading glasses or bifocals. With recent advances in IOL technology, patients having cataract surgery now have the option of reducing their dependency on eyeglasses – at all distances, with multi-focal lens implants. The multi-focal lens implant feature more than 90% of patients with multi-focal lenses in both eyes wear no glasses.
Multi-focal lens implants feature a dual optic design that incorporates both distance and near lenses into one lens. The lens works by allowing both distance and near objects to be in focus on the correct point on the retina. This provides a continuous range of high quality vision from near to far and points in between and may reduce the frequency of wearing glasses. In the FDA study 90% of patients with multi-focal lens implants in both eyes wore no glasses. A small number of patients may need glasses occasionally usually for very close vision tasks.
An alternative to multi-focal lens implants that may give patients some distance and near vision is “Enhanced Vision” . This is similar to monovision correction that is occasionally used with contact lenses in some patients. If you have worn contact lenses after age 40 and each eye was corrected for a different distance (far and near) it may be possible to correct your vision in a similar fashion with lens implants. This works well if you have adjusted to the monovision correction in the past.
Astigmatism is an abnormality in which the optical surfaces of the eye are shaped like a football (oval) rather than a baseball or basketball (round). Astigmatism is the most common optical problem after myopia (nearsightedness) and hyperopia (farsightedness). When it is uncorrected, astigmatism blurs vision at all distances, near and far. Any astigmatism in the cornea will contribute to reduced image quality without glasses following surgery. Some people have no astigmatism in their eyeglass measurements, yet they have astigmatism in their corneas. The only way of knowing if corneal astigmatism is present is to test for it.
There are Toric lens Implants that are designed to correct the astigmatism of the cornea at the time of cataract surgery. Toric lens implants can be placed in both eyes to more fully correct the distance vision so that excellent distance vision can be achieved without glasses.
Also, There are multi-focal lens implants that are also designed to correct astigmatism. In this manner astigmatism, distance and near vision can be corrected with one lens implant. The astigmatism multi-focal lenses allow about 90% of patients to function without glasses. A small number of patients may need glasses for specific tasks such as seeing very close objects.
Please discuss your vision needs with our doctors. We specialize in providing a custom approach to each patient so that you may achieve the best possible vision with cataract surgery.
Special measurements and advanced calculations are performed to determine if your eye is suitable for the different types of lens implant that are available.